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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10974
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I bought my first home in June 2014 for £145,000 in Northern

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I bought my first home in June 2014 for £145,000 in Northern Ireland (mentioning this just in case the area falls outside your remit). I had beeen informed the vendor was looking a quick sale as he has in agreement with his bank to get a good market price before the bank stepped in and took possession of the property.
I had went sale agreed at £145,000 through a local estate agent. I began the mortgage process and got my finances agreed etc.
This was my dream home and the realistically the true market value would have been £165-170,000 if the vendor was not doing a voluntary possesion. However, approximately 2 weeks before I was due to complete, the local estate agent called me into his office for a meeting with the vendor. The vendor told me that he had agreed my purchase price of £145,000 but if I wanted to proceed, that I had to give him £10,000 cash as the property was being sold under value. I was speechless but basically the estate agent and the vendor told me they would pull out of the sale as no contracts had been exchanged at this stage unless I gave the vendor the money 'under the table'. The estate agent in fact wanted the money left into him for safe keeping until the sale completed.
I was fearful of loosing this house as I'd been out-bid on several others. I had already set the wheels in motion to move house and didn;t know what to do other than pay this 'ransom'. It has always annoyed me that I paid this but the unfortunate thing is I have no receipt fromt he estate agent of rthis as obviously it was a shady deal on their part. the only record I have of this money is bank records showing me taking it from my account over a 2 day period.
Is there anything I can do in thiss situation to recover the funds from the vendor / estate agent as I've onyl recently told a family member who pointed me to getting legal advise.
Thank you for any advise you can give me.
Buachaill :

1. As the bribe giver or ransom payor, you are always able to recover this payment from both the estate agent and the vendor of the property without it affecting your good title to the property. You can recover this as money had and received as it is an illegal payments and a constructive trust will be imposed to safeguard your repayment. Accordingly, you should see a solicitor and get them to issue legal proceedings to recover the £10,000. Basically, what happened here was an illegality and the law protects you in allowing you to get back the money unlawfully extracted from you.


Thank you for your prompt answer.


The only concern I have is that I don't have any evidence to prove the estate agent and the vendor bribed me and took payment of the cash - as I said before, I only have my own bank statements to show £10,00 being withdrawn to pay the agent and vendor.


What legal proceedings would be the normal course of action? I know there can never be a definitive guarantee I would get my £10,000 back from these people but I also do not want to be out solicitor costs unnecessarily especially when I do not have concrete evidence they ever bribed me.

Buachaill :

2. You are correct in stating that your case presents evidential difficulties. Ultimately, it will come down to whose account of the events is more credible. However, as you can point to the money being withdrawn and the house being sold for less than its value, the silent witnesses are in your favour. The vendor has to come up with a good reason as to why he was willing to part with the property for less than its value. His side of the story "smells" from the outset. Ultimately, you should seek to reach some sort of agreement on fees with any solicitor hired whereby you pay a certain sum as a "success" fee if you win, but your liability will be fixed if you lose. Apart from that there are no guarantees in life, least of all in litigation.


Thank you for your time.

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