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Solicitors fees when deal falls through

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  • Solicitors fees when deal falls through

    Hello, this question refers to the law in England, as I am selling my house in England. My buyer today (via the estate agent) has informed me that they are not proceeding with the purchase. My question is, do I still have to pay the solicitor? I realise that a lot depends on 'what is written in the contract', but frankly I don't understand the contract. The estate agent told me that it is a no sale no fee sale, which , as anyone selling a house can probably testify is a bit redundant as there are always 'fees' when selling a house.
    Is there a law (or established accepted practise) in the uk that stipulates that an estate agent (who is the sole agent) can not charge if the house is not sold? The agreement that I signed gave the estate agent 1 year to sell the house and I wasn't allowed to use any other estate agents simultaneously (find this a bit strange to be honest)

    The solicitor was 'recommended' by the estate agent. If I continue to keep my house on the market with this estate agent (and with the same solicitor) for the duration of the contract that I signed with the estate agent, can the solicitor demand money for the work he has done, at this stage? He has done the 'usual' preliminairies such as the land registry charge. I would add that the house was never 'sold subject to contract', it was listed as 'under offer' which suprised me as I had accepted the offer. Does this last element change anything. I really don't want to pay the solicitor at this stage, as I feel I have been messed around and 2 weeks before ' the completion date' the estate agent has cancelled the deal, as the buyers have found another house.

    Last edited by Anonymouse; 17-07-2012, 09:53 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Solicitors fees when deal falls through

    Usually estate agents don't charge if the deal doesn't go ahead - but you really have to look at their detailed terms and conditions because nobody can tell you for sure unless they read them.

    As to solicitors they should have sent you their Client Care Letter or terms and Conditions which should have set out whether or not you would have to pay for work done on an abortive matter. Normally you would do so - why not? If you got an electrician in to rewire your house then if he put a couple of new sockets in and you decided not to proceed further would you expect him not to charge you for the work he had done?

    Now if the estate agents told you that the solicitors were "no sale no fee" and the solicitor ended up charging you in accordance with their terms and conditions, which presumably you accepted, then your beef is with the agents not the solicitors.

    If you never had the terms and condtions from the solicitors then possibly you might have a case not to pay, if you could say that you never gave the solicitor instructions to do any work for you.

    Distinctions between "under offer" and "sold subject to contract" are nothing to do with anything - effectively they mean the same thing.
    RICHARD WEBSTERwww.rwco.co.uk
    As a conveyancing solicitor I want to be helpful (England/Wales only) but can't accept liability for this.


    • #3
      Re: Solicitors fees when deal falls through

      I have recently agreed a price on a new property & were given solicitors quotes from the estate agents local solicitors plus I had obtained a quote from a Law Broker recommended by a friend. My stipulation was that I wanted a no sale no fee solicitor, the local solicitors could not offer me this but the Law Broker did, this was because the Law broker listened to what I wanted & found me the solicitors firm which fitted my requirements, however even the Law Broker pointed out that the although the solicitor would not charge for there work if the sale does not go ahead, any disbursements paid such as local search is not refundable. I quite understand this. I probably will go ahead with the Law Broker but have requested one more quote.