To think this solicitor is unreasonable?

(7 Posts)
WishICouldThinkOfACoolUsername Wed 21-Oct-15 13:51:45

Had an offer accepted on a property in May. Still no entry date agreed, although 3 proposed dates are ancient history now.

My (extremely efficient and knowledgeable) solicitor has had to push the selling agent every step of the way (for example, at one point it took 6 weeks for him to produce required documents), and this along with a number of other issues has caused our family a lot of stress and additional costs. Throughout this long and tedious process, my solicitor has had to explain to the other party what needs to be done next and why - and to continually prompt them to do these things otherwise nothing gets done. Obviously this has had an impact on the fees charged by my solicitor, and the transaction has been far from straightforward for a number of reasons.

Recently we asked the selling solicitor for contribution to (not complete payment of) our now substantial fees. This is not taking into account other various costs we have incurred as a direct result of his incompetence lack of efficiency. His response was to offer half the amount, claiming the fees were too high hmm despite the fact that within the same email he acknowledged that my solicitor was better informed than him and that they had completed work he should have done himself!

What should I do? I've now incurred legal fees which will still need paid if I withdraw my offer, and there's nothing on the market to compare to this property. AIBU to think that if my legal fees are exorbitant as a direct result of the selling solicitor's apathy/incompetence then they should be picking up the bill? I'm more than willing to pay my own fees for the normal elements of the transaction btw.

wowfudge Wed 21-Oct-15 14:06:15

Try to negotiate up from the 50% offered by an amount you find acceptable? But what lever do you have, unless it was put in writing that your solicitor had done work they should have done? I would always get a fixed fee agreed for the work - paying an hourly rate is a sure fire way to end up with a bigger than anticipated.

RueDesTroisFreres Wed 21-Oct-15 14:08:59

No experience, but imo YANBU. I would have asked other solicitor to contribute more than you wanted so he could negotiate you down to what you feel is reasonable. I would not take his/her offer to reimburse 1/2 as a final position. Go back to them with a more formal stronger version of what you've said here.
Personally I wouldn't pull out of the sale because of it (may have misread but looks like you're considering?). In the grand scheme of things, considering the price of the house, the length of the process so far, and the loveliness of the property, it may be worth swallowing a few fees that you shouldn't have incurred?
This should surely not prevent you buying the house, if the worst came to the worst you could pursue the other solicitor in the small claims court maybe?

WishICouldThinkOfACoolUsername Wed 21-Oct-15 14:18:18

wowfudge I did have a fixed conveyancing fee agreed. Unfortunately when my solicitor started processing the transaction a number of non-typical issues came to light (trying not to out myself here by detailing them) at which point my solicitor came back to me and said that the additional work would be over and above the standard fee. To be fair, given the level of work involved I completely understand this, and it is the root cause of my complaint against the selling solicitor - a good deal of the non-typical work he must should have known about prior to marketing the property but then sold it on the basis of wanting a quick completion - which would never have been possible given the issues.

Rue you read correctly that I'm considering withdrawing - my (already extended) mortgage offer is about to expire so if I have to go through the application process again there is no guarantee I would continue with this property - I definitely would be reducing my offer as I offered well above MV to secure a quick transaction (oh the irony). I'm wondering about small claims and if anyone has any experience of this. We initially had asked for fees plus my (extensive) other out of pocket costs - so in fact he's offered around 25% of what I was looking for.

wasonthelist Wed 21-Oct-15 14:22:28

I think there are some actual lawyers on here. Last time I commented I got called a "Muggle" and "armchair lawyer" (it is true I am not a lawyer) so I defer to them on what you can expect. As an ordinary punter I thknk YANBU but as with most things legal, there will probably be a jargon-laden "explanation" of why muggles aren't entitled to any sort of sensible treatment.

WishICouldThinkOfACoolUsername Wed 21-Oct-15 14:35:44

wasonthelist so true - apparently I have NO legal right to complain about the performance of the selling solicitor. Even though I can prove he has been the direct cause of several thousands of my money going to a different solicitor!

TwinkleCrinkle Wed 21-Oct-15 14:46:23

I would imagine all you can do is get on the phone and harass the estate agent (they will not want to lose the commission)
Maybe see if you can renegotiate the price of the house a bit to reflect the costs incurred do to their solicitor?
Or pull out of the sale... If the sellers don't seem to care about actually selling (which may be why they are allowing their solicitor to get away with shoddy slow work) this may be the best option.

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