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Their Solicitor f***** up(80 Posts)
Long story short. We're selling our flat.
Accepted first offer over three months ago and provided everything requested by buyer's Solicitor. For some reason, in these times, everything takes ages however, once Buyer was eventually able to book, Survey and valuation sailed through and we were meant to exchange and complete this coming Friday. Last Friday, Buyer's Solicitor realises they should have raised a point in the lease to mortgage provider and everything gone tits up till provider happy to continue to endorse mortgage terms. Buyer will be homeless next week and we've lost money (Hair, aged considerably) a lot of wasted time, and potentially our next house. We don't want to re-market and am sticking with potential buyer for the moment because not their fault.
My question is, does any MNers have any advice to get some compensation from their Solicitor's for the fuck up?
There is no question of lack of transparency on our part, they've had all documentation requested for over three months and have repeatedly assured everything required from us had been received - we have email trail with our Solicitor plus any other evidence one could think of.
It literally is a case of lazy, shoddy conveyancing practice; I assume senior partner reviewed paperwork and pointed out to junior Solicitor "you ticked no there but isn't it yes?"
So fucked off.
P.s asked both Solicitors about when exchange date was and they both came back happy with that practice - I've never heard of exchange and completion being on same date.
It’s quite common for exchange and completion to be on the same date at the moment.
I exchanged & completed on same day with my last property, so it is pretty standard practice - although lots of hanging about & the possibility that it may not happen last minute I suppose
We have exchanged and completed on the same day (twenty odd years ago).
We exchanged and completed same day 5 years ago
Thank above posters re confirmation exchange and completion same day practice however, I'm really asking for help on Buyer's Solicitor fuck up - for both parties sake!
I guess your Solicitor would be the best place to ask? Or search the money saving expert site?
Until exchange the buyer can withdraw at anytime solicitor fuck up or not. So you have no recourse.
You can’t necessarily get compensation from the solicitors as you are not their client, however you could ask the buyer somehow and then the buyer could raise with their solicitor that they should reimburse them for this. Slightly tricky however as if you, for example , raised the purchase price a little this might cause problems with the buyers mortgage. Probably best to speak to your solicitor
To add - for compensation you have to have lost something. You have not because there is no guarantee until exchange the buyer will actually buy.
Similar happened us earlier this year. Our buyers solicitors changed at the last minute due to a requirement from their lender to only use a certain set of solicitors they’d pre-approved. Honestly, property conveyance attracts some lawyers with the shoddiest attention to detail.
We researched if we were entitled to anything for their mess but couldn’t find anything. Best we could manage was to communicate with our vendor of our new house and all the estate agents who were thankfully able to smooth things over.
Thank all above posters for responses. I really feel for the buyers - they're gutted and for are having to shell out for expensive temporary accommodation because will be homeless next week.
Completely understand nothing confirmed until exchange however not the buyer that has pulled out - their solicitor has literally not fulfilled their end of the deal and reviewed what is (these days) a bog standard lease!
doesnt matter they can take as long as they like you cant do much about it
their client can raise an issue with them but still nothings signed on your end so no compensation
To reiterate - Buyer and us have literally been fucked over by their Solicitor.
We can stay put however, lost loads of money (clarified down post) but Buyer is buggered and having to move into temporary, expensive accommodation! As I keep saying, Buyer hasn't withdrawn offer (would be easy for us, just put back on market) — Solicitor has fucked up!
We feel sorry for Buyers so sticking with them, for the moment.
We have mountains of correspondence between Buyers' Solicitors and ours saying nothing outstanding before this went tits up at literally, last minute. Their Solicitors have had all requested leasehold documenation plus we completed all their forms (with proof of service charge / ground rent details / promise to sign over first born child) etc. over three months ago); complete transparency - nothing to hide here!
Their Solicitor confirmed exchange and completion would be on same day - which I thought was a bit WTF but have now been assured by PP's now normal practice.
Suddenly, panicked email exchanges emanated from their Solicitors to ours saying 'fuck up'! But don't ask your Clients to move their removal to storage date [3 days time], I'm sure everything will be fine! <nervous chuckle>.
I will make a complaint to the Law Society but don't expect any recompense however, still can't help feeling sorry for our prospective Buyers - I think very new to lazy, conveyancing Solicitors.
I repeat: Buyer's Solicitor fucked up; we're OK (because can stay in our flat) however, have lost money; a "pack and move to storage" was booked because we were nice enough to commit to chucking stuff in storage and moving to teeny flat so not to invoke chain for our first time Buyer.
We have already shelled out on Surveyor fees, valuation etc on next place - we don't know if Sellers will stick with us - they've been appraised of current situation.
To reiterate for umpteenth time, our Buyer hasn't pulled our - Solicitor failed to correctly inform their Mortgage provider of lease detail - think something pathetic like 999 years as opposed to 981 years but mortgage provider has to rechurn application.
You havent lost your sale yet though. As it is your buyers solicitor then they would have to seek compensation for their loss (there must be some Law Society ombudsman type thing). I dont think you can do anything until the deal is well and truly lost, but check out theadvisory.co.uk - they have all the steps about making a complaint about a conveyancer/solicitor.
@Pipandmum Thank you for advice and will investigate!!
We've lost money (removal and storage etc.), most likely next house, may have to re market plus been incredibly stressful. Also, the sellers of next proposed place are a bit discombobulated; we were prepared to chuck everything into storage and move into teeny interim flat to ensure no chain - on either side.
