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Thomas
Thomas, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7626
Experience:  UK solicitor holding an England and Wales practising Certificate.
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We purchased our property in June 2012. We were contacted in

Resolved Question:

We purchased our property in June 2012. We were contacted in September 2013 by our conveyancing solicitor telling us that a covenant for management fees had been overlooked and that we were required to sign it. We are prepared to sign but do not believe we should pay retrospective charges. We have been told we owe nearly £900 for fees from date we bought the property. Should we pay the retrospective fees?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Someone has made a mistake here. There will be an obligation on each owner of the property subject to the management charge to ensure that a purchaser of property enters into a deed of covenant.

So, if a person sells a property and the solicitors do not arrange that purchaser to enter in to a deed of covenant then the previous owner will be in breach of their deed of covenant and will remain liable for the charges. Though, obviously had the situation been sorted correctly then you would have been liable for the fees.

Therefore, the question is who has made the error of oversight in not getting you to arrange the deed of covenant. You need to enquire with your solicitor about whether the seller's solicitor missed this or whether they required your solicitor to get you to arrange the deed of covenant and your solicitor missed this.

Depending on the outcome of this question you may attempt to seek settlement with your solicitor or the seller's solicitor, though they may offer some resistance because you would have paid these fees if the situation had been properly sorted at the time of purchase. However if your solicitor did not report to you on the fees to make you aware of them then your argument will be buttressed to an extent

Kind regards

Tom
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for answer. Conveyancing was done for both seller and us by same company. The estate agents suggested this would make the process faster and more straightforward for us. So error was made by same company. It is clearly in their interests to try to make us pay. Should we refuse to pay retrospective charges but pay from now? Can they force us to pay retrospective charges (from date of completion)? can we take this complaint to higher authority?
Expert:  Thomas replied 3 years ago.
Hi

I suspect that the seller is still bound by there previous covenant to pay.

In a sense having the company act for both is of benefit to you, because clearly the company has made an error.

The management company can probably insist on the seller paying until you sign the deed of covenant.

Make a formal complaint asking them to explain if they missed this. If they accept liability, then come to a settlement with them otherwise you will complain to the Solicitors Regulatory authority.

Kind regards


Tom
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