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  • FIRST POST
    • tiny_jackal
    • By tiny_jackal 6th Aug 18, 5:21 PM
    • 27Posts
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    tiny_jackal
    Vendor solicitor won't answer the last remaining enquiries
    • #1
    • 6th Aug 18, 5:21 PM
    Vendor solicitor won't answer the last remaining enquiries 6th Aug 18 at 5:21 PM
    Hi All,

    I've been in the process of buying a probate flat since February (!!). The vendor solicitor seems extremely slow in answering the enquiries. We are down now to two enquiries left from about ten initially raised.
    They are not very complex issues: one is a certificate of compliance, the other a retention my solicitor is asking as we couldn't have very precise details about major works that have been dragging since last years.
    My mortgage offer expires in exactly four weeks and since the rates have been raised there's no point in asking for an extension.

    I call my own solicitor and the estate agent every day. I just get excuses and new excuses. They chase the vendor solicitor themselves, but the vendor's solicitor just say each time they don't have the answers yet. I am becoming really depressed: I wanted to take a few months off work but clearly I can't afford to do that whilst my house dealings are still in the air. I don't know what to do anymore: I really like the flat but someone in this endless chain of actors is taking me for a ride. I would pick up the phone and just SCREAM but to whom?

    Is there anything I can do as a last resort before I walk away?

    TJ
Page 1
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 6th Aug 18, 5:30 PM
    • 3,799 Posts
    • 3,337 Thanks
    Hoploz
    • #2
    • 6th Aug 18, 5:30 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Aug 18, 5:30 PM
    As it is a probate sale it's likely that the seller simply doesn't have the answers. They may be desperately trying to find whatever info it is, but in cases like this sometimes a buyer has to take a view and decide for themselves whether to instruct their solicitor to go ahead without the info requested. That is if the lender is willing to go ahead without. If you can't proceed without then it could be you're unable to proceed with the purchase unless you can find a lender who will go ahead without answers to these enquiries.
    • tiny_jackal
    • By tiny_jackal 6th Aug 18, 5:51 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    tiny_jackal
    • #3
    • 6th Aug 18, 5:51 PM
    • #3
    • 6th Aug 18, 5:51 PM
    Thank you for your kind answer. Of the two enquiries, unfortunately, one (the certificate of compliance) it's non-negotiable. It's also the simplest one to answer, in theory. As for the other one, it's a yes/no answer that the seller should be able to supply (even if it's only a no).

    I am really at a loss about what to do to force them to answer. It seems all so negligent unless for some reason the vendor doesn't really want to sell.
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 6th Aug 18, 5:56 PM
    • 3,799 Posts
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    Hoploz
    • #4
    • 6th Aug 18, 5:56 PM
    • #4
    • 6th Aug 18, 5:56 PM
    Perhaps you could give more detail on what is missing?

    Maybe an indemnity policy might satisfy the lender?
    • tiny_jackal
    • By tiny_jackal 6th Aug 18, 6:15 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    tiny_jackal
    • #5
    • 6th Aug 18, 6:15 PM
    • #5
    • 6th Aug 18, 6:15 PM
    This is off the latest chasing email:

    - Your client has yet to confirm if a 5,000 retention for a period of 12 months will be acceptable for potential major upcoming works. No further information is needed from the management company as they have responded accordingly.
    - Certificate of compliance
    - Notices of Transfer, along with fee, if applicable.


    I am no expert (at all!) but on the face of it, those are not complex enquiries.

    The flat was on the market for a long time before I endeavoured to buy it. Several sales fell through because the probate hadn't been granted. But now it has been granted so this delay is unexplained -- unless really there was no actual will to sell, for whatever unfathomable reason.
    • Owain Moneysaver
    • By Owain Moneysaver 6th Aug 18, 6:27 PM
    • 8,402 Posts
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    Owain Moneysaver
    • #6
    • 6th Aug 18, 6:27 PM
    • #6
    • 6th Aug 18, 6:27 PM
    Your client has yet to confirm if a 5,000 retention for a period of 12 months
    Very unlikely, this is a probate sale and the executor will be wanting to wind up the estate and distribute the assets.

