Ask an Property Solicitor. Get an Answer ASAP.
Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I ask what kind of company this is please? Is it a property search agent or something else please?
Was the deposit paid to them as stakeholder or agent? Don't worry if these terms are unfamiliar.
10 years ago they just did property training (aimed at novice landlords). More recently, at least the last 3 years they have branched out into also sourced properties from home-owners looking to sell, and packaging these up for landlords to buy. They advertise they will arrange the finance (they have connections with mortgage brokers) and arrange for a letting agent in the area of the property to handle day-to-day tenant find and management. They also invest in property themselves. They are a UK Ltd company. My communications over the last 6 months have been primarily with their Finance Director.
I'm not familiar with the terms stakeholder and agent (presumably different than an estate agent). I suppose agent though as they never actually own the properties they are selling. They basically bring the seller and the buyer together and help arrange the finance and solicitors for the purchase, so at a guess i'd say agent.
I did training with them 10 years ago and they were a decent company then, so I am disappointed with the way things have panned out over the last 12 months - not just that it was unsuccessful with regards XXXXX XXXXX but also their poor communication, and now poor customer service.
Sorry for the delay in reverting to you.
Thank you for the above. Regarding the £12K deposit was this to be their fee in the event that a deal was successful or would some or all of this go against the purchase price? If the latter how much was their fee and when was this to be paid?
Hi. The property was advertised as 12k 'all in' - as i understand it, part of it was their fee (either directly or as commission following a successful property sale), the remainder (the majority) would be the deposit towards the property purchase itself. A BTL mortgage would then cover the remainder of the purchase price.
thank you. based upon what you say, I agree your assessment that they are in breach of contract and accordingly are liable to return all of the money to you that you paid and in addition, you would have a claim potentially towards interest on the same. in the assumption you have not agreed any form of interest payment when you paid the money, section 69 County Courts act provides a basis for you to claim interest on unpaid debts at 8% per annum
accordingly, you may wish to consider writing to the companyadvising that you are disappointed that the balance remains outstanding and asking them to provide substantive proposals for settlement within the next seven days failing which you will need to consider issuing proceedings for recovery of the balance together with court fees and statutory interest under section 69 County Courts act in the County court
if necessary, you can issue proceedings using the courts online issuing service www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. The process is straightforward and if you are claiming more than £10,000, there is a basis to recover some legal fees should you choose to retain a solicitor though in truth that should be required in respect of such a straightforward claim
there is an alternative approach which you may favour which would involve you serving something known as a statutory demand on the company. This is a warning that unless they pay the money owed, you can make an application to wind up the company ( the equivalent of bankruptcy for a company). there is no charge to issue such a notice and such notices can be effective in bringing reluctant debtors to pay however it is unlikely you will wish to take the next step and actually apply for a winding up petition as this will set you back the best part of the thousand pounds however they are not to know that you will not do so and so and accordingly serving statutory demands is a popular way to try to force people to pay even though most people do not follow through on them
if you chose to serve a statutory demand, the following is the form you would need to do so:http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/insolvency/docs/forms/ew/form4-01.doc
is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?
Thank you for the answer you have provided.
They have sent me an email saying that from 4th April they will repay the full 12k at a rate of 2k per week. My concern is firstly that they may not stick to this schedule, and secondly that will make is 2 months they have essentially held my money as an interest free loan - something I certainly did not agree to at any point.
What are the typical timescales for the moneyclaim route (the first option you gave). Obviously if this will take longer than 8 weeks then i'm no better off at the end of it (and will have paid fees to moneyclaim, which i believe are several £100 when the claim is of this amount).
I am glad the above is of assistance. A Small Claims Court action through money claim online if the matter goes to hearing can take 2 to 3 months however as you have an admission of the debt, you could seek summary judgement on this basis which is a process whereby you submit the evidence of admission of the debt owed to the judge and ask him to make summary judgement on the basis that the defendant has no defence. This can be obtained in a matter of a few but so it is up to the judge's discretion as to whether to grant summary judgement or not.
as above, you are entitled to claim statutory interest at a rate of 8% per annum on the money that is owed from the point it should have been repaid
is there anything else I can help you with?
That is all, thank you.