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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I am trying to sell my flat but the buyers solicitor has found

Customer Question

I am trying to sell my flat but the buyers solicitor has found our lease to be faulty and drew up a deed of variation. A deed of variation was then found but not registered with land registery. The buyers have now pulled out and I am left wondering if my lease is faulty or not
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Do you know what defect was identified please?

JACUSTOMER-g3d9vkpu- :

Original lease read that my flat was responsible for all communal parts and carpark. When I bought flat this wasn't brought to my attention. We have since been shown a deed of variation from Management company that reads that my flat being bottom is responsible for foundation and top flat responsible for roof and communal areas are charged at a 1/6th service charge for maintenance. The deed of variation that was found was made when the flat was first purchased in 1994 but apparently never registered. I now have another buyer and don't want to lose this one

Joshua :

Thanks

Joshua :

Would I be correct to assume you use a solicitor when you purchase the property? If so, do you know if the firm is still trading?

JACUSTOMER-g3d9vkpu- :

Yes I did use solicitor and yes still trading as far as I know

Joshua :

thank you.

Joshua :

Finally, Do you know the location of the original of this deed of variation that has not been registered? Has it been signed?

JACUSTOMER-g3d9vkpu- :

I was sent a copy from management company which there is a signature of the lady who first purchased but no signature by management company but their is a common seal? like a large stamp thing but looks black due to copy

Joshua :

Thanks. The issues you refer to are indeed defects in your lease because they impose unusually large liabilities on you as leaseholder which is both (obviously) not good for you but as importantly means the lease does not comply with standard Council of mortgage lenders requirements which means that mortgage lenders will refuse to lend on the property which makes the flat very difficult to sell.

Joshua :

these issues need to be resolved ideally before you sell the property. It is possible to resolve as part of the sale process but this will result in delays and potential complications and may lead to negotiation on the price and so on.

JACUSTOMER-g3d9vkpu- :

How do I go about solving this. Is the deed of variation that was made when the first lady bought flat valid or not

Joshua :

the issues should have been pointed out to you at the time you bought the property and your solicitor should have advised you against proceeding and if you required a mortgage of the time, the solicitor should have notified the lender of the issues which would likely have resulted in the lender refusing to lend until the issue was resolved. Based upon what you say, your solicitor did not do so in this being the case, it would amount to negligence on the part of the solicitor. The difficulty is, you purchased the property more than 15 years ago and therefore any claim against the solicitors is stale and cannot be pursued by virtue of the latent damages act. Accordingly unfortunately, at this point, may need to consider looking to resolve the issue yourself, though it may still be worthwhile contacting the original firm of solicitors you used in case they are willing to help despite the lack of legal liability

JACUSTOMER-g3d9vkpu- :

I bought the flat 2 years ago

Joshua :

My apologies - I had understood from your reference to the flat being purchased in 1994 that you had purchased it in 1994. Thank you for the clarification. This improves the position significantly...

Joshua :

This being the case, it is simply a matter of your contacting the further solicitors you used to purchase the property. They should have advised you against proceeding until the above issues were resolved and it would appear to be a clear case of negligence on their part in failing to do so. You can require the firm of solicitors to 1) attend to rectifying the defects in the lease at their cost and 2) you also have the basis of the claim for any loss you can show you have suffered as a result of the negligence - e.g. additional legal costs and so on.

JACUSTOMER-g3d9vkpu- :

if the deed of variation that was sent to my solicitors this time rectifies the original lease but it was not registered as I have been told what do I need to do

Joshua :

http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/helping-the-public/#making-complaint

Joshua :

if you find the deed of variation has been signed but simply not registered and your old solicitors can either track this down or have it in their position on your file, then it may simply be a case that the document can simply be registered the land registry and that is an end to the matter. The registration process is usually completed within a matter of 48 hours or so if the issue straightforward or if not, a week or two. You also solicitors will have to deal with registering the same on your behalf as this should have been carried out for you as part of the conveyancing process when you purchased the flat

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

JACUSTOMER-g3d9vkpu- :

Yes at this stage it does. I will write to original solicitor and hopefully they will help to rectify my situation

Joshua :

I hope your initial contact meets with some quick progress. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

JACUSTOMER-g3d9vkpu- :

I will, thank you

Joshua :

Many thanks

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
Joshua and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Joshua, I have wrote to original solicitor in hope that he will assist. I have wrote to the management company who as before will not answer my questions and basically said they will only answer to a solicitor. Is this legal or can I act for myself. Do I have the right to speak with their solicitors myself and ask them to sign the deed of variation? Who should have registered the deed of variation at the time? Who needs to register it now, can I do it myself if the one that is made does rectify the original.

Thanks

Karen

Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
It is possible for you to act for yourself however this is not straightforward for a non solicitor to deal with as Deeds are not entirely easy documents to deal with and it is important that the DoV addresses all defects in the lease of which there appears to be potentially more than one - responsibility for structure and responsibility for common parts.

Also you may undermine your claim against your previous solicitor if you intermeddle in the matter yourself.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Is there anywhere I can get my lease and deed of variation looked at free? I just cant finance a solicitor at the moment

I have just been quoted 200 pound per hour!

Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
I would suggest your previous solicitor you ued for the purchase - based on what you say they may have been negligent and if this is the case, they must rectify the entire position for you without cost and may in addition, be liable to you for a compensation payment if you have suffered loss as a result
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Joshua

I have had no response from previous solicitor yet. The deed of variation that was made back in 1995 has a common seal and signature by owner. It was not registered. There is however no signature by director or secretary. This Deed of Variation has only come to light after a new deed of variation has been made by my solicitor which obviously I have had to pay for! I want to know if I can still go ahead with the new one which I am happy with and before the unregistered one was found was agreed by the freeholders.

Regards

Karen

Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
It is likely that it take the solicitors a few days to retrieve your file before they can usefully comment though it is worth chasing them for an acknowledgement of your email (if that is how you contacted them). If time is pressing make this clear to them in particular your potential losses or expenses if there is any delay so you can seek to claim these from them if there is deed a cost to you in delay.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Joshua at this stage all I want to do is get my lease correct so that I can sell. So my question is: Can I still register the Deed of Variation that has was made back in 1995 or can I use the new Deed of Variation and register it myself

Karen

Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
If the old Deed of Variation is signed by the landlord and there have been no changes of landlord or other substantial amendments to the title in the intervening period, then in principle it can still be registered. However, as above, it is important that you do not prejudices the position we were all solicitors may be able to avoid liability to you so it is important to leave it to them in order to maintain their liability
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Joshua, I have wrote to original solicitor asking if they received my email. I have also wrote to the solicitor who I have been using and have had no reply from her either. I have asked for the new Deed of Variation that has been made to still go ahead. Do you have any idea how much this sort of fee costs? Do I have the right to be copied into all correspondence between solicitor and ALL parties involved as I haven't been up to now and want to make sure progression is being made. Does is cost to be copied in?

Karen

Expert:  Joshua replied 1 year ago.
You might try telephoning and asking to speak to the partner who deads the resdential property department or failing which complaints partner. There is no reliable cost fiure here becuase there is no guarantee the matter can be sorted out if the original the signed document cannot be found and the landlord refuses to sign another. It is for this reason why it is so important that you ensure the original solicitors that acted for you resolve the matter for you rather than attempting to do so yourself with or without another solicitor because one outcome may be that the original solicitors owe you damages for loss in value of your property.

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