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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10974
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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My Father sadly died in January, leaving behind a property

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My Father sadly died in January, leaving behind a property with a part share ownership. However, I have found a cash buyer, but things have been held up by a problem with the lease. My Father originally owned 40% of the property. This IS documented on the original lease. However, back in 2006, he asked his solicitor to carry out a stepping down in order to pay off some debts. He reduced his share to 25% at the agreement of the Housing Association) Leaseholders. However, to my solicitor's horror, there IS NOT any amendment attached to the lease, it still states 40%, and we cannot go ahead with the sale until this matter is sorted out. I also have the stress of sorting out my Father's IVA. I may now lose the buyer as my father's solicitors have destroyed all documentation from 2006, and the sale is "on hold" pending my solicitor's investigations. Are you aware whose responsibility it would have been to attach the amendment to the original lease at Land Registry to 25%? Would this be the Leaseholder or my Father's solicitor's responsibility. The Leaseholder's solicitors are denying all responsibility. Should I lose the buyer, is there any action I can take against either party who were responsible for this failure? Thank you. Debbie
1. The responsibility of registering the interest as 25% would have rested with your father's solicitor as they were acting for him in the reduction of his interest. So, if there is a liability, your father's estate could sue his old solicitor. You cannot sue your father's old solicitor unless you are executor of your father's estate when you would take an action on behalf of the estate against your father's former solicitor. Be aware that it might be difficult to prove negligence on the part of your father's former solicitors if they have destroyed all documentation. This is rather helpful for themselves!! It will be necessary to examine the records held by the council by seeking third party disclosure against the council in any legal action against your father's former solicitors. Be aware that you will be able to obtain recompense if your cash buyer does not go ahead with the sale against your father's former solicitors. This will be as part of an action by his estate.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you so much for your prompt response.

Just one more thing - any action which were to be taken against my father's solicitors: I am assuming that this is the only way the sale can go ahead - being as my father has an IVA, the Housing Association (Leaseholders), are insisting that the property share is only 25% - which obviously goes towards my Father's IVA. However, surely it's not going to be a legal transaction because as it stands, the lease "theoretically" still states 40%. Am I to assume that there is nothing that can be done by my solicitors to correct the problem so the property sale can go ahead? Or do they have to take action against my father's solicitors first? It will all obviously affect the IVA settlement greatly as their figures are based on 25% share. I am the executor of the estate.

Thank you.

2. Of course you can rectify it. It is a simple matter of giving another solicitor the papers and getting them to rectify the record. This can be done immediately. Sue the solicitor later. Get the lease percentage record amended and get the property sold as you have a buyer. The council will be quite delighted that you are only claiming 25% instead of 40%. So get an order for rectification from a court if necessary. However, the council will quite happily assent to your father's estate reducing their stated share to 25%. So get this done immediately. employ different solicitors.
Buachaill and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

That's absolutely great - thank you so much. I'm assuming by you saying "employ different solicitors" - is this because the existing conveyancing solicitors selling the property, aren't allowed to rectify the record, or did you base that on my comments in that they don't seem to be familiar with part buy/part rent property sales?

I'm assuming I won't get into any trouble, suing my Father's solicitors AFTER the sale because there was an IVA? I would like to think this is something that I can deal with away from what is a very complicated case of the estate being insolvent.

Thank you so much for your help. This will finalise my questions. You've been extremely helpful indeed.

3. The reason I have suggested using different solicitors is that you should not use your father´s old firm of solicitors. If the estate´s solicitors are not your father´s old solicitors, then they are Ok. However, they should know how to rectify the previous error if they have experience with leaseholds and conveyancing. If they aren´t familiar, then use a different firm for this part of the work.