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  • FIRST POST
    • glider3560
    • By glider3560 12th Sep 17, 9:30 PM
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    glider3560
    Solicitor wrongly apportioned service charge and ground rent
    • #1
    • 12th Sep 17, 9:30 PM
    Solicitor wrongly apportioned service charge and ground rent 12th Sep 17 at 9:30 PM
    Recently completed on a leasehold flat and had a bill from the management company for service charge and ground rent for the remainder of the year.

    These figures are all rounded in this post to make calculation easier:
    • Combined Service Charge + Ground Rent = £1200 per annum (1st Jan to 31st Dec)
    • Seller paid £500 to date this year
    • Sale completed on 31st August
    • Bill from management company for £700
    All seems simple. But, before completion, my solicitor requested I pay £400 (1st Sep to 31st Dec). This was sent to the seller's solicitor with the completion funds. They were supposed to be acting in my interestes, so I assumed this was correct without querying it further.



    According to my calculations, the seller actually owed me £300 for the underpaid ground rent and service charge. Therefore, they now owe me £700 (£400 + £300).


    Has anyone been in a similar situation? I spoke to my solicitor (several times) who are doing their best to ignore me and suggest my file is at the bottom of the pile. Should I be pursuing the solicitor for professional negligence?

Page 1
    • ThePants999
    • By ThePants999 12th Sep 17, 9:45 PM
    • 863 Posts
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    ThePants999
    • #2
    • 12th Sep 17, 9:45 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Sep 17, 9:45 PM
    If they ignore you then by all means make a complaint.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 12th Sep 17, 9:48 PM
    • 41,916 Posts
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    G_M
    • #3
    • 12th Sep 17, 9:48 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Sep 17, 9:48 PM
    Have you written to your solicitor requesting a breakdown and explanation?

    Have you looked up your solicitor's complaints procedure?
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 12th Sep 17, 9:50 PM
    • 1,881 Posts
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    Red-Squirrel
    • #4
    • 12th Sep 17, 9:50 PM
    • #4
    • 12th Sep 17, 9:50 PM
    Why was the £400 sent to the seller's solicitor? What did they do with it?
    • glider3560
    • By glider3560 13th Sep 17, 7:13 AM
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    glider3560
    • #5
    • 13th Sep 17, 7:13 AM
    • #5
    • 13th Sep 17, 7:13 AM
    Why was the £400 sent to the seller's solicitor? What did they do with it?
    Originally posted by Red-Squirrel
    Presumably onto their client. There seemed to be an understanding that the seller paid the management charge up to the end of the year, which is incorrect.

    Have you written to your solicitor requesting a breakdown and explanation?

    Have you looked up your solicitor's complaints procedure?
    Originally posted by G_M
    I have emailed a complaint to the senior partner, as detailed in their complaints procedure. This is not the first time I had to do this, unfortunately. In each case, he has simply just passed the case to someone else.

    The solicitor is part of the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme. I may contact them for further advice.

    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 13th Sep 17, 8:20 AM
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    eddddy
    • #6
    • 13th Sep 17, 8:20 AM
    • #6
    • 13th Sep 17, 8:20 AM
    What does your completion statement say?

    It sounds like you're saying...
    • Your solicitor assumed that the full year's service charge of £1200 had already been paid by the seller.
    • In fact, only £500 of the service charge had been paid.

    I wouldn't automatically assume that this is negligence by your solicitor.

    - It could have resulted from incorrect information from the seller's solicitor, based on incorrect information from the seller.

    - Or an error by the management company. The full £1200 has been paid, but they haven't credited the more recent £700 payment to the correct account. (This has happened to me.)

    - In fact, it seems unlikely that your solicitor would accidentally send £700 too much , and the seller's solicitor wouldn't notice.


    Alongside your investigations via the solicitor, maybe phone the management company to double-check that the £700 hasn't been received.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 13th Sep 17, 11:17 AM
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    G_M
    • #7
    • 13th Sep 17, 11:17 AM
    • #7
    • 13th Sep 17, 11:17 AM
    I have emailed a complaint to the senior partner, as detailed in their complaints procedure. This is not the first time I had to do this, unfortunately. In each case, he has simply just passed the case to someone else.

    The solicitor is part of the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme. I may contact them for further advice.
    Originally posted by glider3560
    If you have followed the firm's complaints procedure and got no satisfaction, the next step is here:

    http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page
    • kingstreet
    • By kingstreet 13th Sep 17, 11:46 AM
    • 32,212 Posts
    • 17,252 Thanks
    kingstreet
    • #8
    • 13th Sep 17, 11:46 AM
    • #8
    • 13th Sep 17, 11:46 AM
    Are the charges definitely calendar yearly?
    I am a mortgage broker. You should note that this site doesn't check my status as a Mortgage Adviser, so you need to take my word for it. This signature is here as I follow MSE's Mortgage Adviser Code of Conduct. Any posts on here are for information and discussion purposes only and shouldn't be seen as financial advice. Please do not send PMs asking for one-to-one-advice, or representation.
    • glider3560
    • By glider3560 13th Sep 17, 12:57 PM
    • 3,320 Posts
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    glider3560
    • #9
    • 13th Sep 17, 12:57 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Sep 17, 12:57 PM
    What does your completion statement say?

    It sounds like you're saying...
    • Your solicitor assumed that the full year's service charge of £1200 had already been paid by the seller.
    • In fact, only £500 of the service charge had been paid.
    Originally posted by eddddy
    That's correct. I've confirmed it with the management company too, who again sent be an up to date statement. I'm giving the solicitor a few days, then I will escalate further. In the meantime, I've also had to clear the arrears with the management company, to stop them taking any action.

    • glider3560
    • By glider3560 13th Sep 17, 12:57 PM
    • 3,320 Posts
    • 2,043 Thanks
    glider3560
    Are the charges definitely calendar yearly?
    Originally posted by kingstreet
    Yes, the statement shows the period they cover. Management company also confirmed separately that the account is in arrears.

    • G_M
    • By G_M 13th Sep 17, 1:10 PM
    • 41,916 Posts
    • 48,508 Thanks
    G_M
    Yes, the statement shows the period they cover. Management company also confirmed separately that the account is in arrears.
    Originally posted by glider3560
    Its worth double-checking by reading your lease. Management companies do sometimes make mistakes........
    • glider3560
    • By glider3560 13th Sep 17, 1:14 PM
    • 3,320 Posts
    • 2,043 Thanks
    glider3560
    Its worth double-checking by reading your lease. Management companies do sometimes make mistakes........
    Originally posted by G_M
    They have this correct.

    The sheepishness of my solicitor suggests a mistake has been made.

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