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Developer taking house off the market, then putting back on market for a higher price

Just wondering if anyone else has had this experience and whether this is actually allowed.
We made an offer on a new build in England which was still under construction. Our offer was accepted in March 2022 and we were informed the property would be ready in July.
We had accepted an offer on our house and were in a chain. In order for the chain not to collapse we agreed to sell and move out of our house in May, thinking we had about 6 weeks until we would be moving into our new property.
In june we were told that there was a delay and the property would be ready in August which wasn't a problem.
At the beginning of August we were contacted by the estate agents to inform us the Developer had now taken the house off the market. To say we were upset was an understatement. The developer said he had lost his tradesmen and thus could not give us a completion date. we said we were wiling to wait but he wouldn't accept that and basically indicated it was our fault for the fact we were now  homeless.
Exactly four weeks later the property was back on the market for £55,000 more, with the same estate agents. We also noted that he must have done the same for another of the properties as that was now on the market again. When we were looking for another property in the same area another estate agents told us they knew someone who had the same thing done at the same development in December 2021.
My question is this lawful and if not where do I go in order to take action?
If it is lawful is there anyway of forewarning others about this particular developer so it doesn't happen to them?


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Replies

  • biscan25biscan25 Forumite
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    It's perfectly lawful in England if you have not exchanged contracts.
    Pensions actuary, Runner, Dog parent, Homeowner
  • Surrey_EASurrey_EA Forumite
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    Unfortunately, at any point up until exchange of contracts a seller can withdraw without penalty and re-list for whatever price they like. (I'm assuming that contracts have not been exchanged in this case)

    Whilst it's an incredibly !!!!!! thing to do, it is entirely lawful.
  • user1977user1977 Forumite
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    I can't see any reason why it wouldn't be lawful, assuming you hadn't exchanged contracts? And if you hadn't - why not?

    And if they still don't know when it's actually going to be built, do you really want to get into a contract anyway?
  • theartfullodgertheartfullodger Forumite
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    It's capitalism. Free enterprise:. Not free, not enterprising.
  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
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    As others have said, it's lawful for either party to withdraw up to exzchange of contracts. 

    If you paid a reservation fee you would ned to chack that contract but I wouldbe surprised if they were in breach and suspect that the four week gap covers them - they can probably claim that they withdrew as they could not guarantee a date and had supply difficulties, and i doubt that that could be disproved. 

    Unfortuantely the decision to complete on your sale was your choice - I completely understand that you felt under pressre not to let your chin collapse, but gain, assuming that you had not exchanged contracts on the purchase it's not the developers responsibility.
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • edited 7 September at 5:19PM
    AlderbankAlderbank Forumite
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    edited 7 September at 5:19PM
    In England it is perfectly legal for the seller (and the buyer for that matter) to do whatever they like without penalty until contracts are exchanged.
    In a rising market there is always a risk of gazumping.
    You could stand outside the show house with a placard saying 'We've been gazumped' However it's not illegal and even if you are warned there is not much you can do to protect yourself, also any developer (indeed any seller) could do it, not just this developer.

    Property law in Scotland is different. Gazumping is more difficult here but certainly not impossible.
  • Skiddaw1Skiddaw1 Forumite
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    What a horrid thing to happen OP! It may be legal but it's pretty lowlife. If the developer can stoop to tactics like that you may well have had a lucky escape- I'll bet that whoever finally buys the house will find all sorts of snagging issues that won't get resolved in any sort of timely fashion.

    At least you're in a position to move swiftly when you find another house. Which you will (and there'll come a point when you'll be glad this one fell through). Good luck.
  • pinkshoespinkshoes Forumite
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    On the plus side you are now chain free and ready to exchange and complete quickly.

    Nothing to stop you offering your original amount either.

    What is the market like in your area? Is the new price fair?
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

    No, I am not perfect, but yes I do judge people on their use of basic English language. If you didn't know the above, then learn it! (If English is your second language, then you are forgiven!)
  • edited 7 September at 5:26PM
    Ath_WatAth_Wat Forumite
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    edited 7 September at 5:26PM
    While it's no real help to you, the prospect of this happening is exactly why people would generally be advised not to do this, unless they are moving into rented and happy to stay there as long as it takes to find and buy another house.  Did anyone try and encourage you to do it?
  • aoleksaoleks Forumite
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    It can’t be, I’ve been told my multiple chaps on this forum that prices are plumetting! Are you sure it’s not £55k less?

    Jokes aside, sorry to hear, it’s a horrible situation to be in. NEVER leave your current place before exchanging, I hope you will find something suitable.
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