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There’s incomplete bullding work at our leasehold flats, what can we do? 

The developer of a block of leasehold flats has left me and my neighbours with incomplete construction work and some of the work carried out by the builders is unsatisfactory.

Apart from those involved blaming the others, they are doing nothing to resolve the situation. What are our rights?

The developer of a block of leasehold flats has left residents with incomplete construction work (pictured), what can they do?

The developer of a block of leasehold flats has left residents with incomplete construction work (pictured), what can they do?

MailOnline Property expert Myra Butterworth replies: Buying a property is often the biggest financial investment that a person makes during their lifetime, and so it is important to do your research before taking the plunge and signing on the dotted line.

This includes checking out the developers you are dealing with, including finding out about their reputation and financial status.

Unfortunately, there are some cases where buyers have carried out necessary due diligence and yet they have still been caught out.

One way to mitigate the risks in such cases is to try and ensure that the purchase contract states that any outstanding works are kept to the bare minimum when you come to complete the purchases – or that some of the price is held back on completion for unfinished or unsatisfactory work.

Stephen Gold, ex-judge and author, explains: You have a choice of claims but one in particular may be a struggle. 

The developer has broken its contract with each of you. The flats should have been constructed ‘in a good and workmanlike manner’ and in accordance with the approved plans and building regulations. 

The contracts prevented you from holding up completion of the purchases because of defects or outstanding works of a minor nature. 

As far as you were aware at the time, your concerns were about ‘minor’ matters. The defects and works were to be dealt with by the developer as soon as practicable after completion. A claim can be made against them for failing to do this.

And how the about the builders? You have an additional or alternative claim against them, which would be more limited, under the Defective Premises Act 1972. This is for defective work and materials but only if they have resulted in the flats being unfit for human habitation.

We speak to former judge Stephen Gold about the various options that residents have to get the repair work done

We speak to former judge Stephen Gold about the various options that residents have to get the repair work done

One option is to make a claim against the builders for the work (pictured) under the Defective Premises Act 1972

One option is to make a claim against the builders for the work (pictured) under the Defective Premises Act 1972

Is there anything less painful?  Yes, you have a warranty in the form of defects and structural insurance which was issued as part of the purchase transaction. In so far as it covers your complaints, I suggest you claim under it. 

Items not covered and the excess you would be obliged to fork out can still be pursued against the developer or builders. 

It is important that you comply with the insurance conditions including the time for notifying a claim. I understand that no claim has been made to date.

So what’s not straightforward? I thought you would never ask. The developer appears to have shown a callous disregard for its obligations. Within six weeks of the sales agents passing on your complaints to the developer, it transferred its interest in the freehold of the development to a company with links to the developer. The company which is now your landlord and owns the freehold is offering to sell it to flat owners at around £44,500 a time. If that was all, it would be one thing. But it isn’t. One of the companies behind the developer was wound up by court order and the developer is late in filing its accounts with Companies House.

Another option is to make a claim under the warranty that was issued as part of the purchase transaction (internal flat damage pictured)

Another option is to make a claim under the warranty that was issued as part of the purchase transaction (internal flat damage pictured)

The main concern with suing the developer is not so much whether you would win – if, as is possible, it did not strain itself to defend court proceedings, you could obtain a court judgment fairly rapidly and it would accelerate the procedure if you sued for a specified sum – but whether you would ever extract from it the money to satisfy the judgment. I’ll tell you why. 

Those of us who deal with companies and limited liability partnerships do so at our peril should the businesses collapse and that is why it is vital to check out their reputation and financial status before touching them 

The developer is a limited liability partnership. Not a company and not a partnership but a cross between the two. This is perfectly lawful but it means that, generally, the members will not be legally responsible for settling the developers’ debts, including any court judgment, if there is no money left in the pot. Those of us who deal with companies and limited liability partnerships do so at our peril should the businesses collapse and that is why it is vital to check out their reputation and financial status before touching them.

But there is just a chance, though, that the personal assets of members could be attacked if it should transpire that there has been culpable behaviour on their part which has caused you loss and the developer is wound up because it has not satisfied any judgment you obtained or for some other reason. 

