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Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Property Law
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I'm buying a flat where completion date was supposed to be

today but the seller has... Show More
today but the seller has not moved out completely. I need advise asap.
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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practising lawyer in England with over 10 years experience. May I ask preisely how they have not moved out please - i.e. are they still there or just leave belongings?Are you using a solicitor?Have you transferred funds for payment for completion (more accurately has your solicitor done so) to the seller?
Customer reply replied 2 years ago.

I am using a solicitor with whom I only communicate by phone and email but I would prefer to get some independent advise as that solicitor was recommended to me by the Estate agent.

completion date was today at midday but they only left one key at the estate agent at 4pm and they are holding other keys as apparently they still have stuff in the flat. I don't know exactly how much.

They are asking for an extra day to remove a fridge etc. But my point is that I don't know exactly how much stuff is in the flat and if they will really move everything out tomorrow as I haven't accepted the key from the estate agent until they give me an empty flat with all the keys.

What can i do in my case? This could easily go on for a few days and I thought it was the responsibility of the Estate agent and my solicitor to give me an empty flat at the time that was agreed.

Thank you. What is your position practically - are you moving in or are you buying as a buy to let? Do you have acocmodation? Are you incurring any other costs - e.g. removals?
Customer reply replied 2 years ago.

It is a Buy to let flat.

Thanks so is it right to say that you are not incurring any costs in the delay as of right now other than of course lost interest on your money? You don't have a tenant waiting?
Customer reply replied 2 years ago.

I do have a tenant waiting.

Thanks. I will assume that your solicitor has exchanged contracts using a contracts which are subject to the national conditions of sale which is used almost universally for all normal mainstream residential property purchases and sales. This being the case, the national conditions of sale provide that the seller must move out by a specified time on the day of completion which is usually between 12 and 2pm. from what you say here, the time in this case was 12 PM. If the seller fails to do so, then they are in breach of contract and your solicitor will need to serve a notice to complete on the sellers solicitor. The contract should provide that the solicitor can charge the seller for the cost of doing so. the notice to complete instructs the seller that he is liable to pay you interest on the money paid of the contract rate which is usually set at around 4 to 5% above base rate - your solicitor will confirm the contract rate for your contract - aand in addition instructs the seller that he will be liable for your reasonable consequential losses which you can show you have reasonably incurred as a direct consequence of his failure to complete and if he does not complete within 10 working days following the notice, you have a right to either seek a court order for specific performance of the contract or repudiate (cancel) the contract. If you have a key you can of course take up occupation though I appreciate you would not wish to do so if you are renting it out. alternatively, if you have the sellers address, you could hire a van driver to remove the goods and deliver them to the seller and look to the seller for the cost. I hope the above is of assistance? If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to click to rate my service to you today or just reply back to let me know if the above is helpful. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me I'd be very grateful
Customer reply replied 2 years ago.

I'd like to know if I should accept the key in the current situation or if I can demand they give me an empty flat as agreed.

I see it as if Completion hasn't taken place. Things haven't happened as agreed. and I haven't picked up the keys until they solve this issue.

What options do I have? and what can I demand from my solicitor and estate agent?
Don't they have legal responsibilities as well?

you have the above options - namely either to wait and charge the seller interest together with any associated costs you incur or to take the key and arrange for the items to be removed from the property and delivered to the seller at the sellers cost. The solicitor has a duty of care to you and must ensure that the above notice to complete is served upon the sellers solicitor and attempt to recover the monies that are due to you from the sellers solicitor. If you prefer not to collect the key until the property is made available to you that presents no difficulty and as above, you will have the right to claim interest on the money you have paid together with any associated losses you make. which option you choose, depends upon how quickly you wish to take possession of the property but if you are patient wait, you can seek the interest and costs as above or if you prefer more practical option to take the property as soon as possible, then you may prefer the option of removing the goods yourself using a contractor and looking to the seller for the cost. Your contract should fully insulate you against all reasonable costs and losses you suffer I hope the above is helpful? Can I help you with anything else or has the above answered your questions satisfactorily? If you could drop me a quick message to let me know I'd be very grateful.
Customer reply replied 2 years ago.

Just one more question. Do the Estate agents have any legal obligations to ensure the completion goes smoothly?

No problem. Estate agents have duties primarily to their client which is the seller. Their obligations to you are relateively limited - the duty to ensure the particulars are accurate and a duty to make the keys available to you following completion. The remainder of the obligations they have owe owed towards the seller because they don't act for you as the buyer. Your solicitor by contrast owes you a wide range of duty of care and must support you and ensure your interests are protected given the sellers breach of contract.Have I been able to help you with all your questions on the above?