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8 posts

Wannabe Geek


# 249200 30-Apr-2019 15:12
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Hi everyone,

 

Need some help and advise from you guys.

 

We recently purchased a land section from the Crofton Down Silversteam development in Wellington.

 

We are not buying the land section directly from the land developer. The previous owner bought it from the land developer. And then we bought the land section from the previous owner. The purchase was all legal, lawyers of both party are involved.

 

The land title is subject to land covenant which requires the land developer (a company called PROPERTY TRADE FINANCE) to sign-off the building plan and landscaping plan, before we can start building.

 

A month ago, I submitted my building plan and landscaping plan to their email: info@propertytradefinance.co.nz. Not long after I sending the email, a gentlemen called "Trent" gave me call and said he will not sign-off my plan, because I am not his customer. As I bought the land from the previous owner, not directly from him. Trent told me at the phone, he sold the land to the previous owner, given they are building a house on the land, not for reselling purpose. Then I asked him if they have any legal document that restrict the land section to be resell. He said, it is not my business, it is the business between him and the previous owner. Then he tell me to talk to the lawyer of the previous owner to get that sorted. And then I ask the previous owner, if they ever sign any legal document like that, he said hell no.

 

I am really have no idea what to do now.

 

So my question is, what can I do if the land developer refuse to review/sign-off my plan, while the land covenant requires it.

 

And is there a way to raise a proper complaint against this land developer? As I heard from the real estate agency, and my builder, this "Trent" gentlemen is mean to other builders, land section owner and real-estate agents as well.

 

My builder suggested me to get a lawyer to get this thing sorted. But what I am thinking is, this is not even my fault, why I have to pay for a lawyer just because the land developer is being meant to me?

 

Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

 

Many thanks in advance.

 

VC


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147 posts

Master Geek

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  # 2228042 30-Apr-2019 15:49
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Well if Trent won’t even discuss if further, you don’t really have an option aside from seeking legal advice. You had lawyers involved with the sale, so any specific requirements should be in writing already.

827 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2228050 30-Apr-2019 16:00
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As @rendezous said, IF Trent won't discuss it further, then you need to seek legal advice. I don't believe we have all the facts however. The developer no longer owns the land, so likely has no interest in preventing you from using it, unless he is just mean as you claim. What he does have an interest in is making money, and doing things for free isn't in his best interest. Signing off work takes time and money, and while this service may have been provided to the original purchaser, it's not necessarily transferable.


 
 
 
 


4320 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2228051 30-Apr-2019 16:01
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If your plans satisfy the terms of the covenant, I don't think Trent can legally withhold his signature. But, you'd need to go to court to uphold this. 

 

Otherwise, if I am wrong and Trent has such power over your property rights, maybe you have a case against your own lawyer for not pointing this out. 

 

But, I'm not a lawyer and even if I was i'd need more detail than you have written here. 

 

You could try ringing citizens advice? But, it seems that you will need a lawyer to read over your sale & purchase contract and the covenant.




8 posts

Wannabe Geek


  # 2228055 30-Apr-2019 16:06
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rendezvous: Well if Trent won’t even discuss if further, you don’t really have an option aside from seeking legal advice. You had lawyers involved with the sale, so any specific requirements should be in writing already.

 

 

 

Thanks Rendzvous, yes, hiring a lawyer will be the last option. But I think it should be a formal way to express my complain against the land developer. The project got delayed, and I am already paying interest for the mortgage of the land.

 

 

 

Found a website to complain the builder, but there is none for complaining the land developer. https://www.building.govt.nz/resolving-problems/resolution-options/formal-complaints/complain-about-a-building-contractor/

 

 

 

I should not be the first one want to make a complain against a land developer, lol




8 posts

Wannabe Geek


  # 2228062 30-Apr-2019 16:17
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surfisup1000:

 

If your plans satisfy the terms of the covenant, I don't think Trent can legally withhold his signature. But, you'd need to go to court to uphold this. 

 

Otherwise, if I am wrong and Trent has such power over your property rights, maybe you have a case against your own lawyer for not pointing this out. 

 

But, I'm not a lawyer and even if I was i'd need more detail than you have written here. 

 

You could try ringing citizens advice? But, it seems that you will need a lawyer to read over your sale & purchase contract and the covenant.

 

 

 

 

Thanks surfisup1000,

 

Before buying the land, we are understand there is a covenant attached to the title of the land (which I think is quite normal for new development nowaday). We had read thru the entire land covenant and we agreed with this. There was no the lawyers' mistake or the previous owner's mistake for not pointing this out. The only thing we do not expect is the land developer refuse to review/sign-off the plan...

 

 

 

I think the citizens advise might not able to help in this case, because they don't deal with property and business related issue. I think they only help people with financial difficulty.


588 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2228098 30-Apr-2019 17:39
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I'm guessing here - it seems to me that the covenant was on the title on the expectation that the developer was the one who would be building a house on the land. That is now not the case, so presumably the covenant requiring that the developer sign off the plans is no longer neccessary. I don't know who issues the title (the council?) but maybe you can talk to them and see if that covenant can be removed from the title.


