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Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.
Could you please explain the situation a little more?
I put an offer in October 2013 through an Estate Agent for a commercial property owned by City of London Corporation in SE1 which was agreed and we exchanged solicitors details. A draft lease was prepared, amended and later finalised. I was require to pay a 6 months deposit which I negotiated to be paid by 2 installments with 3 months rent free period to renovate the property. Everything went on fine apart from the long delay in processing the lease (which took about 5 months). It was finally confirmed by the Estate Agents on March 21st after that we will be completing on 25th March 2014. Prior to that both myself and the estate agent signed a 2nd amended copy of the lease agreement on March 7th and he gave me a completion statement with City of London bank details and I paid the agreed 3 deposits plus a year insurance on the property on the March 12th. The receipt of payment was confirmed about 3 days after and then less than 24hrs to handing over the keys to the property on the afternoon on March 24th I was told that the landlord has decided to give the property to another person who came at the last minute to make a higher offer offer. The agent told me gave me the option to match the offer which was more the £3000 over the advertised value of the property. The lease was advertised for £16,950 per annum and I offered £14,500 but I was now requested to pay £20,000 per annum. However, since we are no longer negotiating because I have signed the contract the sent to me and returned almost 2 weeks before this request I told the agent I was not going to put in a new offer as everything has already been finalised for completion in less that 24hrs.
The situation I now faced is that after I paid the deposit I gave my notice to my current landlady and went ahead to order equipment for the new premises which we also engaged professionals to design the interior for the renovation. So right now I am facing losing my business because my landlady has offered our current premises to someone. The workmen I engaged for the renovation work are demanding payment, the equipment have arrived and I have been given 2 weeks to take delivery of them of pay for storage cost.
Had both parties signed the lease?
Also last year October when I was looking for the properties there were a couple of others I viewed by the Heads of Terms stated that the moment solicitors have been instructed if I pull out I will be liable to cost so I have been locked in since October 2013 only to be let down at the last minute with all these financial burden and about to be out of business. The landlord still has my rent and the insurance payment.
But had the Landlord and you, as tenant signed the lease?
I signed the lease which was countersigned by the Estate Agent and sent to City of London.
I believe I was supposed to get their signed document with the keys on 25th March
Did you intend to purchase or lease the property?
Lease the property.
For at least 10yrs
OK - was the lease required to be signed by the Landlord, or just the agent?
I am not sure. However, when I asked the agent he told me I will get back my copy on the completion date which he confirmed was going to be March 25th
Ok - you need to check.
If it was signed by the Landlord, then they are stuck and would be in breach of contract
If it was not signed by the Landlord, either party can pull out at any time before signing
it has to be signed to be binding so the answer really depends
If it was signed by the Landlord, you have a contract which you can sue by
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
Unfortunately I don't have the document I signed as the Agent counter as took it back to send the City of London to include the date the lease with start
You need to know as its vital
If its not signed you don't have protection and can't do anything
if it is, you can sue and insist the terms are carried out
Ok the fact that landlord sent me a completion statement and requested I make the payment and I did that 2 weeks before does that not state a binding agreement or arrangement
The contact MUST MUST MUST be signed by the landlord
According to the content it say that completion will be within 2 weeks after the deposit was paid so if they accept the deposit almost 2 weeks before and did not notify me of any offer being proposed until the day before, does that still allow them to pull out without notice?
Well you still need to know whether it was signed by the Landlord
If so then they can't pull out and you can make the Landlord go through
If it was no signed, either party can pull out any time before both parties have signed
Does that clarify the position?
Ok so how do I now get the document I signed to check this information?
You need to ask the agent
I am sadly only to tell you what the legal position is
If the Landlord has signed it clearly they can't take it back
If the estate agent confirmed a completion date with me less than 24hrs to their pulling out is it still legal
If the contract has not been signed by Landlord then that is legal
Ok. I will ask the Agent for the document, hoping that they will release it or get it for me
Yes. Good luck with this.
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Ok if that doesn't work who can I complain to because I am a single mother with 2 children and can't afford to carry such final lose or burden
Sadly your position is limited.
Not signed - no claim
If it is signed - you can claim
If the Council have acted badly you can complain to the Ombudsman at: www.lgo.org.uk
Does that clarify?
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