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Any Conveyancing solicitors - help please!

(8 Posts)
Nelly000 Tue 07-May-13 21:27:47

Hi - can anyone offer any advice on a nightmare we're having trying to buy a house please? Firstly, apologies for the length of this - I'm getting to the end of my tether and would very much appreciate any advice anyone can give.

13 weeks ago, we put in an offer on a house. This property is currently empty.

When we put the offer in, we were in the fortunate position of being able, with a bit of juggling, to buy it before we sold ours. We therefore asked the seller whether he would rather have a lower offer but a chain free, quick sale or wait for us to sell ours and we'd offer the asking price. He opted for a quick sale, we offered £10k under the asking and settled on £8k under the asking (he'd already dropped the price £10k the week before, so we got it for £18k less than it had been originally marketed for. Bargain!)

We got all our mortgage in place, had surveys done no problem - all within 6 weeks. The searches threw up a couple of questions which we posed 7 weeks ago today. All of the questions bar two have been answered. The outstanding ones are around a tree preservation order (we simply need to know which tree/trees) and around his ability to complete on the sale.

The second question has been asked by our solicitor as he has concerns in this respect - I have been told there are 'charges' on the property and a 'restriction in title' which I don't begin to understand. What I do know is our solicitor has asked for a personal assurance from their solicitor that the seller will be able to complete. This was asked for on 19th March and has still not been received, despite our solicitor chasing and the seller's estate agent chasing.

5 weeks ago, we sold our house to a cash buyer, assuring him we were due to exchange on the new house imminently (which we were). Our buyers are very keen on a quick process.

I am becoming increasingly concerned that the sale of our house is at risk due to the unreal delays on the one we're buying. I'm starting to get very stressed that we will lose the sale on this house, or have to rent - neither of which we want to do. We really don't want to pull out of the one we're buying for a number of reasons.

I have two questions.

Are there any 'magic words', short of threatening to pull out that will make the seller/seller's solicitor put some focus on answering this question for us (or at least tell us if he can't complete)? Requests for updates have so far basically gone ignored.

One way forward, we thought, would be to rent the new house to bridge the gap between selling ours and buying theirs. One problem with this I guess would be the legal responsibilities of a landlord, i.e. getting the gas boiler serviced for example. I don't care about this (we won't have it when we buy) but is there a way to 'waiver' this?

Thanks so much if anyone got this far, and for any help anyone can give.

pjp51 Thu 09-May-13 22:02:46

I am a Licensed Conveyancer (Specialist Property Lawyer) with over 40 years experience and I work for a long established firm of solicitors.

I am afraid there is no easy or right or wrong answer to your problem.

In my experience to give an ultimatum to the seller to exchnage by a certain date will receive one of two reactions.:
1. It will push the seller into making a decision to exchange and solve your problem so you will have a completion date
2. It will antagonise the seller, he will "take his ball home" and the whole thing will fall through.
Realistically you can only use this tactic once as if you try to threaten it again you may not be believed and the seller will call your bluff.

You have mentioned you consider you are getting a really good deal on the purchase. Would you consider offering , say, a further £5000 if he will exchange within , say, a week?

Should you be able to agree to rent the property the landlord/seller has certain statutory obligations which cannot be waived. These are under Section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 which states:

Repairing obligations in short leases..

(1)In a lease to which this section applies (as to which, see sections 13 and 14) there is implied a covenant by the lessor— .
(a)to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes), .
(b)to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity), and .
(c)to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.

Have the agents been chasing the seller's solicitors or the seller? If they are not getting a response from the solicitors they should advise the seller himself

Of course it is a possibliity the seller is waiting to see if he receives a higher offer. You need to bring the matter to a head once and for all but you have to be prepared for the worst I am afraid

Nelly000 Fri 10-May-13 13:26:09

Thank you very much - I really appreciate you taking the time to answer.

We think we are starting to move forward after a phone call from our solicitor to theirs stressing how unhappy we were with the delay. They are starting to be more forthcoming and we have told them we want answers by early next week (but have made no mention of what will happen after that).

Thanks again for the reply.

Xenia Fri 10-May-13 13:40:50

If something is very urgent it can be done. We exchanged in 7 days on this house (and paid the lawyers about 6x the normal cost and it was worth it). However what is this charge? Is there a mortgage on the property which is higher in value than the property's value which therefore on sale the man cannot clear? That is a major issue if that is so.

The restriction - can you perhaps type here exactly what you were told it was?

mistlethrush Fri 10-May-13 13:45:30

The TPO you should be able to get info from the Council about - you might even be able to search for it yourself on their website. (Don't know about charges)

RedHelenB Fri 10-May-13 13:46:10

If there is a charge on the property they may need to get permission from them as to whether they can sell which could cause a hold up.

TripleRock Fri 10-May-13 13:57:37

I'm a LC too. My hunch is the seller is in debt and his lawyers are either struggling to get repayment figures and/or there is a negative equity situation.

The charges will be a mortgage and/or secured loans. The restriction(s) maybe unpaid unsecured credit or possibly 3rd party involvement or presence of a trust. Presumably your lawyer has given you a copy of the Land Registry Official Copies. If you PM me the wording of the restriction I might be able to shed further light.

Either way I wouldn't agree to rent prior to purchase until you know if he's in a position to proceed.

If there are numerous charges and restrictions it can be a bit of a job to track down repayment figures and the necessary undertakings to remove. There's only a certain amount the sellers solicitor can disclose to your lawyer, so that might be why they're coming across as cagey.

Hope it gets sorted.

Xenia Fri 10-May-13 14:24:27

Look at other houses too and find another one to rent for 6 months but probably not this one as it sounds as if the seller is in difficulties. Normally the seller's solicitor (and the conveyancers on the thread can put me right if I am wrong) acts for the lender and the seller.

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