Property Solicitors in the UK | HB 121 Solicitors

Property Solicitors in the UK explains what happens when things go wrong in a Residential Property Transaction?

Whatever conveyancing solicitors in the UK do there are things that can go wrong on completion through no fault of their own. Banks may not follow their instructions, lenders can not send money through on time (and if a money laundering suspicion has arisen they can’t divulge this), people can be ill or removal lorries break down etc, etc.

This article is about the law in England and Wales and not in Scotland where many people think the conveyancing system is better but when I have been involved in transactions with Scottish properties either above or below in the chain if things go wrong they can do so in a spectacular way.

This article assumes contracts have been exchanged with a fixed completion date. If they haven’t then probably there is no contractual relationship and one party does not owe a duty to the other. Sometimes then the only thing to do is walk away and cut your losses - but at least there are no penalties. This is why many people are not exchanging through the pandemic so at least they are not penalised if things go wrong or are delayed.

Clauses in standard contracts anticipate things going wrong. Everyone hopes they don’t, and don’t for a second think property solicitors in the UK relish when this happens. Hours can be wasted on the phone trying to make things happen, finding out what has happened and explaining why things haven’t. In these days where ringing a bank, for instance, can take an hour to get through to someone and the branches are open for reduced hours no one welcomes such problems. Often with an amount of goodwill and cooperation inconvenience can be kept to a minimum but this does not always happen.

Sogive mean example?

Delays - these can be short (a few days) or long term. How they are dealt with are different. Short term delays are not necessarily a fundamental breach of contract as time is almost always “not of the essence “ at this stage. If the Buyer is a day or a few days late then normally interest is payable and if the Seller has incurred any losses owing to thedelay then these can be claimed too. If the Seller delays things (usually by moving out late) then if the Buyer has incurred any losses these can be claimed.

If the delay is longer time can be made of the essence by the person who is ready, willing and able serving a Notice to Complete which sets the date once and for all. Some solicitors serve one as soon as the delay occurs but others think this is this is a little unnecessary and even a little dangerous (because as soon as it is served a date is set that might not always suit the serving party). The Notice to Complete usually sets the date as being 10 days after service. Compensation is due as above aswell.

So what happens if completion does not take place after a Notice to Compete?

This thankfully happens rarely but it can occur. If the Buyer cannot complete at the expiry of a Notice to Complete then the contract may be rescinded and the Seller can retain the deposit (if less than 10% then the balance should already have been paid) and depending on the figures may be liable for more compensation. And it gets worse - if the Seller sells again for less then he may be able to claim the difference. If the Seller is unable to complete (less usual) then the Buyer is entitled to be compensated too.

What else can go wrong?

Lots of things!

Contracts can also be rescinded where there has been misrepresentation (an untrue statement of fact) and cab be fraudulent, misdescription ( for instance where there has been in an error in the sales particulars), non disclosure (where the Seller has kept quiet about something that should have been disclosed) or some other breach of contract.

These are quite complicated areas of law resulting in different types of remedy and very much depend on circumstances. They are also, thankfully, quite rare. They are also often verging on litigation (and often become it quite quickly if not at the start) and as with all things litigious a risk-benefit analysis needs carrying out (ie – is it worth it).

If you need help or advice on such areas – where you feel you have lost out as a result of another party to a Conveyancing Transaction been let down then contact [***********************}

We at HB 121 Solicitors can assist you. For further information or to talk to a speak to one of our Solicitors please contact us on 01562 702655 or on e-mail at

At HB 121 Solicitors, we have a team of experienced

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