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Legal Advice Please (re: house buyin/sellin)

edited January 2012 in Not Sports Related
As I may have mentioned previously we are sellin Chateau March and moving to a smaller establishment. We eventually found a buyer and we found a place to suit our needs. The due processes have taken some time but at last contracts were to be exchaned today or Monday. Last night our estate agent rang to say that our vendor's deal had collapsed and she couldn't move into the property she was buyin. This came as a shock for two reasons:

1. We understood she was to rent a property owned by her employer and it was available as and when.
2. In the Property Information Form she confirmed that the sale was not dependent on her buyin another property, that she had no special requirements about a moving dare, and that she agreed to leave the property prior to completion.

Our buyer's mortae offer expires on the 1st. February and we don't want to lose them, so it looks like we'll have to rent for a while, with our stuff being stored, t
'til either this person eventually moves or we find another place.

The bottom line is: can we claim any financial recompense from the vendor for not informing us of the situation and for giving mis-leadin information. (This mornin our solicitor is 'unavailable!!). Any advice would be gratefully received: Mrs. M is pretty cut up about it all. Cheers & thanks.


  • I very much hope that a solicitor posts to tell me that I am wrong but my understanding is that unfortunately until exchange of contracts has taken place you have no rights.

    Until the point of exchange legally you are still negotiating i believe.
  • Thanks Len, I must admit I have a feeling that might be the case.
  • I think it is the case - property contracts are one of a small number of contracts that have to made in writing and formally signed off to be legal. Therefore it they aren't signed then there is no legal contract.
  • I'm afraid, I believe Len is correct.
    Up until exchange anybody can pull out, sorry
  • Nobody can give you any legal advice on the basis of only a small amount if information other than "maybe".

    Almost certainly you can't force her to exchange contracts. Howver, it may be that if she deliberately misled you on the PIF and that information caused you losses, then you could claim against her for those losses. What your chances are and whether it would be worth it or not is hard to say.

    Your conveyancing solicitor may not or may not have any real knowledge of this (they generally just do conveyancing).
  • Len is right. We are currently in a precarious position too. Was meant to move before Xmas but a useless solicitor has been holding things up. Transpires that a property in the middle when the owner thought they owned 50% of the freehold they may now hold 100% or the previous owner may still hold 50%. Investigations continue. However the couple at the bottom of the chain are in rented accomodation and gave notice on their lease to quit on 31st January. They are now threatening to pull out and resign a lease extension. Added to this our buyers mortgage offer expires 1st February. Complete fookin mess. Wouldn't mind but in a chain of 7 six of the solicitors were ready to exchange so as to complete and move on 16th DECEMBER. One guy is being a complete tool and now it threatens the whole thing. Solicitors are fookin useless. March51 I really feel for you mate but at least your sale can go ahead and you move into rented accomodation. An added expense I know but not a complete disaster.
  • edited January 2012
    Does misrepresentation apply before a contract becomes effective which, in the case of property, is exchange?

    I thought it applied as a device to void and obtain compensation for contracts actually entered into under, effectively, false pretences but I'm not a lawyer.
  • Len, yes I think you are right. This is more like a tort of deceit...teach me to dabble outside my speciality!

    Anyway, I wouldn't ecouirage anyone to litigate unless there's a decent sum of money involved, they are sure the other side is able to pay it and they have a very good chance of success. Too often people go to court for understandable emotional reasons but it ends up costing them a fortune in time and money.
  • Misrep wouldn't apply here I'm afraid. You're pretty much spot on with that description Len

    Afraid that if you haven't exchanged the contracts then nothing is binding. The contracts act as the validation of the deal, and up until they are exchanged the buyer has the right to pull out unfortunately
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  • There is a 'verbal' contract, but the Vendor can say that she will rent and then pull out for another reason that it would be difficult to chase her for. It would be almost impossible to prove that a change of heart was anything else.
  • Thanks all. Looks like we'll be spending the week-end flat hunting!

