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UK-Justice, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 16193
Experience:  Called to the Bar in 2007
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Hi Our solicitors have lost our counterpart lease. We signed

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Our solicitors have lost our counterpart lease. We signed a 12 year agreement back in 2005 with two breakouts (after 3 and 6 years). We always planned to exercise our second breakout.

The notes we had from the solicitor were scribbled on a previous draft of the lease and were misleading. Consequently we were under the impression we had to give 6 month notice but could only do this within 6 months of our breakout date. We contacted our landlord 5 months prior to this date to confirm we would be exercising our breakout and to ask when was the earliest we could do so. The landlord told us it was too late (5 weeks too late) and that we were now tied in for a further 6 years. We contacted our solicitors who have since failed to produce our counterpart lease. All they have is a box of early drafts.

I’m just wondering if you have ever heard of this kind of thing happening in the past and if you think we could justifiably take action against our solicitor for for negligence?

I believe our current options are:
- see out the lease (there are now 4.5 years remaining)
- attempt to re-assign the lease (assuming the landlord allows this - the lease says they cannot reasonably withhold permission but the landlord is being vague as to whether they'll permit it)
- possible action against solicitor??

Many thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

Thanks for your question, I will do whatever I can to help you. Please remember to rate my answer SMILEY FACE OR ABOVE. o

Does the landlord have a copy?

Have you complained to managing partner?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The landlord's solicitor has one copy of the lease with the landlord's signatures only.

They also have a counterpart lease just with our signatures.


No one has a copy of an agreement with both sets of signatures.


Our solicitors have nothing on file and claim they no longer have a property lawyer. Below is a copy of the last email we received from our solicitor (8th Feb 2012).


In response to the below, we have definitely never received the lease or counterpart lease from them. They are very vague as to whether they sent it and had they really sent it, surely they'd have done so recorded delivery and would be able to prove it?


"Dear XXXXXte,


I understand that you have been corresponding with Mags Singleton here regarding your inquiry as to whether or not Keoghs is holding an original lease (or counterpart lease) relating to the property at 107, Timber Wharf, Worsley Street, Castlefield, Manchester dating back to 2006 when the firm acted for Extravision.

We have checked the firm's deed records and also searched through the cabinet of original property related documents which we still hold; unfortunately, we do not hold this lease or counterpart. It appears from the letter dated 19th April 2006 on file that the original documents were probably sent to Extravision on conclusion of the transaction.

The file indicates that Pannone in Manchester (ref AROB.YMG/18749/575) acted for your Landlord, and my suggestion would be for you to contact them to request a copy of the signed lease. If Extravision has solicitors who normally deal with its legal work, then you could ask them to contact Pannone on your behalf or, alternatively, to make enquiries with the Land Registry to see whether they are able to provide a copy of the lease.


I'm sorry that I'm not able to be of more help, but we no longer have any property lawyers at the firm and so we not able to advise you on the consequences of the missing lease.


Kind regards,


Philippa Hayes

Partner, Risk and Compliance Director"



I look forward to your response. Thanks





Do your Solicitors ever accept they did have the counter part?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

We have:


1. An email from the landlord confirming all information is with our solicitors (dated 10 June 2005 - 10 days before contracts signed)


2. an email from us confirming we are happy for the solicitors "to retain the lease and ancillary documents after completion"


3. The email from the solicitors stating "It appears from the letter dated 19th April 2006 on file that the original documents were probably sent to Extravision on conclusion of the transaction. "


Also, is it standard for none of the agreements to have a full set of signatures? We have signed a counterpart but there is no document with signatures for both parties.


Also, there are several scribblings in pen on the PDF version of the final lease that the landlord has signed. Shouldn't a final lease be typed fully and signed by both parties? Maybe I'm clutching at straws now!



Thanks. You certainly have a claim against the Solicitors for negligence.

You should first contact the Managing Partner and complain.

They will investigate the matter and report back to you.

If you are not satisfied with the response then you can complain to the SRA, who regulate Solicitors.

They can be found at:

They can prosecute if there has been any breaches of the rules.

But in any event this does not stop you having a claim in negligence.

So yes, your options are correct - without the lease you are somewhat limited with your options.

I hope this helps.

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I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Yes, your answer was very helpful and my feedback will reflect this - many thanks.