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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10125
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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I was selling a tenanted HMO, agreed to remove tenants from

Customer Question

I was selling a tenanted HMO, agreed to remove tenants from their tenancy early at the request of Buyers. Arranged this by agreeing to refund all tenants' final month's rent and waive any claim on their Deposits.
Duly achieved vacant possession on date agreed with Buyers, (via solicitors of course) and the agreement had been to Exchange Contracts on the following day. The following day it became clear that the Buyer's solicitor had done NOTHING towards conveyancing checks of ANY kind and now wished to explore environmental issues which had "come to light".
Surely the solicitor had SOME duty of care towards, a/ the Tenants who had been enjoying 'a life' and been evicted, possibly unnecessarily, and b/ a duty of care to me who paid out large sums of money, possibly unnecessarily.
Considering half the country has been underwater for the last year, one would think "environmental issues" would be top of the list to check, immediately - and anyway the Buyers were well informed of the "environmental issues" - none of which directly affected this house, and had made their purchase offer knowing all facts.
I am told i am not "allowed" to know the name of the Buyer's solicitor...
I want to know that this is not yet a dog eat dog world aided and abetted by solicitors!
I have refused to enter into a contract with the Buyers out of concern that they would not behave honourably and proceed to completion without prevaricating further; this decision was based on the above behaviour.
Do i have any recourse against either the Buyers or their solicitor?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.
My name is ***** ***** am happy to assist you with your enquiry.
I am afraid that under UK property law, until Contracts are exchanged, neither party in a transaction owes any duty to the other, as everything is "subject to Contract".
I appreciate you have done all you can to achieve an exchange of Contracts, but until the Buyer and his Solicitor are ready, there is no legally binding agreement, and so it won't be possible for you to make any claim whatsoever against the Buyer or his Solicitor.
I am not sure what environmental issue needs to be resolved, but I can say that nearly all of us Solicitors carry out an Environmental search, together with the other searches, as a matter of course. The Enviro search only takes normally 24 hours to receive, and if issues are revealed in the search, then this may lead to further enquiries being raised.
I am sorry this is not the answer you were looking for, but it sets out the legal position.
Please let me know if I can assist any further.
Kind Regards
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10125
Experience: Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
Aston Lawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Al, thanks for your reply. i'm not sure if i can just go ahead and ask you the following but - i have the page - so:


IF the solicitor had looked at the paperwork sufficiently to agree to a Vacant possession date and also AGREE on an Exchange of Contact date, and IF then he had encountered "environmental issues" which might have prevented the sale completing why does he not have a duty to hold up matters, be clear about the issues, and not allow the vacant possession aspect go ahead until such time as he is 'ready' to proceed?


This otherwise - in my opinion - means that the solicitor has colluded with the Buyers to make me take the house off the market for 4 months - knowing that they were NOT going to proceed as they had stated that they would... isn't that lying? Isn't the solicitor laying the path for the Buyers to then gazunder me? Having delayed my sale for what would be about 7 months at the very least!! How can i sustain that kind of loss, now that the property is totally vacant.

It was in all senses a conspiracy - in my eyes anyway - and proven and compounded by the fact that i am not "allowed" to know the name of the solicitor...Why not? One must suppose he has something to feel uncomfortable about.

How do i contact the Legal Ombudsman?

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hi Georgina,

Thanks for your reply.

I sympathize with you, but as with all your house purchases, it is very much a case of waiting for all parties to be ready, and then exchanging Contracts. Really, in an ideal world, you shouldn't have asked the Tenants to leave until Contracts had been exchanged, as until this is achieved, either party, including yourself, can pull out.
The best I can therefore advise, is that you give the Buyer an ultimatum- exchange Contracts in the next say 14 days, or you withdraw and put the property back on the market. Not sure if you are willing to do this, but this is the only way you can force the issue with the Buyer.

From a personal point of view, I have a Sale going through at the moment, where an environmental issue at the bottom of the chain has delayed matters beyond belief- we have been waiting over 2 months for it to be sorted out, and my clients are feeling no doubt the same way as you are feeling. Unfortunately, this sometimes happens in Conveyancing.

As regards finding out who your Buyers Solicitor is, if you have Estate Agents, his details will show on the Memorandum of Sale they would have sent to you at the onset.

Good luck.

Kind Regards

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