    Very sorry to hear of your problems, Large: sounds a complicated situation. What is it about property that brings on such pains?
  • about the only thing we should adopt from the Scots, house buying is so much easier there.
  • My horrors in dealing with the last house move I made lead me to believe that "all's fair in love, war and house buying" - I could not believe what people will do to each-other when buying or selling property. And the incompetence of (as was then) the building society - we eventually got all our costs paid for a failed move due to them withdrawing a mortgage offer literally at the last moment.
  • Housebuying system in this country is absolutely appalling. The amount of work, time and cost that is incurred before anything becomes in any way legally binding is incredible. When we bought last year I was becoming physically ill with the stress of it prior to exchange of contracts.
  • tort of deceit
    Is this lying about the number of cakes that you've eaten?
  • March 51, I have a nice little flat in Blackheath up for sale.....£185K...a mile and half from the Mecca of football
  • Thanks SCM, that'll suit me fine. Now can you find a comfy bijou residence for Mrs. M, preferably down Sussex way?
  • March51, I have just exchanged contracts on my house and am moving into rented for the very reason I didn't want something like that to happen.

    My house was on the market for a year and a half before we finally accepted the offer from our buyer who was herself in rented accommodation having sold her property.

    It is costing me an additional £4,200 to rent for 6 months, less the mortgage I will have cashed in, namely £3,000, plus the cost of moving house say £1,500. Net additional cost therefore of £2,700.

    Set against this, I should be in a cracking negotiating position in a strong buyers market. Around here (Norfolk) property prices are flat at best and falling at worst. So ultimately I may end up being in a marginally better overall position to purchase a house of choice in six months time than I would now. Put a different way, I may get more bang for my buck. Either way, I did need to move for financial reasons and reduce my borrowings. I couldn't afford to lose my buyer.

    What hacked me off were the absolute a*seholes of Letting Agents that I had to deal with.

    I offered to pay the whole six months rent in advance, plus a security deposit of one to two months, yet all of them wanted credit references, and some wanted guarantors or employment references. Why? I am taking away the initial risk by paying all the rental upfront. They are in a better position than they could possibly be by relying upon credit and other references, yet every single one wanted them regardless.

    The challenge was that I needed a property in the current school catchment area, I didn't want to commit to renting anywhere until I had exchanged contracts, and I didn't want to exchange contracts until I had a cast iron rental agreement in place. In the end I negotiated a last minute agreement with one agent that I knew personally who persuaded the Landlord to agree to skip all the checks and a exchange window via my solicitor of 5 hours so that I could sign the lease knowing that exchange could go ahead. Still bloody stressful. We move out on 30th January.

    I wish you best of luck in getting this all wrapped up.

  • we have that problem too. Our vendor is moving into rental but won't sign until we exchange and then wants two weeks so that credit checks etc can be carried out. Meanwhile those at the bottom are moving out of their rental property on 31st Jan and will pull out if we have not completed by then. Something is going to give very soon. Can see it all going tits up. Very stressful indeed.
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  • Thanks for the warning over Letting Agents, Bing. We're hoping our estate agent, who's been pretty good so far, may be able to help us out on the rental front. Fortunately no kids/schools have to be worried about. Sounds like Large is worse off than us though: getting problems from all sides!!
  • legal advice will cost you a few g's and you do seem rather short of them ;-)
  • Very good Salad!
  • edited January 2012
    Damn remlins in the works!!
  • We tried to get a short term rental for the next month or so as we sold our place out of the blue and are supposed to be out 2 weeks today. Couldn't find anywhere so moving in with family as didnt want to sign a 6 month lease. Most people chose to rent dont they these days to keep out of being in a chain but it is extra hassle.
  • Yes B, it's more hassle you don't need. Kid's places are too small, especially as they've had to take back all the stuff they had stored at our place. I think they'll fit their mum in but could be the hostel and soup kitchen for old dad.
  • I hear you March. I'm storing loads of stuff at my dads so that will save a fortune. Last year we got a quote for that storage place in Charlton. Eyes watered at the price of it.

    It's a flipping load of hassle the lot of it. Still fingers crossed for everyone.
  • March51
    try and get hold of todays Metro, there's an article in there about `gazanging', apparently it's rife at the moment. The average loss to the buyer is £5000.
  • Large, I was told to get the credit checks done early then when exchange is imminent, you will have already been "pre-approved", then it really is a case of paperwork which can be done in matter of minutes and signed.

    Assuming your vendor thinks they are going to get a green light, then the only issue for them starting it early is having to out the vetting costs before exchange without any guarantee its going to go through. What about if you offer to pay half their vetting fee upfront (usually half of £200) and if the deal goes through, you adjust the price you are paying them down by £100? That way you are both on the hook until the sale goes through and then they will have to pay all the vetting fee as you would normally expect but the sale goes through without any hinderence with you doing all you can to facilitate exchange and them doing everything to get the rental property sorted out?

    Just a thought?
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