Directors of companies who are unfit for that office can be disqualified for up to 15 years from being a director or concerned in the management of another company. 

And a similar scheme applies to members of a limited liability partnership. Once disqualified an order for that compensation could be made. 

The Insolvency Service would need to go after the compensation on your behalf. As from 15 February 2022, the power to disqualify and order compensation is extended to those behind companies and limited liability partnerships which are dissolved instead of being wound up under court order.

There’s more. Should it transpire that the developer’s transfer of the freehold was fraudulent so as to keep it from your reach and that it was for no payment or at an undervalue, it could be set aside by the court following a winding up so that it again became an asset of the developer and realisable to pay off the judgment. You might just draw these matters to the attention of the developer’s members. A land registry search should disclose whether money changed hands and, if so, how much.

Stephen Gold is an ex-judge and author of ‘The Return of Breaking Law’ published by Bath Publishing. For more on service charges, go to breakinglaw.co.uk 

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Become a real-life Baron! Eight-bedroom Scottish castle with golf course, cinema room and wine cellar hits the market for £2.3million – and offers buyers the chance to have their own noble title

Property buyers have the opportunity to become a real-life Baron with their very own castle for just £2.3million.

Kelly Castle, located in Arbirlot, Scotland, has recently hit the market and offers the noble title of ‘Baron of Kelly in Angus’ to its potential new owners.

This hugely impressive tower house is steeped in history and grandeur, offering eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms and its own golf course across its 33.37 acres of land.

Listed Grade B by Historic Environment Scotland, the property is arranged over four storeys in an L-plan and also features a wine cellar, snooker room and cinema room.

A range of Earls and Lords have owned the castle throughout history, with many historians believing it was constructed by powerful thirteenth century Scottish noble Philip de Moubray.

Kelly Castle, located in Arbirlot, Scotland, is steeped in history and grandeur

Kelly Castle, located in Arbirlot, Scotland, is steeped in history and grandeur

This hugely impressive tower house offers eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms and its own golf course across its 33.37 acres of land

This hugely impressive tower house offers eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms and its own golf course across its 33.37 acres of land

The property is arranged over four storeys in an L-plan and features a basement bar, snooker room and cinema room

The property is arranged over four storeys in an L-plan and features a basement bar, snooker room and cinema room

According to archives, Philip de Moubray, a Norman settler, obtained lands in Angus from William the Lion, King of Scotland.

De Moubray was an important noble north of the border as he witnessed many of the king’s charters and was often employed in State affairs.

It is probable that he was the first builder of a tower or castle on the south bank of the Elliot water, although the current tower was most probably built in the fifteenth century.

The Moubrays forfeited the property in the reign of Robert the Bruce and it was given to the Stewart family who owned it until 1402 when it was acquired by the Ochterlony family.

In 1641, the building was sold to the Irvine family who extended it by adding the courtyard and wings.

More than 50 years later, the property passed to the Maule Earls of Panmure. The Maule family forfeited the site after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 , leaving it to be purchased by the Ramsay Earls of Dalhousie.

The castle was abandoned for around 100 years and local legend suggests the Great Hall, currently the Dining Room, was used to store contraband from the Continent.

It was purchased by its current owners in 2001, who undertook a sympathetic renovation and made ‘significant improvements and modifications’, which were completed in 2009. 

The property is perfect for those who are frequent travellers, as it is situated close to airports at Dundee and Edinburgh

The property is perfect for those who are frequent travellers, as it is situated close to airports at Dundee and Edinburgh

In 1641, the property was sold to the Irvine family who extended the property by adding the courtyard and wings

In 1641, the property was sold to the Irvine family who extended the property by adding the courtyard and wings

The owners constructed a private nine hole golf course within the 33.37 acres of land

The owners constructed a private nine hole golf course within the 33.37 acres of land 

It was purchased by its current owners in 2001, who undertook a sympathetic renovation and made 'significant improvements and modifications'

It was purchased by its current owners in 2001, who undertook a sympathetic renovation and made ‘significant improvements and modifications’

‘As castles come, Kelly Castle is certainly a special one,’ said David Law, head of Strutt and Parker in Edinburgh.