Really feel for the buyers though; everything signed - supposedly in stone and Solicitor giggles "oops, I think I've done a whoopsie!"
I complained about a solicitor (nothing to do with property) who had a shocking attention to detail. It nearly cost me 5k, if I hadn't been on top of the figures myself. She insisted she was right until I forwarded her own email to herself with the correct figures.
I wrote and complained (there were other issues too). Got nowhere so went to the ombudsman who got them to offer £200. It felt like I'd spent more time checking her work than she did actually doing it!
Anyway my point is you're unlikely to get anywhere with a complaint. They close ranks pretty quickly, plus the fact they can just bat you away as you're not even their client. I do think your buyer should complain though, although I doubt the solicitors will pay their temp accommodation!
I don’t think you really have any recourse here at all. The buyers could complain (first port of call should be to the firm following the complaints procedure). You don’t have a binding contract with the buyer though because you haven’t exchanged so you have no losses.
You have suffered no loss (yet)!
Not your solicitors!
And if you do want to complain about someone else’s solicitor, you go First through their complaints process and then goes to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (not the Law Society)
I don’t think you have any recourse here, I thought it was quite normal for exchange/completion date to be pushed back, it’s happened with both properties I’ve bought. There is no commitment or guarantee of sale as you haven’t exchanged yet so I can’t see how you could be compensated. Just bad luck.
I can't see you having any recourse here
I would be furious too: it sounds like basic fact checking went amiss and that's really bad at this late stage. However, it sounds like you're panicking unnecessarily and projecting worse-case scenario about losing ££££s and losing your house and having to re-market. The buyer's mortgage provider will most likely give an immediate okay - it doesn't sound like the error is going to cause them to withdraw their mortgage offer, hence why of course your buyer hasn't pulled out.
By all means complain, but also don't be surprised if it's resolved really quickly.
@Aridane is correct in terms of the complaints procedure.
In this case, you have no standing to complain as you are not the solicitor’s client. Your buyer could complain and may get some money off, but you won’t unless your buyer agrees to compensate you (which is unlikely).
It is very hard (and often expensive) to prove negligence. The SRA are not particularly solicitor friendly (although the previous body responsible - the Law Society was quite friendly) and no solicitor wants an investigation by it. However, in your case they are unlikely to be that interested for a variety of reasons - you’re not their client, it’s not anything serious like fraud, it’s fairly minor in terms of things they will look at etc... I have personally dealt with serious fraud cases where it was hard to get the relevant authorities to act.
In addition, whilst the service might not have been great - this is not negligence as the “issue” was picked up before the solicitors client was committed to proceed. You have complained in your OP about how lazy, incompetent etc this solicitor is, but has that genuinely been the case throughout or has he/she missed one detail (in a number of things to check) but discovered it at the end (and in time from his/her clients perspective) ? People are only human and while I do understand how upsetting this is, I’d suggest you try to relax. House buying is very stressful.
You are selling your house and until you have exchanged contracts, the transaction is still at risk. To act otherwise is quite foolish (sorry).
Whilst with domestic conveyancing it is historically more common to have a week between exchange and completion, it is not always the case. This week was to allow the mortgage company to process the Buyer’s solicitors final confirmation everything was ok, known as the certificate of title (as they often act for the mortgage company as well) and transfer completion monies (which used to take up to 5 days). It also had the advantage of allowing you a period of time to confirm movers etc knowing you were contractually bound to proceed.
The risk with exchange and completion being on the same day is that you don’t have this week, so are committing to movers etc... without the benefit of a contract being at place. Everything is therefore at risk. Until you have exchanged contracts, nothing is certain and anyone can withdraw or delay at any time for any reason.
Simultaneous exchange and completion is more common in commercial transactions. For domestic conveyancing, it adds speed (which is the advantage) but there is the added risk of arranging to move without the benefit of a contract being in place (downside).
I personally think the problem with domestic conveyancing is the race to the bottom in terms of fees. It’s probably the most expensive purchase you’re going to make, and yet everyone resents paying the solicitor for their service. The low fees demanded for this type of work (particularly when compared to what you pay the estate agents who do very little in comparison) mean it is not viable for qualified solicitors to do the work. It is therefore generally carried out by unqualified paralegals and conveyancers using a computerised case management system, who will only have their work checked by someone qualified at the last stage when it comes to submitting the certificate of title, as that is the bit where the solicitor’s have to commit to confirming everything is fine to proceed. It’s no wonder it has one of the highest complaints / number of insurance claims than any other area of law. (By the way I’m not slagging off conveyancers - many work very hard and are knowledgable, but many are also young law students/paralegals in call centre type set ups).
I get you’re angry, but I’d suggest there’s a couple of things to learn here:
1. Until you’ve exchanged a sale can always fall through or be delayed. Act accordingly and look after yourself - don’t commit to costs until you have exchanged.
2. If you want a better service, pay for it. It will cost more than £350 though !
@sparklfairy - I was sorry to hear about your frustrating experience. It does sound like they closed ranks.
Thanks all, for further advice.
@Aridane; I thought let's see where this goes and then approach the Senior Partner. Obviously, I don't expect to get any personal compensation but I am well pissed off! Mostly on Buyer's behalf!
My OH is wonderful and does all household Admin however, he gets more stressed than I do! He's a bit older than me too.
Obviously, this crap has kept me up last couple of nights so I'm in spare bedroom!
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