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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10585
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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In 2007 my wife and I jointly sold a property in Devon. There

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In 2007 my wife and I jointly sold a property in Devon. There were 4 title deeds to the property which amounted to 8 acres of land along with the dwelling house. We have now been contacted via the two firms of solicitors acting in 2007 who have informed us that one of the four title deeds was omitted from the sale. We have checked today with the Land Registry and this has confirmed that my wife and I remain the registered owners of this piece of land - it is about 0.3 acres and crucially it contains the road access to the whole property. We have been asked, by both firms of solicitors, to sign a transfer for this piece of land. We think someone should pay for such a fundamental blunder and we are minded to request a payment to a nominated charity of, say, £5000, on the assumption that the legal firms will split this cost and claim it back from their insurers. Do you have (a) a legal view and (b) any other suggestions ? I should add that the original sale in 2007 was quite acrimonious due to the purchaser misleading us for weeks about his "cash status" so that we lost the chance to but the property we wanted at the time.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 3 years ago.

Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.

My name is ***** ***** am happy to assist you with your enquiry.

I understand your annoyance with this correspondence such a long time after the event.

Whether you can demand a payment all hinges on what you agreed to Sell to your Buyer back in 2007. To establish this, you will need to see a copy of the Contract.

If the Contract shows that you are selling all 4 Title Numbers (including this "missing Title Number"), then I'm afraid you will be under a duty to sign the Transfer for no consideration, as you are in effect (unbeknown to you) in breach of Contract until such Transfer has been signed.

If the Contract does not include reference to this "missing Title number", on the face of it, you never sold this land and you can hold the Buyer to ransom before you agree to transfer it to him, by signing the Transfer. If you take this stance, it would then be up to the Buyer to prove that it was the intention of the parties (you and the Buyer) that this be included in the Sale and that is was a "mistake" by both sets of Solicitors that it was not included in the Sale Contract. As this land forms the access to the Property, and hence a fundamental portion of your former property, if the Buyer took the matter to Court, it would find in his favour.

Of course, the Buyer and more importantly his Solicitor, will want an early conclusion to this matter and will rely on you being a good Samaritan and signing the Transfer, without fuss or delay.

As regards ***** ***** a Charitable donation, us Solicitors professional indemnity policies only normally pay out for claims in excess of £5,000 or £10,000 and hence any request for payment under £5,000 would have to met by the Solicitors personal funds, which they are very very unlikely going to make. Indeed, as no professional negligence has been made by your Solicitor, he would not even be able to recoup from his insurers as it would not be seen a sa claim. As regards ***** ***** Solicitor, he certainly has been guilty of negligence if the Contract did not include this "missing title". However, his insurers are only going to cough up if his client were to make a claim, a sopposed to any token payment they have to make to you or your nominated Charity.

So, you really need to ask for a copy of the Contract firstly. If this Title number is ***** you should sign the Transfer and be done with it.

If the Contract did not include the missing title number, it is up to you how long you would like to string matters along for. You may wish to ask the Buyers Solicitors to make a charitable donation, but don't expect them to pay more than £500, if that. By the same token, the longer this drags, the more anxious your Buyers Solicitor will become!

I hope this gives you a good overview and assists.

Kind Regards

AL

Aston Lawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Question for Aston Lawyer

Dear Al

Thank you for your most informative and comprehensive answer. I have emailed our solicitor to request a sight of the 2007 contract. I will let you know what transpires.

It occurs to me that for the past seven years my wife and I may have been liable for any claims relating to this piece of land and that we should receive some form of retrospective indemnity up to the time we sign the transfer document.

Kind regards

Simon

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 3 years ago.

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your reply.

As regards ***** ***** any "equitable" standpoint, your Buyers have been in possession and liable from the date they completed, but if you want to play safe, you can certainly request that their Solicitor puts something in writing to the effect that they will indemnify you against any actions or claims that may be made concerning this land from the date of completion of the Sale to him.

This question thread will only remain open for approximately 3 days before getting timed out, so if you can get back to me before then, that would be great. Otherwise, I won't be able to answer you further (and I won't get paid).

Kind Regards

AL

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Al

Many thanks once again. My solicitor has replied to confirm that the 2007 contract lists only three title deed numbers, so at least we have not been in breach for the last 7 years over the fourth piece of land.

I will follow up your valuable suggestions now with our solicitors and rate your expert service 'excellent'. I may even suggest they reimburse me for it!

Kind regards

Simon