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Is our solicitor being obstructive or is it the vendors?

(35 Posts)
Unicorncatsack Wed 24-Feb-16 15:46:17

Trying to exchange on leasehold flat (we currently rent) and feeling frustrated as it should have really been done by now but bitty little issues keep coming up. Our solicitor is good (I think) and picks up on everything but vendors' solicitor keep implying she is being obstructive. Examples:

1) vendors made an alteration to the flat they didn't get the freeholders consent for. Our solicitor says they need to get retrospective permission. They say they don't.
2) our solicitor says a deed of variation needs to be sorted regarding an extension of the lease. Their solicitor has asked the freeholder about this who has said it's not needed. Our solicitor disagrees and says it is.
3) buildings insurance: only the renewal quote was provided and not the actual policy.
4) up to date office copy entries not provided. Vendors solicitor saying they are not needed. Our solicitor saying she can't recommend mortgage company lend without them.

How normal is this quibbling between solicitors? I know she is acting in our best interests and I'm grateful but the whole thing is very stressful!!

specialsubject Wed 24-Feb-16 17:40:37

not a great expert but it sounds like you've got a good solicitor. Her job is to stop you coming back on here after exchange/completion and saying 'I've got big leasehold problems/no insurance.'

a quote is not insurance, why won't they give you a copy of the policy?

vendor's solicitor may be a hair-flicker who wants to minimise the work on a flat fee.

Toomuchtea Wed 24-Feb-16 17:46:22

I would quibble on all the things your solicitor is too - and if they're not sorted out, you can bet that when you come to sell your buyer's solicitor will and they'll become an issue then.

Unicorncatsack Wed 24-Feb-16 17:49:41

Im happy to quibble, just don't understand why the vendors are bothering. They're in a worse position than we are as they are buying, whereas we could quite easily walk away really.

Their solicitor is a personal friend of theirs.

lorelei9 Wed 24-Feb-16 17:51:17

Not an expert but your solicitor should be chasing all these things so it's the vendor not getting paperwork in order

Not sure what you mean by office copies?

It is awkward, I remember my queries were considered nit picking by the vendor but if they hadn't agreed to provide full information I'd have walked away.

Thelwell Wed 24-Feb-16 17:52:05

Yep....your solicitor is doing her job. These are all basic issues that should be dealt with prior to exchange. Good work!

Unicorncatsack Wed 24-Feb-16 17:54:08

Thank you everyone, I was fairly sure she was on the ball from what I've seen (she also always gets back to us immediately when I chase her). You have reassured me.

Just annoying as I'd hoped to have exchanged by now. We only have til end April at our current place and can't extend our tenancy.

FruStefanOla Wed 24-Feb-16 18:10:30

I'm no expert either but, like special, it sounds as though your solicitor is totally on the ball and the other side's solicitor sounds as though they're not following up on the, quite legitimate, questions which need dealing with accurately.

FruStefanOla Wed 24-Feb-16 18:13:22

Sorry. X-posted. I started my post a bit earlier but was interrupted for a while.

FruStefanOla Wed 24-Feb-16 18:15:21

"Not sure what you mean by office copies?"

I think this relates to Office Copies - official Land Registry documents.

MyKingdomForBrie Wed 24-Feb-16 18:17:06

Office copies are the title, completely basic document which is most definitely needed!!

Postchildrenpregranny Wed 24-Feb-16 18:20:36

Both my DCs in process of buying property and we've had the same problem with the 'other sides' solicitors .
The whole process is proving tortuous and I am losing faith in solicitors .'Ours'are very thorough but not as proactive in chasing as we would like and absolutely useless at keeping us informed .Should be grateful they are thorough I suppose .

Unicorncatsack Wed 24-Feb-16 18:37:28

Yes sorry that is what office copies are!

Mine is not brilliant at keeping us informed actually, she just gets on with it behind the scenes. But if I ask for updates I get them immediately. And the estate agent is quite good at prodding the vendors solicitor though obviously I know he works in their interest not ours.

I think I have false expectations - my boss has just offered, exchanged and completed in 8 weeks! We offered at end November. Not too long I guess but it certainly feels like it.

thecherryontop Wed 24-Feb-16 20:09:28

It sounds like a lot of the queries raised by your solicitor could be answered from the management pack from the management company... Could they chase this up for you? -I know from experience it can take a while for the management company to generate it...

