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Retainer held by solicitor for potential upcoming works

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  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,266
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    It's a messy way of doing things, especially for something which is merely "potential". Retentions tend to get forgotten about and solicitors don't like holding funds for years after the transaction is otherwise done and dusted.
  • boots_babe
    boots_babe Posts: 3,222
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    When we bought our current house, we agreed the seller would give a £15k retainer to cover replacement of a non compliant septic tank.

    We got 3 quotes, agreed on one with the vendor,  then added some contingency on in case extra works were found to be needed once they started digging.

    The £15k was paid by vendor to our solicitor,  who held the funds until the works were completed (several months after the sale completed) and invoices provided. Solicitor then released the funds to us, and then sent what was left from the contingency back to the vendor.

    The agreement was of course properly documented via the solicitor,  and there was a time limit agreed for how long the funds could be held before being returned if works  ot complete. 

    It was all very easy to setup and deal with.


  • eddddy
    eddddy Posts: 16,109
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    There's nothing to stop you doing that - if the buyer agrees and your solicitor is happy to do it. (The solicitor might charge an extra fee.)

    Maybe an alternative is to negotiate a compromise like £2.5k off the selling price. But if the buyer is buying with a mortgage, that will mean they need their mortgage offer amended - which might add a bit of delay.



    (But I'm intrigued by the concept of a building having a 50% chance of needing a major repair in the next 3 years, and a 50% chance of not needing that repair!)

  • eddddy
    eddddy Posts: 16,109
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    edited 16 January at 2:03PM


    TBH, if I was the buyer, I'd look at it like this... (Hopefully your buyer isn't reading this!)

    I'm buying a flat with a roof that's in poor condition, with a limited life.

    Maybe it can be patched up a few times, before it's eventually replaced - or maybe it's deteriorated beyond that and will have to be replaced soon.

    So either I'm going to have a few small bills followed by a big bill, or a big bill sooner rather than later. I think I'd be looking for a discount on the price, in that case. And/or I might instruct a surveyor to look at the roof to give me an opinion on remaining life and likely costs.


    I'd be less keen on a deal like this: "If a big bill comes in within 3 years, I get a £5k contribution. If a big bill comes in at 3 years and 1 day, or later - I get nothing."


    But your buyers might have a different outlook from me.




    Edit to add

    If you don't want to give any discount, maybe you could hire a surveyor yourself to report on the roof - to show the buyers. Maybe the surveyor would support your view that it will only need a few patch repairs in the medium term.


  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,266
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    You have to draw the line somewhere with predicting future works, every property is going to need maintenance at some point. Unless it's literally ongoing in some way, I would really recommend just accounting for it in the price.
  • Thanks, this is all very useful. Am going to delete my posts now but this has all been so helpful!
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,266
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    edited 6 February at 1:59PM
    Thanks, this is all very useful. Am going to delete my posts now but this has all been so helpful!
    It's very unhelpful to everybody else if you delete your posts, that's not how the forum works.
  • Sorry I appreciate that, but the info was very outing if my buyers were on here. Apologies.
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