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calling all lawyers and revenge experts please.....

(3 Posts)
Mousie Sun 30-Sep-07 20:50:32

Ok, will try and make this brief. My parents put their house on the market more than six months ago. Their near neighbours leapt at the opportunity and offered them a lowish offer, but promised a no-hassle sales process. He is an eminent figure in the community, pots of cash, huge house (they wanted my parents' house for an elderly relative) should have been no hassle...My parents had already put down a non refundable deposit on a city flat and needed to sell their house first ( a mistake in retrospect, of course).

anyway, things did not go smoothly, loads of hiccups along the way - estate agents blaming their incompetent lawyer. every week my parents offered the neighbours a chance to pull out. every week the neighbours came up witha new excuse as to their incompetence circa mortgages etc... my parents kept wanting to put it back on the market and these neighbours kept dropping round promising they were honourable (we have this in writing, text and email) and would in no way let them down. that they understood my parents financial situation etc..

anyway, a few days ago they admitted they weren't going to buy the house, leaving my parents less than two weeks to raise a bridging loan or say goodbye to 50 grand.

my father is a wreck, he is so broken. he can't belive he trusted these people so implicity or that anyone could do this having said verbally and in writing that they were going to definitely buy the house. he feels he has let his whole family down, he feels a fool and he is now seriously financially compromised - a retired man who has worked in social sector. so not big pensions or savings.

neighbours haven't even written an explanatory letter or dropped round - both of which they told the estate agents they would do. they are now parking their car in a different place!

any ideas? I know revenge is best served cold. they are pillars of the community (doubly astonishing they can do this). Also given our written evidence is there any possible legal case on breach of promise/ or some such thing??
any advice really welcome, though in the end I fear this has just been unlucky and shit happens when you sell houses... but I want to help and support them. they are refusing all their friends offers of cash help, my father is proud and won't take charity.

sorry this has gone on....

flowerybeanbag Sun 30-Sep-07 21:14:45

Mouise what a nightmare, your poor poor parents.

Have had a brief chat with my DH who is a solicitor. Your parents have obviously suffered a loss, but the problem is establishing a legal cause of action. Put very simply, you would either have to prove that there was a contract, or you would have to show that there was a representation which was made either fraudulently or negligently, and which has resulted in the loss. The statement that they intended to buy the house is a representation, and obviously you could easily prove the loss your parents have suffered, but the difficulty would be proving the representation was made fraudulently or negligently.

An example of fraudulent would be a deliberate lie. So if they never had any intention of buying it that might be fraudulent. But if that was the case how could you prove it - and also difficult to imagine why they'd do that.

An example of negligent would be a statement made where they didn't know when making it whether it was true or false. As in, they weren't sure whether they were going to buy it or not. That might well be the case, but it would be extremely difficult to prove. And even if you could prove it, DH says there is some potentially unhelpful case law which could make it even harder.

TBH (this is me speaking now) it sounds as though they are just a bit rubbish, initially intended to buy the house (can't think of any reason they'd do this if they never intended to), and then ended up in a bit of a mess and let your parents down by not being straight with them sooner once it became clear they no longer were able/wanted to buy the house.

You're right to say revenge is tempting, but bad mouthing these people might make it worse for your parents, particularly if these people are respected members of the community. Making public actual facts would be fine though, although again not necessarily in your parents' interests.

As far as other revenge goes, I am going to bow out here but I am sure lots of people will have suggestions!

Mousie Sun 30-Sep-07 21:21:11

thank you, that was very sane and supportive! i agree with all you had to say. i suspect they are having marital problems and he didn't want to add to his assets.... Also their lawyer was totally totally crap - we thought i was her fault for ages but not feel they must have been in cahoots. all very unfair and i feel so bad for my folks. they were so hoping to downsize and have a more comfortable retirememnt adn now the opposite is the case - and obviously the property market is less fun to be a seller in now...

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