3885 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 2228105 30-Apr-2019 17:55

Contact the Prime Minister. As the government is wanting to get more houses built. And also contact the National party as well. Turn your problem into a political issue. And I bet that that developer would then quickly grant approval.

If you are forced to go to court. Jointly sue the developer, real estate agent, and the person that you bought the land off. As the developer might have also been difficult to the person who sold you the land. In which case they misled you in failing to tell you about the developer.

See a good property lawyer ASAP. Does the person who you sold the land to own other property or major assets? As worst case scenario, the developer might never grant permission to build anything. In which case you would need to resell the land for a very cheap price. Then sue for your losses. But you need to stop the seller from hiding any assets first.

Disclaimer- I'm not a lawyer, and this is not legal Advice.





 
 
 
 


3885 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 2228108 30-Apr-2019 18:04
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Journeyman:

I'm guessing here - it seems to me that the covenant was on the title on the expectation that the developer was the one who would be building a house on the land. That is now not the case, so presumably the covenant requiring that the developer sign off the plans is no longer neccessary. I don't know who issues the title (the council?) but maybe you can talk to them and see if that covenant can be removed from the title.



That covenant would be there, to allow the developer to control the look of the development. It will be a massive can of worms if there are no guidelines or similar to dictate what can be built. As the value of a piece of land is extremely dependent on what you can build on it or use it for.

Have heard of cases where some people have to spend more building, or have to build a design that they dont like. While others get approval for almost anything. Due to them being friends with the developer. Or the developer becomes desperate to sell the remaining sections, therefore buyers force the developer to agree to approve anything.





352 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2228125 30-Apr-2019 18:33
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vincenttoolate:

 

The land title is subject to land covenant which requires the land developer (a company called PROPERTY TRADE FINANCE) to sign-off the building plan and landscaping plan, before we can start building.

 

 

Not a lawyer and it would depend on the wording of the covenant, but if it like above, then you need to get the developer to sign off on your plans and he can stop you from building if he wants to, because you agree to this when you bought the land, and why I would never buy land with something like that on it, or put in my offer that you will buy the land after you got your plans to sign off by the developer, and it will not be an unconditional offer till then.

 

He is most likely waiting for you to pay him a fee of some sort to sign off as not going to get money developing it himself - you most like will say a bribe, he will say it a cost of doing business 


15028 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2228126 30-Apr-2019 18:48
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When a family member purchased some land, their lawyer checked all the covenants and warned them about certain ones. As a result they made the purchase conditional on the overall house design being approved to avoid his type of issue. IANAL, but if  I was in this situation, I would seek legal advice. The CAB is possibly a good starting point for guidance.  


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Ultimate Geek

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  # 2228130 30-Apr-2019 18:53
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I get the feeling OP didn’t get legal advice when purchasing said land otherwise they wouldn’t be in this position

You will get the quickest outcome seeking legal advice, even if it costs money. Otherwise you will just chew up time paying interest on land you can’t build on trying to explore other avenues

15028 posts

Uber Geek


  # 2228133 30-Apr-2019 19:03
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dfnt: I get the feeling OP didn’t get legal advice when purchasing said land otherwise they wouldn’t be in this position

 

Wouldn't the bank require it if one is borrowing money to buy the land? Even if using kiwisaver for a deposit, it is required to do it all through a lawyer. 


3942 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 2228134 30-Apr-2019 19:04
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I agree about just going to a lawyer right now, rather than seeking the advice of the bush variety.

I also wouldn't bother going to a CAB, as you're very unlikely to find the necessary expertise there. CAB workers are very well-meaning but not usually lawyers or similar. For complex things like this they'll be likely to rely on their knowledge database rather than their own experience/knowledge.

If you're unwilling/unable to pay for a lawyer then perhaps a community law centre is your best bet, but personally I'd just accept the cost of paying a professional to sort this out is just part of the cost of building.

352 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2228140 30-Apr-2019 19:16
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mattwnz:

 

dfnt: I get the feeling OP didn’t get legal advice when purchasing said land otherwise they wouldn’t be in this position

 

Wouldn't the bank require it if one is borrowing money to buy the land? Even if using kiwisaver for a deposit, it is required to do it all through a lawyer. 

 

 

 

 

The OP said he got a lawyer, and also that they knew about the sign-off from the developer, lawyer most likely was on a fixed price, cover a$$ on pointing out things and left it that. The OP most likely thought it just a rubber stamp to get sign off and did not ask the hard question on what does the cause really mean and how can I protect myself from this issue he now got, otherwise they would have put in sign off causes in buying.

 

 

 

personal BIG bells would be ring about the on selling the land - someone normal does not buy land from a developer, then just on sell it without a reason, my guess their plans was not sign off  


14990 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 2228156 30-Apr-2019 19:42
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Your only option is to hire a property lawyer to work through this with the developer and lawyer of the previous owner.


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