Tuesday 24 April 2018

House hunter 'pressured' into buying 'unwanted' furniture to guarantee sale

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Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A YOUNG house hunter claims her vendor is deliberately delaying the sale process of her dream home because she refuses to buy the old furniture with it.

The young professional, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Independent.ie that her vendor is delaying signing their contract after she refused to take a number of items left in the house.

"I've been looking for a house in Dublin for nearly two years and it has been a nightmare. I was picky at the start but then my expectations soon dwindled. I was hoping for a two-bedroom house in the Stoneybatter area but all of the houses were tiny. They were smaller than the apartment that I was living in. I decided to expand my search and was looking anywhere on the north side close to the city centre.

"I finally found a four-bedroom house in north Dublin but there was a lot of competition for it. There was a constant flow of people viewing the house and the process seemed never-ending. I was finally told that I had got the house and the sale was agreed on February 5. I met the vendor, agreed on a price and shook hands."

However, she added that as soon as the sale was agreed, the vendor "started pushing the furniture on me".

"I asked if I could go to the house to take measurements for furniture as I wanted to do the house up to match my style. The vendor was there when I arrived and she started pushing all the furniture on me. She asked me to buy the dining table and chairs, the armoire furniture in the living room and the media system. She was very pushy and was pressuring me a lot to buy the furniture but I don't want any of it.

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"When I refused, she started delaying the signing process. We had agreed that I would move in on April 23 but now she has delayed it to May 7. She said she needs time to sell the furniture and that I won't be able to move in until she sells it which is ridiculous. I'm already spending almost half-a-million euro on the house, I don't want to buy furniture that I don't want too. I'm really frustrated and angry."

The young buyer said that although she has spent over €3,000 on the house sale already, she is willing to walk away.

"I've spent money on a valuation report, my solicitor and a structural report but I can't take the mental anguish of the constant delaying. I'm convinced that if I agreed to buy the furniture she'd agree a move-in date no problem. It's a nightmare."

Pat Davitt, CEO of the Institute of the Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAC), told Independent.ie that vendors have to abide by the rules.

"If an agent is selling a property, they usually fill out a PSRA form which sets out the terms of engagement listing what furniture and fittings are to go with the house. It is common practice that if a vendor is selling a house, they must set out what furniture/fixtures will be available before a price is agreed with a buyer.

"If agents are saying after a price is agreed with a buyer, that the buyer then has to pay extra money for furniture and fixtures then that is very sharp practice. I'm not sure if it is illegal because the seller of the house can decide what does or doesn't go with the house but it should be set out from the very beginning."

A spokesperson for the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) said that house hunters should seek legal advice if vendors don't abide by legal processes.

"It is important to stress that agreeing a price and having a binding contract which reflects the agreed price can be some distance apart. The drawing up of a contract for the sale of a property is generally done towards the end of the process. Exchanges of documentation in relation to the sale/purchase will generally carry a notification/declaration that the correspondence is ‘subject to contract'."

The spokesperson added that this declaration ensures that the seller is not bound by any such exchange of correspondence until the final contract has been signed by both parties.

"The inclusion (or exclusion) of fixtures and fittings would be provided for as a special condition. Where they are included in the sale there will be another general condition that any such ‘chattels’ (as they are referred to) are not subject to any financial accommodation such as HP or Consumer Hire etc. When all of this is included in the contract of sale and the contract becomes binding (signed, exchanged and full deposit paid) then both parties are bound.

"If there was nothing in the contract of sale that provided for the items that are referred to in the query and the contract has taken effect, then the purchaser is entitled to proceed with the sale of the property for the agreed price. It is too late for the seller to demand additional payments or to introduce additional contractual obligations at that stage as the contract is binding."

Have you been pressured into buying furniture or fittings after agreeing to buy a house? Get in touch at cdevine@independent.ie

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