Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Magazine article The Spectator

Real Life: Melissa Kite

Article excerpt

Fine, so I got it completely wrong. It turns out the sale of my flat was not held up by a wiggle in the garden, but by a kink in the kitchen. This kink in the kitchen is far more serious than a wiggle in the garden. I should have realised that, the buyer's solicitor has complained.

I don't know why I got the idea that exchange of contracts had been delayed by a mistake in the plan for the garden, but I'm struggling to keep up. I've been deluged with complaints about absolutely everything I had thought was fine. From the crisp new electrical safety certificates to the diligently maintained boiler service history, nothing has been good enough.

I'm sure someone told me at some stage that the garden fence didn't follow the right line, but it now transpires that no one is bothered by that at all. It's the kink in the kitchen that's causing merry hell.

Can I paint a picture for you? At the far end of my kitchen there is a small sloping cubby-hole above which are the upstairs neighbour's steps down to his garden. It has been there for about 40 years but alas, it is not reflected on the floor plan.

This means that where the red pen line on the drawing at the Land Registry ought to make a little bobble, it goes straight across. The mistake, if that is what it is, measures about two millimetres on the plan.

In reality, the four foot by two foot corner is where I store a slimline dishwasher and half a washing machine (for this juts over the space).

I am baffled by the buyers' aversion to this cubby-hole because even if I did steal it from the upstairs neighbour -- bricking up a small square of his garden in the night in a clandestine attempt to create London's smallest laundry room -- it has now been there so long it cannot be reversed, except by a protracted legal battle the neighbour is unlikely to want to embark upon, I would have thought, especially since so many other flats in the street have done the same thing.

Still, the buyers requested we correct the drawing at the Land Registry to include the kitchen kink, or they wouldn't exchange contracts. 'Everything but the kitchen kink isn't good enough,' was basically their line. But when my lawyer contacted the Land Registry and submitted the new plan, with kink, they said no, absolutely not. …

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