Sale of house taken 8 months, do I have any recourse against my solicitor for losses?

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    Sale of house taken 8 months, do I have any recourse against my solicitor for losses?

    Hi

    Grateful for any advice on my situation. A series of events has resulted in the sale of my house being considerably delayed. I would place the vast majority of the blame for this delay on my conveyance team. We instructed the solicitors end of November 20 after accepting an offer. We were expecting to exchange in February 21, and as our new house was already purchased we moved out.

    In mid February, the estate agent advised that the buyer's solicitor had raised a number of queries, main being a restriction/charge on the property which was in my parent's favour as they had lent me money towards the property. This was paid back and my mother (father passed away) had no objection to any such charge being removed. Our solicitor only advised us of this in March. We were then advised by our solicitor that my mother needed to appointed her own solicitor and have this removed through an ID1 Form and RX3 form. We were then advised in April that this was the wrong form and she required an RX4 form.

    After submitting the correct form, we were advised the matter was now with the Land Registry. I waited a few weeks accepting the solicitor's reason, but then contacted the Land Registry directly who advised me that they were waiting on my solicitor to respond to queries. This process just dragged on, only for my buyer's mortgage offer to expire, and for him to re-apply.

    In the mean time, I have incurred mortgage interest for a further five months, council tax, standing charges on utility bills. I feel I have been let down, and my transaction has taken considerably longer than it should have done. Whilst the buyer's solicitors were not the quickest of the mark, I would be keen to understand if I have any recourse. The most annoying thing is that my house has probably gone up by another £40k in value in the interim period as similar properties have sold for much higher, I intended to invest this money in to a Buy to Let, but prices have just gone up significantly. Not sure if this is something which can be used as part of any claim.


    #2
    If price had been dropping and they did a really quick job would you pay them extra ?
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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      #3
      So it is service which hasn't been provided with due care. Consumer act and a small claims - but I would start from logging a complaint against you solicitor

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        #4
        Covid has meant delays in almost every sector, lock downs and staff shortages too.
        That's what the solicitors will say and it could well be true.

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          #5
          Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
          If price had been dropping and they did a really quick job would you pay them extra ?
          Not sure what you are getting at, we agreed a contract for them to conclude the sale of my house, failure to undertake the service with due care which has resulted in increased cost to me as a client. There is opportunity cost being lost as this has taken circa 4/5 months longer than it should have done in which we have seen an exceptional increase in property values.

          May be if I was the buyer who wanted to finish before the stamp duty deadline, I would have offered whatever legal incentive I could to get it over the line...

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            #6
            Originally posted by Anna1985 View Post
            So it is service which hasn't been provided with due care. Consumer act and a small claims - but I would start from logging a complaint against you solicitor
            Thank you. I have already made the solicitor aware of my dissatisfaction and they have used the whole stamp duty deadline as their excuse. I would have accepted this if it was a month or may be a two month delay but this has taken considerably longer.

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              #7
              I would just suggest to get an understanding of your losses and cap them under 10k so it would go to small claims, but do be aware that you are going against solicitors... and follow the correct process

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                #8
                I could be wrong but if you were on a fixed fee for the sale, that could be why the solicitors may have been dragging their feet. When I was selling a Commercial Property I was being charged £200 an hour Plus Vat, There were many trivial questions that the buyers solicitor asked which had to be replied to, If yours was on a fixed fee they would prioritise work they could charge an hourly fee for.
                You also mentioned that your solicitor had to be in touch with the Land Registry. With the property I sold my title was defective as the boundaries of what I was selling had been wrongly submitted to the Land Registry by a Conveyancing Clerk who worked for my solicitor. It took ages for the Land Registry to correct the boundary details. Also I believe that when solicitors go on holiday or self isolate they dont hand the work over to anyone else and you have to wait until they return. Good luck in taking them to court.

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