Your new house has problems with the windows

Picture this. You’ve spent months searching for the dream home in Surrey, battled with estate agents and surveyors, fixed a date, finally moved and you’ve actually met your new neighbours and better still, they seem nice. Then disaster strikes and you realise there’s a problem with your house. That “brilliant” double glazing in Farnham that you were proudly telling all your friends about has a ginormous leak and is threatening to ruin everything.

The bad news
There is some! As you were not the individual paying for the work to be completed, you cannot take it up with the trader because you didn’t sign the contract. Also, you cannot make any claims against the previous owner. It is your job to make sure that the property is in good working order when you buy it.

The good news
Well, don’t give up just yet. According to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau there are a few things you can do. There may be a guarantee on the windows that it is still valid that you can use to make a claim. You need to check the paperwork (yes, the paperwork that you thought you would never have to use again and shoved in a box somewhere) to see if there is anything that you may use. (When buying a house, remember to ask for guarantees for any recent work that has been undertaken when you exchange contracts. In some cases, it is possible to change the name on the guarantee to the new owner). If all that fails, you may be covered under your Buildings Insurance and should contact the relevant company with which you have a policy.

Structural problems and surveys
If your home is new, i.e. built within the last ten or fifteen years, you can see if the windows are covered by a building guarantee or warranty. Again, you need to check the paperwork. It is very difficult – but not impossible – to make a claim against the surveyor. You will need to seek legal advice if you think they did not do their job properly.

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