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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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We are trying to buy a specific property - a freehold house

Resolved Question:

We are trying to buy a specific property - a freehold house in England.

After protracted negotiation including two increases in price, the vendor promised us last Friday, via the estate agent, that he would sell to us for a specific price. He was emphatic on this point - "I'm a man of my word." But over the following weekend he made the same promise - at the same price - to a third party who presented him with a written contract and a deposit which they paid him directly.

He is aware that he has done something wrong and has apologised to my wife but this is not enough redress.

Can his subsequent promise be voided, for example by an injunction? Is there any precedent for this? How would we seek such a ruling and prevent the sale to the third party? How would we then enforce his original promise to sell to ourselves?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 3 years ago.

tdlawyer :

Hi, thanks for your question. My name isXXXXX can answer this.

tdlawyer :

Unofrtunately, any agreement for the transfer of land must be in writing or evidenced in writing and contain all relevant terms (s.2 of the Law of Property Act 1989).

Customer:

So a verbal agreement has no legal effect?

tdlawyer :

No, it doesn't I'm afraid. The law is very clear on that.

Customer:

OK, thanks. What are 'all relevant terms'?

tdlawyer :

What's happened is you've been :gazumped". In some other countries, this is outlawed and there has been talk of outlawing it here, but it has never made law.

tdlawyer :

By "all relevant terms" it simply means all contract terms, i.e. exchange and completion dates, price, description of property etc. etc.

Customer:

OK, thanks for that. I'm disappointed, of course.

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