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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 30929
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was looking to purchase a cafe and during the process the

Customer Question

I was looking to purchase a cafe and during the process the letting agent requested that I paid £750 + vat (£900) so that a revised lease could be prepared. I paid the money over as requested. Unfortunately due to a change i circumstances I had to withdraw from the sale, No works had been undertaken on the preparation of a new lease to either the letting agent or my knowledge. I subsequently requested that the money be returned from the letting agent and they said they would approach the solicitors. Everything went quite and after several emails the letting agent told me to contact the solicitors. Despite several emails and hand delivered letters the solicitors have not even replied. Furthermore I know that they subsequently charged my friend who was selling the cafe the FULL AMOUNT for the issue of a lease to him. This has been going on for over 12 months.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  propertylawyer replied 5 months ago.

Hi

What was the terms of making payment of 750 plus vat. Was it to cover legal fees?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
the seller's lease was up for renewal and it was intended to pay for the letting agents solicitors to draw up a follow on lease under the existing terms but just altering the names. my phone nr is ***********
Expert:  propertylawyer replied 5 months ago.

You have given a number do you want to speak?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
If its part of the service or should you wish to contact me to assist you in providing an answer to my question feel free to use it.
Expert:  propertylawyer replied 5 months ago.

You have to call via the site. I cannot call direct.

If you accept the call invite we can speak.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Ok we will see how it goes. In answer to your initial question the exact wording from the Letting Agent (CH Hurst & Son) requesting to payment was detailed in a letter dated 3/4/15;
" Further to our telephone conversation we can confirm that we will instruct the owners solicitor to prepare a new draft lease in relation to the above mentioned property".... "The lease shall be on the same terms as the existing lease to Mr K Bridge. You will be responsible for the cost of preparing the lease and the solicitor has quoted £750 plus VAT. Can you either forward a cheque made payable to Hartley Worstenholme or pay the money direct into our account so we can instruct the solicitors as soon as possible"We took the 2nd option and transferred the money on 3/4/15. I subsequently withdrew from the sale on the 27/4/15 both by telephone and by email, Also on the 27th I requested a refund of money paid and they confirmed that they would contact the solicitors to request this.
Between the 3rd & 27th I had chased the letting agent on a number of occasions as I had no direct contact with the solicitor's, and the letting agent was unable to get any confirmation that the preparation of the lease had commenced.I have subsequently chased the letting agent on a regular basis requesting the return of the money. the final response I got from them was telling me to contact the solicitors myself. I have subsequently sent 4 emails and also hand delivered copies of the correspondence to the solicitors office, (Mr Wilton not being available?) and they have not even given me the curtesy of a reply.
Expert:  propertylawyer replied 5 months ago.

Your money is probably gone. I can explain more about the process on the phone if you are interested. But in essence, the fee was stated to cover preparation of the lease which the solicitor is bound to say it prepared.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
But how could he have prepared it if nether myself or the Agent even received an initial draft despite asking repeated for it during the 24 days? Also if your saying I had effectively paid for a full lease then surly I should have been in receipt of the finished product even though I had no use for it? Also no offence but if that's the basis of your advice I don't see why I should waste another £26 on a phone call.

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