    Certificate of compliance
    For what, when dated?
    A kind word lasts a minute, a skelped erse is sair for a day.
    • tiny_jackal
    • By tiny_jackal 6th Aug 18, 6:55 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    tiny_jackal
    • #7
    • 6th Aug 18, 6:55 PM
    • #7
    • 6th Aug 18, 6:55 PM
    They have already agreed to a retention for a series of unpaid charges, so it's possible they agree to this one as well. To be honest I care little about it, as long as the lender is happy. Given the unofficial background information I have about the estate and the works, I don't think the retention will be ever used.

    The certificate of compliance -- this is the wording of the enquiry:

    There is a restriction in favour of XXX ltd in the register who is the landlord. With reference to 2.6 of the LPE1, YYY (landlord's agent) have provided a vague response regarding the compliance certificate. Please ask ZZZ (landlord's solicitors) if they will deal with the restriction and if yes, provide their specific requirements to issue a certificate of compliance along with their fee.

    This particular enquiry has been outstanding since mid-March. ZZZ has now confirmed they will deal with the restriction but whatever step had to be taken to proceed, has not been taken yet. And this is the one that really I find maddening. Someone is passively-aggressively dragging their feet. Or else I don't know. This is my first purchase and I feel very ignorant and vulnerable.
    • Voyager2002
    • By Voyager2002 6th Aug 18, 9:00 PM
    • 12,277 Posts
    • 8,378 Thanks
    Voyager2002
    • #8
    • 6th Aug 18, 9:00 PM
    • #8
    • 6th Aug 18, 9:00 PM
    Do you have any means to contact the vendor directly? Or the estate agent acting for them?


    You need to make it clear that your offer to purchase expires in four weeks, and at that point you will walk away. No use hassling their solicitor, who will be paid for their work no matter what happens. The EA only gets paid once the property has been sold and so will put pressure on the vendor.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 6th Aug 18, 10:14 PM
    • 18,037 Posts
    • 16,351 Thanks
    AdrianC
    • #9
    • 6th Aug 18, 10:14 PM
    • #9
    • 6th Aug 18, 10:14 PM
    Do you have any means to contact the vendor directly?
    Originally posted by Voyager2002
    • tiny_jackal
    • By tiny_jackal 6th Aug 18, 10:50 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    tiny_jackal
    Unfortunately i have no contact details for the vendor (i wouldn't be above using the Ouija board at this stage tho...) but i can ask the EA tomorrow!
    • tiny_jackal
    • By tiny_jackal 6th Aug 18, 10:58 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    tiny_jackal
    The owner may be gone but there must be a beneficiary around.
    • Thrugelmir
    • By Thrugelmir 6th Aug 18, 11:02 PM
    • 59,545 Posts
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    Thrugelmir
    I am really at a loss about what to do to force them to answer.
    Originally posted by tiny_jackal
    Assume that the executors of the estate know nothing. Having been in the this situation myself I know how difficult it is to answer some of the enquiries. However straightforward they may seem.
    Financial disasters happen when the last person who can remember what went wrong last time has left the building.
    • Mrs Imp
    • By Mrs Imp 7th Aug 18, 7:03 AM
    • 969 Posts
    • 1,578 Thanks
    Mrs Imp
    Is the certificate of compliance something that your solicitor can find out for you? When I bought a flat the vendor didn't supply the necessary planning permission. After a couple of months my solicitor gave up asking him and just did his own research to find it from the council. Yes it cost me a little extra, but it meant that the sale could proceed.
    • diggingdude
    • By diggingdude 7th Aug 18, 7:10 AM
    • 365 Posts
    • 444 Thanks
    diggingdude
    Have you reminded everyone that your mortgage is about to expire and you won't be seeking to extend it etc without a damn good reason for the delays
    House Deposit - Target 20000 April 2019
    Current Savings - 10225 13121.22 14621.22 16021 17296
    • Hoploz
    • By Hoploz 7th Aug 18, 9:15 AM
    • 3,799 Posts
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    Hoploz
    5000 for upcoming works? That's a lot. What is the estimated full cost to the flat? If this is to cover the full amount for works that have not been done and which the seller would get no benefit from, then there is no reason they should accept this. Why should they pay for work done afte they've sold and which will benefit you?

