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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask if the land in question is presently agricultural land please?
Roughly how much did you pay? Did you use a solicitor?
Thank you. Did the solicitor advise you of the risk that this could be a landbanking scam and in particular the risk that the seller could become insolvent or otherwise wind themselves up so as to make the undertakings they gave you regarding planning potentially worthless and unenforceable please?
My apologies for the delay. Some clients have just walked in without an appointment. With your permission I will just be a few minutes. May I revert to you very shortly?
My apologies I am back. Would you like to continue?
Please let me know when it is convenient to proceed.
Thanks. Have you contacted your solicitor on the issue to date?
Based on what you say this has some of the hallmarks of a potential land banking scam. I cannot say it is but it has some of the warning signs. The SRA have issued a warning card relating to land banking schemes and there is a public guide in relation to the same here:http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/guides/public-guide-21
Solicitors have a duty to be aware of SRA warning cards and in any event should advise you generally on risks associated with a transaction on which you have instructed them
If the solicitor failed to advise you on at least the potential issues and risks with this transaction in particular with regard to possible landbanking then he may be guilty of negligence. If he did not therefore then you would have grounds for a complaint.
Initially you can lodge a complaint informally requesting the solicitor explains why he did not advise you on the above warning card or generally relating to risks with the transaction. If you are not satisified you can escalate the matter to a formal complaint (or do this straightaway if you prefer). The firm must as their client deal with your complaint promptly in accordance with their complaints procedure of which they must provide you with a copy. If you remain unsatisfied with their proposals and response you can refer your complaint free of charge to the Legal Ombudsman which has the power to independently investigate the same and award compesnatio if they find the solicitor was negligent.
You may have a claim against Property Spy as well for breach of contract if they had contractual commitments however I would assume that they will be in the process of winding up the company if they have not already done so. You may wish to contact the police's fraud department to see if there is any intelligence on the company. if they are engaged in fraud there may be a basis for a personal claim against the directors though initially your solicitor is likely to be the easiest target. You have three years from the date you discovered or ought to have discovered his potential negligence in order to make a claim so so not miss this deadline.
Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?
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