Lawlink – What can I do about rubbish left in house I just purchased?

Photo: Tierra Mallorca/Unsplash.

Q: My husband and I recently purchased a property. When we looked at the property with the auctioneer, there was an unsightly heap of wooden rubble in the yard. The auctioneer said it would be cleared prior to moving in. The sale closed and the auctioneer gave us the keys, but when we went to the property the rubble had not been removed and, on top of this, there were 12 black sacks of domestic and other rubbish outside the back door. We had to hire a skip to get rid of the rubbish and rubble costing us €1,500. Do we have any comeback on recovering this money?

Dear Reader,

When you purchase a property, it is an inherent condition of sale that you obtain vacant possession of that property. In your circumstances, because of the rubbish and rubble, you essentially did not get vacant possession.

You should lodge a complaint with your solicitor’s office requesting that the seller’s solicitors do not release funds to their clients until such time as you are reimbursed the money paid to the skip hire company. Though if the funds have already been released, it may be a different story.

If that is the case, the only way to recover the money paid to the skip hire is to pursue the seller through the small claims court.

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This is a relatively straight forward process and you can attend to this yourself. The District Court Office is very helpful in relation to what forms you are required to fill out and what process is to be followed.

Your experience highlights a number of golden rules that should be adhered to by any purchaser closing the sale of a property.

When purchasing a property, one should always ask their solicitor to make it a condition of handing over the purchase monies to the vendor’s solicitor that they not release the purchase monies until such time as you have been into the property and inspected it to be sure that you are indeed obtaining vacant possession and that all items agreed to be removed from the property have been removed which will obviously include, as in your case, rubble and rubbish.

Once the sale is closed and you have inspected the property, and if same is not free of rubble, rubbish, or other items that you have not agreed to be retained in the property, and in the event you cannot contact your solicitor, you could always contact the auctioneer as they will have retained a deposit and request the auctioneer to withhold returning the deposit to the vendor until such time as matters are resolved to your satisfaction.