Unicorncatsack Wed 24-Feb-16 20:38:08

I don't think there is a management company, it's just a single freeholder. It's only a small Victorian conversion rather than a purpose built block IYSWIM.

eurochick Wed 24-Feb-16 20:48:05

The solicitor's job is to make sure your interests are protected. The vendors and their solicitor do not care about your interests.

Mitfordhons Wed 24-Feb-16 23:00:50

If it's holding things up the other side could offer you an indemnity for the missing permission.

hydrangea78 Wed 24-Feb-16 23:38:17

Our vendors won't even take out indemnities for alterations done without planning and building regs. They know we're unlikely to walk away from the property so they always have the upper hand. Feels very one sided.

Paddletonio Thu 25-Feb-16 00:09:13

The problem is your vendor's solicitor.

You absolutely 100% need the office copies, that is utterly basic and they should have been provided straight away at the start. Your solicitor cannot report to you on the property without them. However, they are downloadable from the land registry so if the seller's solicitors are really being obstructive just get your solicitor to download them. It will be £12 for the title and plans of the both leasehold and freehold titles I.e. £3 per document.

What is the remaining term of the lease? If the freeholder is not being cooperative regarding extension this would be a big red flag. Or is the issue that the leasehold owner of your flat has not bothered to approach the freeholder? I believe you have to own the flat for 2 years before you get the right to extend so if you don't want to wait years the current owner would need to extend it, or get an agreement to do so and assign that right to you. The longer you leave it to extend the more expensive it will eventually be to rectify, and a short lease will cause you problems selling on. If under 80 or so years left you will also struggle to get a mortgage.

Lack of consent for alterations - I would sort this with an indemnity policy

(I'm a lawyer but not a resi conveyancer so might not be 100% on all of the details of the above, but that's the gist!)

Paddletonio Thu 25-Feb-16 00:10:48

Hydrangea have you offered to split the cost with them? Should be their cost but I'd be tempted to split or pay it to move things along

hydrangea78 Thu 25-Feb-16 05:07:21

Paddle, no we haven't offered. I'm being a bit stubborn about it. They've done the alterations and not got the correct paperwork so I feel it's their responsibility... but if they continue to refuse I guess we have no choice. Sigh.

TheCrowFromBelow Thu 25-Feb-16 05:50:11

Leasehold property can be complex. how long is left on the lease? As pp mentioned you need to have owned the leasehold for 2 years and have 81+ years left to extend for a nominal fee. After this it involves a surveyor, lots of solicitors and IME £££.
We had an absentee freeholder and ended up forking out for indemnities and variations just to sell.
Don't forget your solicitor also works for the mortgage company, and they are very hot on things being watertight now. This wasn't the case when we bought, solicitors used to "take a view" for example under the terms of our leasehold neither the freeholder nor the leaseholders were responsible for the foundations shock but our solicitor didn't pick up on this being an issue. when we came to sell every solicitor did.

Unicorncatsack Thu 25-Feb-16 07:27:55

There are 180 years left on the lease so that is fine, I think the issue is when the lease was extended some clauses were missed out in the new version so our solicitor is trying to get that rectified.

We'll happily pay for indemnity insurance if they won't do it, our solicitor thinks the better option is retrospective permission from the freeholder though.

Unicorncatsack Thu 25-Feb-16 10:12:26

Latest from today: vendors' solicitor is getting shirty re: seeking retrospective permission from the freeholders regarding the alterations that were made to the flat. Our solicitor is adamant we need either retrospective permission or indemnity insurance. They are refusing to provide either. They won't even let our solicitor get in touch with the freeholder directly to get retrospective permission. We'll pay for the sodding indemnity insurance ourselves if we must but the whole thing is getting a bit ridiculous.

There's also a defect on the lease which the freeholder is arguing doesn't need correcting. The vendors solicitor says therefore if we want it rectifiying we should pay for it. Our solicitor says this is absolutely not our responsibility.

I don't really understand why their solicitor is being such a PITA as surely he is going to encounter the same issues with any decent buyers' solicitor, even if we pulled out.

lorelei9 Thu 25-Feb-16 10:42:17

oh dear
now I know what office copies are, I'm really alarmed that they haven't provided them....

also this latest development rings major warning bells - did you want to be dealing with this freeholder in future?

I hope it gets sorted. Are you in London? Do you think the freeholder might be imagining that a BTL landlord who doesn't care about the detail would buy if you pulled out?

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