Q&A Do we need legal advice to resolve a dispute with developer?

Q: We bought a new-build three years ago which is just one of two high end detached properties constructed by a small developer in an infill plot. We had some problems with the driveway sinking in the first year, so we contacted the developer. Although they fixed it, the same thing has happened again and this time we have been unable to get hold of the developer. We then decided to get in touch with the NHBC, but we have discovered we don’t have NHBC cover, it’s something called the LABC. Do we need to seek legal advice?

A: It is important to note that new build policies may vary from one policy to the next and may not necessarily cover all design and construction issues. Therefore, you may have no option but to approach the building company. However, you should first check the warranty to see what cover you have. This will also be key to assessing where you stand in relation to a dispute, as the mechanism by which a warranty or indemnity claim must be resolved is likely to be stipulated in the contract itself under a pre-agreed dispute resolution clause. Where this is the case, it will usually be necessary for you to follow the procedure that has been prescribed.

Seeking advice from a solicitor at an early stage means you could gain a valuable insight into how the terms of your warranty or indemnity provision are to be interpreted. Your solicitor could also try to contact the developer on your behalf, in writing. If this fails, the next step would be to contact the warranty provider.

When it comes to Dispute Resolution, negotiation is always a good place to begin. If this fails there are other ‘non-court’ based options such as Mediation, Early Neutral Evaluation, Expert Determination and Arbitration. Court proceedings should always be a last resort.

This question has been answered by Sarah Talbot, a Senior Solicitor with GHP Legal.  

If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, book an appointment by visiting GHP Legal or contacting one of our offices:

Wrexham Office

Email: wrexham@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 291456

Llangollen Office:

Email: llangollen@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01978 860313

Oswestry Office:

Email: oswestry@ghplegal.com

Phone: 01691 659194

Sarah Talbot

Sarah Talbot

Senior Solicitor

Sarah Talbot is a Senior Solicitor in our Civil Litigation team and is based in our Wrexham office