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Nicola-mod, Moderator
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 21
Experience:  Moderator
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Am selling a strip of land, proposed buyer has paid £30000

Customer Question

Am selling a strip of land, proposed buyer has paid £30000 refundable deposit and £10000 non refundable deposit, am I entitled to the later now or does the solicitor keep it on his clients account until completion ? The solicitor is suggesting it is used to pay half his , and the estate agents fees . The contract states that the purchaser pays all fees . Would welcome your advice. Thank you
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  joannem1965 replied 4 years ago.

joannem1965 :


joannem1965 :

is he refusing to release it?

JACUSTOMER-n2rlnwea- :

not mentioned, just proposing that the non refundable deposit be used to pay ' one half of the legal fees and one half of the agents fees plus VAT which comes to a total of £9000 '.

Expert:  joannem1965 replied 4 years ago.
It depends on what the contract says about the deposit. The deposit is held by the solicitor as stakeholder, he cannot release it.
If it is held as agent for the seller, then he can. BUT…
However if the deposit of £10,000 is non-refundable, it would be nonsense for it to be held as stakeholder but it means that in effect, it can only be released on completion and of the matter never completes, it stays with the solicitor waiting for the buyer to agree to release it.
Although the contract says that the purchaser pays all fees, they are not the purchaser’s liability to the solicitor, they are your liabilities to the solicitor and they are the purchaser’s liability to you. It is not for the solicitor to chase the buyer for the fees and the buyer is simply holding the monies it seems on account to pay the fees on the off chance that either the matter falls through or the buyer fails to pay the fees because that means that the solicitor is then not chasing you whether the matter completes or not. Under the circumstances therefore it is not unreasonable for him to hold onto the deposit (assuming the contract documentation allowed him to release it) but he is not allowed to do so unless the retain a document that you signed with the solicitor, agreeing for him to do the work, allows him to do so.
You may find that you start to make a stand with this, and insist on the money comes back, the solicitor’s future dealings with this may not be as efficient as you would like and instead of responding to things in 24 hours it could take 48 or 36, just that little bit longer which is not worthy of a complaint but just not quite as efficient as it might be. I am not saying that will happen but there is a chance and it really depends if it’s a risk that you want to take. That in itself is not worthy of any complaint because there is no substance to it. It is really just common sense.
It is worth mentioning that non-refundable deposits on property purchases are very difficult to enforce unless your contract documentation is absolutely watertight.
Can I assist further or answer any specific points?
It is weekend and experts on here are online and off-line all weekend so please bear with me if I do not get back to you immediately.
Expert:  Nicola-mod replied 4 years ago.

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