I want to get out of buying (off the plans)

Think you’re mixing up sales of new properties and second hand property sales via private treaty. Most of the gazumping took place in second hand sales because “sale agreed” had no legal standing as no actual “contract” is signed at this stage. In this case neither the buyer nor the seller was locked in, so now in a falling market the buyer can try to gazunder, just like the seller can try to gazump in a rising market.

Sales of new properties are different, as a legal contract is signed long before the house/apartment is built (i.e. buying off-plans). Developer generally couldn’t gazump.

Great idea, we should start writing the script straight away. It could be on broadway in what? say 5 years…

Basically I’m in sympathy with that view, but children are going to suffer as a result of this (yeah, I know I’ll be hit with the ol’ “won’t someone pleeeeeease think of the children” chestnut now, but I think it’s a valid point).

Basically, this appears to be a con job, in fact if not in law. They signed because they thought there wouldn’t be an insanely long delay in getting the apartment. They were clearly led to believe that the apartment would be ready on the date indicated, or within a matter of weeks of the same. Instead, it’s more like a year.

Had the apartment been delivered in time or within 3 months of in time, that’d be fine. The fall in prices wouldn’t have gotten as far as they did.
hell, six months ago nobody outside of the pin thought prices were on the way down. They would’ve been able to sell on.

It looks now as if the developers never had the faintest intention of delivering on time. They conned their way into getting the buyers to sign the contract. The clause that gives them the leeway to delay? “Oh every builder has that in, it’s just to please our insurers in case there’s an earthquake or somebody discovers an early viking settlement on the grounds during building. It’s never invoked.”

It’s dirty poker, and it literally puts children into poverty. Right or wrong, nobody should be allowed to have one-year delays when delivering a highly volatile six-figure asset to a middle-class family.

If you can’t deliver on time, give or take a month, the family should be allowed back out of the deal, if they’re putting up 12 times their annual income.

There’s a list of unenforceable contract types a mile long. All I’m saying is we should add this class of con job to the list.

As to gazumping: I think the legal waffle in play is the “intent to create legal relations”. If one party intends to have the legal right to gazump, then it’s not a legal contract.