Where do we stand?

(16 Posts)
Freezingwinter Fri 28-Oct-16 12:00:31

While our house was still for sale, we had an offer accepted on a house we wanted to buy. A week later we accepted an offer on ours, so the people buying ours had their survey done and just after we instructed our solicitors to do the survey on our house we were buying.

A few weeks went by and we recieved a mysterious phoneccall from the solicitor asking why our buyers had pulled out? We called the buyers (they gave us their number) and said they pulled out over 2 weeks ago and told the estate agents to let us know. Estate agents have no record of this, so essentially we think they asked their solicitors to stop what they were doing but didn't have the good grace to let us know.

The house we wanted has therefore gone back on the market and since been sold to someone else. We've had a letter from our solicitors saying we have to pay 75% of the fees as the sale and purchase has been aborted.

I guess my question is can we do anything? In my eyes the buyers have acted disgracefully! How could they not be bothered to phone the estate agents or drop us a quick text? They'd text us lots of times to ask about carpets, curtains etc. couldn't the solicitors have let us know sooner? We could only just afford to move this time, with fees etc. I can't believe this can be just the way it goes?

Freezingwinter Fri 28-Oct-16 12:04:07

I meant to add that if they'd let us know the day they let their own solicitors know, we wouldn't have had any searches ourselves done, and would have lost no money. It is the fact they didn't tell us that has meant we have been left with the solicitors fee.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Fri 28-Oct-16 12:05:49

Nothing you can do I'm afraid. Any one can pull out for any reason, at any time. Meanwhile you have to pay the costs involved even in an aborted sale or purchase. The system sucks really.

SpotTheDuck Fri 28-Oct-16 12:07:20

You can ask the solicitors to confirm exactly when they were told to stop work, and check that they didn't do any work after that date which they are trying to bill you for. Honestly that's highly unlikely (a solicitor who carried on doing work unnecessarily then tried to charge you would probably be struck off, i.e. Unable to carry on working as a solicitor, so it's not a risk they're likely to take!) but it might put your mind at rest on that issue at least.

But otherwise I'm afraid that is just how it goes. Either the buyers or estate agents have behaved very badly, but that's not the solicitor's fault and it is normal that you still have to pay for their time even if the sale falls through.

I'm assuming you're in England btw, it could be different elsewhere.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Fri 28-Oct-16 12:08:46

It comes down to one persons word against another. Impossible to prove unless someone has logged a call, or kept an email etc

Freezingwinter Fri 28-Oct-16 12:11:06

So I could ask MY solicitors to call THEIR solicitors and ask exactly when they pulled out? If they pulled out two weeks before why didn't their solicitors phone and tell mine right away? Why did it take 2 weeks? confused

SpotTheDuck Fri 28-Oct-16 12:14:29

Their solicitors should certainly have contacted your solicitors straight away as a courtesy, but that still doesn't help you.

The question is just whether or not your solicitor knew the chain had collapsed and then carried on working without telling you. It doesn't sound like you have any reason to think that.

Ultimately your solicitors did the work for you, so it is normal that you would need to pay them. And as a PP said, your buyers are allowed to pull out whenever they want, for no reason, and do not have any obligations (legally) to tell you.

The system is messed up, but there's nothing you can really do here other than pay your solicitor.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Fri 28-Oct-16 12:15:11

Although not exactly professional not to let your solicitor know - assuming thats the case - it's not exactly illegal either.

Freezingwinter Fri 28-Oct-16 12:16:35

No, I trust my solicitor completely. I just can't believe anyone can be so callous? They knew we had a young child. £1000 down the drain. I am gutted and on the verge of tears.

Microwaste Fri 28-Oct-16 12:16:57

Little you can do, I'm afraid, frustrating as it is. We had two abortive purchases before we finally bought, it cost us a fortune and we had nothing to show for it. Gutting, but that's the way it goes.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Fri 28-Oct-16 12:17:34

I.e. Sorry OP but you haven't got a leg to stand on. Only if you can prove that your solicitor was doing unnecessary work in order to bill you.

Freezingwinter Fri 28-Oct-16 12:20:43

Thanks for the replies.

SpotTheDuck Fri 28-Oct-16 12:45:17

It is gutting, I know.

The last place we bought the vendor actually insisted on a £500 non-refundable deposit before he'd take it off the market or give us the legal pack. The £500 then came off the purchase price, but he'd have kept it if we pulled out for any reason, to offset against his costs and to prove we were serious.

It's an unusual step to take and at first we said no, but actually it was around the credit crunch and five people had already pulled out when they lost their jobs/couldn't get mortgages etc so he'd lost a lot of money on abortive legal fees etc.

SpotTheDuck Fri 28-Oct-16 12:48:47

Just something to think about for the next buyer if your finances are tight

JoJoSM2 Fri 28-Oct-16 12:51:30

Idiot buyers with no manners. Or a lying estate agent...

I know it's upsetting... You'll need to for out for the solicitor but some of the stuff can be re-used when your house is under offer again (hopefully).

Good luck flowers

Bigbongos123 Fri 28-Oct-16 12:55:45

Could they offset some of the cost on transferable work to your next purchase?

I'd have a hard time not saying something to your (non) buyers. But unfortunately this is how the system works so you just can't do anything :-(

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