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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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I have recently purchased a leasehold property, the freeholder

Customer Question

I have recently purchased a leasehold property, the freeholder being the local council. They have informed me that the previous owner owed about £2,300 in service charges and that I am now responsible for these charges. I used a firm of conveyancers to purchase the property and a friend of mine, with some understanding of the process, tells me that he believes that the conveyancers had a duty to keep a retainer back from the monies to cover this debt. However, the conveyancer says it is standard practice to ask for this money back after completion (which seems odd to me). He has written to the vendors solicitor without reply now after more than two months. I purchased the property in March and the council did not inform me of the debt until June, due to staff shortages. They do have on record the reply that they sent to my conveyancers enquiry during the purchasing process, which clearly shows this amount outstanding. Frankly, I believe the chances of recovering this money from the vendors is remote, as some of it goes back to 2011. Who is correct, my conveyancers or my friend (and my common sense)?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 3 years ago.

Sadly, it appears that your conveyancers have been negligent.

Your friend and your common sense is correct.
A sum should have been withheld from the purchase price to cover the outstanding unpaid service charges which should have been apportioned at completion.

Sorry if this is not the advice you wished to hear.