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    • navrav
    • By navrav 30th Nov 17, 11:49 AM
    • 9Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Purchased property not owned by vendor..
    • #1
    • 30th Nov 17, 11:49 AM
    Purchased property not owned by vendor.. 30th Nov 17 at 11:49 AM
    I discovered 4 days ago that the title to my property was still held by the previous owner - despite us purchasing it over 4 years ago. No mention of this has been made by my solicitors and I haven't heard from them since the completion.

    I know this happens so I wasn't unduly worried at that stage. However I then did some checking with the land registry and It turns out the property we thought we were buying comprises of two bits of land - and the second bit of land was unregistered land and not owned by the vendor at the time it was sold to us.

    It appears that the land registry therefore rejected the transfer and several months after completion the vendor registered the land in his name.

    Apparently the application for transfer was again made after this by my solicitors and that application was again rejected.

    I tried to ask my solicitor what was going on , why was the application rejected, what is my legal position regarding ownership - (as I understand it would be held in trust - except for the fact the vendor cant hold it in trust for us if he didn't own it.)

    and received replies of:

    I cant give you the information - it is at a different office.

    followed by two days later 'I have neither the time or resources to deal with this'

    When I said I was going to make a formal complaint, they said that doing so would mean they file would be locked for 8 weeks while they investigated and no progress could be made on the case until after the 8 week period and furthermore I could not have any information during this period.

    So I have opted for an informal complaint at the moment just to find out what the problem is and have asked for copies of the communication between them and the land registry and between them and the vendors solicitor.

    3 days later still no word - Any suggestions what the position might be and how best to proceed?

    Edit: I should mention the house was on a bit of the land he did have title to - the land he didn't have title to comprises the garden including septic tank and garden office.
    Last edited by navrav; 30-11-2017 at 11:53 AM. Reason: Adding missing detail
Page 2
    • phillw
    • By phillw 30th Nov 17, 5:45 PM
    • 1,257 Posts
    • 812 Thanks
    Apparently the application for transfer was again made after this by my solicitors and that application was again rejected.
    Originally posted by navrav
    If they didn't do this then it sounds like a serious breach of their duties and if they haven't been able to resolve this in 4 years, they aren't going to prioritise sorting it out.

    In fact they seem to be going on holiday.

    I wouldn't trust them to sort the problem out, I'd ask they release the file immediately and take it to another solicitors and deliver a letter informing them you will be instructing your new solicitor to bill for any work required due to their negligence & then report them to the SRA anyway.

    You might not be able to bill them for all the work, because it sounds like it would have cost you extra to deal with a dodgy vendor. I'd be seeking some costs from the vendor.
    Last edited by phillw; 30-11-2017 at 5:48 PM.
    • navrav
    • By navrav 1st Dec 17, 10:40 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Hi TBagpus - we have decided to do exactly what you are suggesting.

    We are seeing another solicitor on Monday to ask them to take over the case and help us word the official complaint.

    What our current solicitor has told us about raising a complaint is:

    'If I log your email as a formal complaint at this stage this will entail me immediately calling for your file to carry out a review thereof and I am allowed 8 weeks in which to deal with the matter. However as "The" Post Completion Team will be unable to access your file whilst it is in my possession undergoing review this will inevitably cause a delay in in conclusion of any outstanding post completion formalities'

    'as I am on vacation from the 1-22 December I would estimate that it would be 5-6 weeks before I have the opportunity to carry out my file review ..and I am allowed 8 weeks in which to deal with the matter. '

    After raising an informal complaint as they suggested, we have had no information from them - other than from the solicitor who dealt with the conveyancing saying 'I have not got the time or resource to get involved.'

    The fact that neither pieces of land have been registered in our name surprises me - as you say I would have thought that the part of the one he did own at least would have been transferred. I suspect the underlying issue is that my solicitors did not check the land registry themselves and relied on the paperwork from the vendors solicitor - the origin of which its is dubious at best as the title number on the document doesn't match the plan on it.

    I suspect we need the file to word the complaint as to be honest we really can't tell what they have/haven't done without seeing it. All the information I have had is through talks with the land registry who I have to say have been very impressive with helping me with my enquiries.
    • Elle Woods
    • By Elle Woods 1st Dec 17, 12:06 PM
    • 19 Posts
    • 17 Thanks
    Elle Woods
    The legal ombudsmen is the SRA.
    Originally posted by aneary
    Just a quick point, the Legal Ombudsman is not the SRA. The SRA is the solicitors' regulator/professional body, and the Legal Ombudsman is the body that deals with service complaints from clients of lots of different regulated legal service providers (e.g. both solicitors and barristers). The OP is right that after the internal complaint they should make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman, which will then refer any matters it thinks amount to a breach of the SRA Code of Conduct on to the SRA.

    From the SRA website:

    "The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints about poor service. Poor service includes failures to keep you properly informed about your legal matter. The SRA deals with failures to comply with professional obligations such as a duty to keep your affairs confidential or duty to act honestly and with integrity. Some failures to comply with professional obligations can also amount to poor service. The Legal Ombudsman's website will help identify how you can best receive help. If you report poor service to the Legal Ombudsman and they consider it amounts to a failure to comply with professional obligations they will also pass the matter to the SRA for us to consider. The Legal Ombudsman may direct a firm or individual pay you compensation for poor service. The SRA cannot award compensation to you. Our powers are regulatory and include taking action against the firm or individual concerned such as helping them to comply with their obligations or, where the issue is serious, controlling the way they work in the future." (apologies as a newbie I can't post proper links)

    Good luck OP for your meeting on Monday with the new solicitor.
    Last edited by Elle Woods; 01-12-2017 at 12:16 PM. Reason: To make my post clearer!
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