‘In immaculate condition, the present owners have worked tirelessly to create a practical family home within these turreted walls.

‘Not only does a potential buyer have the opportunity to acquire a 16th century castle, and with this manageable 33 acres of grounds including a golf course, but the title of ‘Baron of Kelly’ to go with it.’

The property is perfect for those who are frequent travellers, as it is situated close to airports at Dundee and Edinburgh. 

‘The prime country house and estates market in Scotland has always held strong appeal, particularly to overseas buyers who are drawn to our romantic landscapes, ancient buildings, and historic tales’, said the agent.

‘With Kelly Castle close to airports at Dundee and Edinburgh, I expect strong levels of interest from overseas buyers looking for their own slice of Scotland.

‘With an estate managers flat on site, and the knowledge that the building is in excellent condition, it’s a castle you really can just ‘lock up and leave’ if you suddenly need to catch a flight.’

 

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Richmond home that had a starring role in Ted Lasso goes on sale for whopping £4.5million

Ted Lasso fans lusting after similar views to the ones the fictional football manager enjoyed in Apple TV+’s hit series are in luck – a property a stone’s throw from the apartment Jason Sudeiki’s character lived in has come on the market. 

The catch? It’ll set you back £4.5million, thanks to its plum spot in one of South West London‘s most desired areas. 

The popular three-series show followed inexperienced American coach Ted struggling to manage the fictional London football club Richmond FC – and much of it was set in upmarket Richmond-upon-Thames. 

The Grade II Listed Georgian, being sold by Savills estate agent, is steps away from the Crown and Anchor pub – known in real life as The Prince’s Head – and just around the corner from Ted’s flat at 9½ Paved Court.

The Georgian house (centre) was a regular backdrop in Apple TV's three series of Ted Lasso, which followed US manager Ted as he tried to revive the fortunes of fictional Richmond FC

The Georgian house (centre) was a regular backdrop in Apple TV’s three series of Ted Lasso, which followed US manager Ted as he tried to revive the fortunes of fictional Richmond FC

The property seen behind Ted Lasso, played by Jason Sudeikis, in series three of the football comedy; the area has become a hotspot for fans of the show to visit

The property seen behind Ted Lasso, played by Jason Sudeikis, in series three of the football comedy; the area has become a hotspot for fans of the show to visit 

And the house looks out across Richmond Green, once a jousting ground to the former Richmond Palace and now home to summertime cricket matches.  

The spot has become a popular tourist spot – particularly with US tourists – since the third series of the show aired, with the finale coming last summer. 

With 3,698 sq ft to enjoy, the home is described by the agents selling it as ‘exquisite’, with its ‘period integrity’ perfectly preserved. 

The four-bed property dates back to the mid 18th century and includes ‘fabulous fireplaces, ceiling cornicing, wide exposed floorboards, an elegant staircase and a panelled hallway.’

Drawbacks? There’s only a small courtyard garden…but the Green is just a short walk away. 

Quite the view: The living room of the £4.5million home looks out across Richmond Green - and has kept many of its 18th century features

Quite the view: The living room of the £4.5million home looks out across Richmond Green – and has kept many of its 18th century features

In the bathroom, there's a gleaming roll-top bath, with fashionable wood pannelling on the walls

In the bathroom, there’s a gleaming roll-top bath, with fashionable wood pannelling on the walls

Not much room for a kickabout...but still, location is everything - and Richmond Green is close by

Not much room for a kickabout…but still, location is everything – and Richmond Green is close by

The property was built in the mid 18th century - and is likely to go for asking price thanks to its plum location

The property was built in the mid 18th century – and is likely to go for asking price thanks to its plum location 

The current owners may have tired of seeing tourists gathered close to their home; since the show became a huge hit tourists, particularly from the US, have visited the location

The current owners may have tired of seeing tourists gathered close to their home; since the show became a huge hit tourists, particularly from the US, have visited the location

One of the house's four lavish bedrooms, which includes wide, exposed floorboards

One of the house’s four lavish bedrooms, which includes wide, exposed floorboards

In its three seasons on air, Ted Lasso became a global comedy hit, delighting audiences with its culture-blending take on the world of British football.

