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Seller not paying for items left in property

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  • Seller not paying for items left in property

    Hi! I wonder if anyone could offer some advice about where we stand legally where our buyer refuses to pay for items not included in the sale of our flat.

    We sold our flat to a man buying it for his daughter. The day before we exchanged contracts he called me directly and said that they would pull out unless we included some of our furniture in the sale. We did so, but I drew the line at including my washing machine as it was nearly new, and so we agreed a price of £150 for this. Given the fact that he was going away for six weeks right after the exchange there was no time for the documentation to include the washing machine, and so there was nothing in writing about this.

    Before the completion I asked the buyer to give the estate agent a cheque when he collected the keys (which is exactly what our vendors had asked of us as they sold us their fridge). His reaction was to threaten to pull put unless we let him inspect the flat on the completion date. He went as far as instructing his solicitor not to proceed with the completion until he was satisfied that we had left everything that we had said we would.

    We were advised by our solicitor to agree to this, and the completion went through, but our buyer did not give the estate agent a cheque and since then we have (surprise surprise) been chasing him and his daughter for payment. When I called him and instead spoke to his daughter she explained that the only reason we had not received the money for our washing machine was because her dad was 'waiting for our address' and he then went away for six weeks. On his supposed return three months after the completion I called him to enquire how he intended to settle the matter, but he has not responded, and I sent a letter to his daughter asking her to pay us or return the washing machine, as my understanding is that in these circumstances it remains our property. This too received no response.

    Sorry this is so long-winded but my query is where do I legally stand in all this? We treated our buyer and his daughter with total goodwill and gave them every benefit of the doubt, but I feel that in return we were conned into leaving our washing machine in the flat and they appear to have had no intention of ever paying for it. If this is a civil matter then I may have to let it go and put it down to experience, but I wonder if their actions amount to an offence under the Theft Act that could be pursued through a report to the police? Can I simply turn up and demand my property back, if it comes to it?

    Thanks for any advice!

  • #2
    Re: Seller not paying for items left in property

    If you have no documentation to say they were going to buy your washing machine for £150, I doubt there is much you can do about it as it is a civil matter. Pursuing them through the courts is likely to cost you more than £150 and you might not be successful.

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    • #3
      Re: Seller not paying for items left in property

      You should have got your solicitors to collect the money from the buyer's solicitors and told the buyer to give his solicitors the money.

      Not worth faffing around over £150 if nothing in writing and no practical way of making sure you got paid.
      RICHARD WEBSTERwww.rwco.co.uk
      As a conveyancing solicitor I want to be helpful (England/Wales only) but can't accept liability for this.

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      • #4
        Re: Seller not paying for items left in property

        Thanks for your responses. I'll just have to chalk this one up to experience and hope that when they sell their buyer is as unreasonable and unpleasant as they are!

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        • #5
          Re: Seller not paying for items left in property

          Originally posted by Paul123 View Post
          Thanks for your responses. I'll just have to chalk this one up to experience and hope that when they sell their buyer is as unreasonable and unpleasant as they are!
          Yes chalk it upto experience and move on, bitterness will do more to upset your psyche than that of your buyer!

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          • #6
            Re: Seller not paying for items left in property

            You could take the matter to the small claims court, which wouldn't be expensive. However, as above, without anything in writing and and the stress this would cause, unfortunately better to move on.

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            • #7
              Re: Seller not paying for items left in property

              Taking the buyer to the small claims court is likely to be a waste of time as there is no documentation to back up vendor's claim over an inexpensive washing machine.

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