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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  Lawyer with 9 years experience of advising on property issues.
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Hi I recently sold my property privately to a buyer that

Resolved Question:

Hi

I recently sold my property privately to a buyer that was introduced by a family friend. However before this, i was with an estate agent connells which i had signed a sole sale agreement for 20 weeks. This contract had run its course 1.5 months before i sold my property. After completion with the buyer a few weeks later i get a demand from the estate agents for a fee in region of about £2500 plus vat. They say that because of their marketing i sold my house and that they can prove they made the introductions. I gave them a signed letter from the buyer and also my family friend stating that they contacted me direct. Estate agent ignored this letter and send us proof of logs with the buyer making offer and also logs of me accepting offers which i have never seen before. So this leads me to believe they are all fabricated. They are insisting i pay. what can i do ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.

tdlawyer :

Hello, thank you to your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I can assist you with this.

tdlawyer :

Is the payment of commission to the estate agent dependent upon them having introduced the prospective purchaser?

Customer:

i think so this is in small print

tdlawyer :

Okay. That is what I would expect, it is quite normal in this type of contract.

tdlawyer :

So the real issue is whether they had actually introduced this particular person.

tdlawyer :

You say that they did not, and they say that they did, and they have produced logs/records to evidence that.

Customer:

correct

tdlawyer :

I'm just making sure I understand the position. Is this correct?

tdlawyer :

Good.

Customer:

letters of offers addressed to me which i have never seen before

tdlawyer :

So the particular purchaser, is a friend of yours, and is somebody that will presumably give evidence in your favour if necessary?

Customer:

or received in the post

tdlawyer :

Are the letters of offers from your friend?

Customer:

no from the estate agent to my friend

Customer:

and also to me

tdlawyer :

So it was not the estate agent making an offer, but instead, seeking to elicit an offer?

Customer:

yes

tdlawyer :

In other words, they were simply marketing and trying to get offers for you?

Customer:

yes

tdlawyer :

I understand.

tdlawyer :

Whether you are liable to pay the commission will come down to an interpretation of the contract terms and conditions.

Customer:

i have a the buyer and friend vouching for me in a signed letter

Customer:

but the contract was over by 20 weeks

tdlawyer :

If they require introduction to a specific person, and we assumed that that is the case, then that is likely to require something more than merely sending out a mailshot to them or otherwise marketing and then becoming aware of that marketing. Otherwise, you could be in the ridiculous position whereby any individual but had seen an advert from that particular agent, but subsequently purchases the property outside of the sole selling period would trigger the requirement to pay the commission. I seriously doubt that that was what was intended.

tdlawyer :

They are claiming £2500 plus VAT.

tdlawyer :

This is very much in the small claims system.

tdlawyer :

In the circumstances, you might take the view that it is worth defending in any event, as there is no risk to you of being ordered to pay solicitors these should the claim not be successfully defended at a final hearing.

tdlawyer :

In other words, you have very little to lose by seeking to defend it.

tdlawyer :

It may be possible to secure a very quick deal with the estate agents if you do defend it, which will allow you to draw a line under the matter once and for all.

Customer:

deal like pay some fees ?

tdlawyer :

They do not want to have to pursue these cases to a final hearing, any more than you want to defend them. It can often be disproportionate for them to pursue claims in the small claims system, particularly with lawyers, as they cannot recover their costs later on.

tdlawyer :

Yes, you might agree, for example, to pay them £500 to go away. At might be the "nuisance value" that you ascribe to their claim.

Customer:

i do not want to pay anything to them

tdlawyer :

As with all court proceedings, no matter how confident you feel about your chances of success, there is always a risk that you may not win.

tdlawyer :

If you lose, you will be ordered to pay £2500 plus VAT. If you succeed, you will be ordered to pay nothing.

Customer:

how can i pursue this with a lawyer

tdlawyer :

It is simply a commercial choice for you whether you decide to make them an offer and settle, but you could defend it fully at a court hearing if you wished.

Customer:

i rather pay the lawyer than these cockroaches

tdlawyer :

A lot of people take that approach!

tdlawyer :

And lawyers like that approach too!

Customer:

can i get a formal letter written to them defending my stance with a lawyer before hand

tdlawyer :

All I'm saying is be conscious of the financial position.

tdlawyer :

You can get a lawyer to write a short letter for you setting out your position. With any luck, that might be enough to dissuade them from taking any further action against you.

Customer:

do you provide such service ?

tdlawyer :

Regrettably not. We're not allowed to do that, but you should be ale to find a solicitor willing to do it for you in any high street firm for a small amount of cost.

Customer:

for one consultation the costs are too high

Customer:

ive tried

tdlawyer :

All firms are different. You should expect to pay no more than £80 plus VAT for appropriate letter to be written. You could perhaps go to a firm and ask for one of their trainee solicitors to do this for you, which will make sure that the amount charged would be less than if a qualified solicitor did the work for you. But the letter would still go on their letter headed notepaper, and have the same effect.

Customer:

ok i will try this. Any further tips before i leave

tdlawyer :

I can't think of anything else I'm afraid. I hope this has been helpful?

Customer:

thank you

Customer:

bye

tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience: Lawyer with 9 years experience of advising on property issues.
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