But while the show was set in Richmond, it was dreamed up in a small comedy club in Amsterdam.

Back in 2001, Jason and co-creator Brendan Hunt were both performing at an improv comedy club in the Dutch capital, called Boom Chicago.

While living in the Netherlands city, Brendan became enthralled with European soccer, and he tried to share his newfound obsession with Jason.

The only problem was, Jason knew nothing about the sport – so the two decided to start playing the popular video game FIFA together while Brendan attempted to teach the actor the rules of soccer.

The dining room of the home has natural light galore thanks to two sets of patio doors

The dining room of the home has natural light galore thanks to two sets of patio doors

The sweeping curved staircase - with a runner - takes you up to the second floor of the three storey home

The sweeping curved staircase – with a runner – takes you up to the second floor of the three storey home

A minimalist kitchen, in pale pink, boasts a pretty island feature and chic brushed gold lighting

A minimalist kitchen, in pale pink, boasts a pretty island feature and chic brushed gold lighting

Not only did his plan work – Jason learned everything he needed to know from the game – but their video game sessions also resulted in tons of laughs for the duo, and the idea for the premise of the show was soon hatched.

The Los Angeles Times reported that no American had ever managed a European soccer team before, and the two started thinking about how funny it might be if someone like Jason gave it a go in real life rather than in a video game. But their idea wouldn’t actually come to life on the screen for many more years to come.

It wasn’t until Jason was hired by NBC to play a soccer coach in a series of commercial for the Premier League in 2013 that he and Brendan decided to turn their video game endeavors into a show.

After the success of the advertisements, Jason and Brendan, along with TV producer Joe Kelly, decided to write a script in which they took the character from the adverts and the idea they had years earlier and combined them to create the first season of Ted Lasso.

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Congratulations, Privacy Just Took A Great Leap Out the Window!

Your Data Is Being Used Without Your Permission And Knowledge

The Voice Of EU | In the heart of technological innovation, the collision between intellectual property rights and the development of cutting-edge AI technologies has sparked a significant legal battle. The New York Times has taken legal action against OpenAI and Microsoft, filing a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court. This legal maneuver aims to address concerns surrounding the unauthorized use of the Times’ content for the training of AI models, alleging copyright infringements that could potentially result in billions of dollars in damages.

READ: HOW YOUR DATA IS BEING USED TO TRAIN A.I.

This legal tussle underlines the escalating tension between technological advancements and the protection of intellectual property. The crux of the lawsuit revolves around OpenAI and Microsoft allegedly utilizing the Times’ proprietary content to advance their own AI technology, directly competing with the publication’s services. The lawsuit suggests that this unauthorized utilization threatens the Times’ ability to offer its distinctive service and impacts its AI innovation, creating a competitive landscape that challenges the publication’s proprietary content.

Amidst the growing digital landscape, media organizations like the Times are confronting a myriad of challenges. The migration of readers to online platforms has significantly impacted traditional media, and the advent of artificial intelligence technology has added another layer of complexity. The legal dispute brings to the forefront the contentious practice of AI companies scraping copyrighted information from online sources, including articles from media organizations, to train their generative AI chatbots. This strategy has attracted substantial investments, rapidly transforming the AI landscape.

Exhibit presented by the New York Times’ legal team of ChatGPT replicating a article after being prompted

The lawsuit highlights instances where OpenAI’s technology, specifically GPT-4, replicated significant portions of Times articles, including in-depth investigative reports. These outputs, alleged by the Times to contain verbatim excerpts from their content, raise concerns about the ethical and legal boundaries of using copyrighted material for AI model training without proper authorization or compensation.

The legal action taken by the Times follows attempts to engage in discussions with Microsoft and OpenAI, aiming to address concerns about the use of its intellectual property. Despite these efforts, negotiations failed to reach a resolution that would ensure fair compensation for the use of the Times’ content while promoting responsible AI development that benefits society.

In the midst of this legal battle, the broader questions surrounding the responsible and ethical utilization of copyrighted material in advancing technological innovations come to the forefront.

The dispute between the Times, OpenAI, and Microsoft serves as a significant case study in navigating the intricate intersection of technological progress and safeguarding intellectual property rights in the digital age.


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