    And I still don't get what the compliance certificate is for.

    You need to explain to the estate agent that your mortgage is going to expire and cannot be extended (can it BTW?) and therefore you would have to pull out if these items aren't resolved within that time frame.

    However if you aren't bothered then you need to ask your solicitor exactly how you can proceed without the answers, satisfying the lender on the compliance thing some other way eg indemnity. The retention on the upcoming works you may choose to forego or lose the property
    • tiny_jackal
    • By tiny_jackal 17th Aug 18, 11:53 AM
    • 27 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    tiny_jackal
    Hi, thank you Hoploz and all for your kind replies. The current situation is that the retention has (surprisingly) been granted. So it's one obstacle less!
    Unfortunately we are still awaiting the certificate of compliance from the freeholder, and time is really running out.
    The certificate of compliance is, as far as I understand, a certificate saying that the previous lease has been complied with -- e.g. there are no undocumented alterations, for example -- and without it the property cannot be transferred to a new owner.

    We keep chasing everyone but so far, no joy.
    • m0bov
    • By m0bov 17th Aug 18, 12:02 PM
    • 1,353 Posts
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    m0bov
    I have brought and sold leasehold, never had a certificate like that. Can you get indemnity instead?
    • tiny_jackal
    • By tiny_jackal 17th Aug 18, 12:20 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 7 Thanks
    tiny_jackal
    m0bov, I am not sure. I understand that a certificate of compliance is needed only if there's a restriction on the lease. This explains it well (well, I only kind of understand it but I am no expert...): https://www.ehlsolicitors.co.uk/certificate-compliance/

    I would guess that, if there were a workaround, my solicitor would have suggested it by now. They have been pretty good so far all considered. It's not clear who's not pulling their weight here in this endless chain of intermediaries. Someone clearly isn't
    • Tiglet2
    • By Tiglet2 17th Aug 18, 1:01 PM
    • 199 Posts
    • 196 Thanks
    Tiglet2
    Could you ask your solicitor to draft the Certificate of Compliance? They then send it to the seller's solicitor for approval, then you sign it in front of a witness and then it can be submitted to the land registry on completion. There will be a fee for this and your solicitor may also charge you for their work. But if the seller's solicitor has agreed to deal with any requisitions from Land Registry, that should put the ball firmly in their court should land registry not remove the restriction.

    Notices of Transfers are typically done after completion - basically advising the landlord/management company that there is a new owner and a new charge. Your solicitor should do this, though again there might be a fee for the landlord/management company to "receipt" the notice (i.e. stamp it with their official mark).

    Great that they have agreed the retention - it may be for planned works or works which have done but not yet billed for. If the works were done during the owner's occupation then it is right that they pay for it, so that when the bill is produced, you have the funds to pay it. If it is for planned works then it's a win win for you.
    • PassingOutInTheParade
    • By PassingOutInTheParade 17th Aug 18, 1:33 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    PassingOutInTheParade
    Do you have 'hard' proof that the Probate has been granted?
    You can check on the Govt website for 10. This will give you the names and addresses of the executors.

    I ask because my vendor was delaying and delaying, took 4 months for their solicitor to send out the contract pack. Now they are reluctant to answer enquiries.

    Seems they still haven't even applied for Probate yet!
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