Has the conveyancer made a mistake

by Readers Question

11:17 AM, 27th March 2015
About 5 years ago

Has the conveyancer made a mistake

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Has the conveyancer made a mistake

I purchased a property nearly 2 years ago as a btl. All has been fine. 9 months ago I had my first service charge bill with arrears from the previous leaseholder.

I queried this (obviously) as it was a large sum of money – and was a bit puzzled as I knew that I had reimbursed some service charge on completion. I took it up with the managing agents who confirmed that this was outstanding and also with the on line conveyancing company who confirmed that there had been a ‘zero balance’.

I put the two parties in touch and left it at that and heard nothing more until the next service charge invoice which again showed this. I went through the same procedure thinking that they would sort it out, but a change of staff at the management company and maternity leave with the conveyancers (is it only me that gets fed up with this) meant that no progress had been made.

I am now really pushing it before I get into trouble with the management who have had 2 more changes of staff and I have had the response from the conveyancer that they had an undertaking from the solicitor acting for the seller that all outstanding charges would be paid. This (acting for vendor) solicitor has now said that he did not make this undertaking and it appears to be an undertaking from the seller and ‘my’ conveyancer has now emailed and told me that it is now a civil matter and they do not deal with this so I will have to find myself a solicitor who will deal with it.

Clearly I am not happy, and have again spoken to them (and emailed them to tell them to provide me with the specific paperwork that either says it is a solicitor’s undertaking or a leaseholders) and they are now treating this as ‘a complaint’.

Clearly they are distancing themselves from this, but it is not my fault so can’t see how I can be liable, my first thought was to the law society, but can the conveyancers make a mistake like this and then pass the buck back to me and obviously not happy with them not sorting it out when I first brought it up last June.

Many thanks



Jay James

15:15 PM, 28th March 2015
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "shakeel ahmad" at "27/03/2015 - 21:08":

First part I cannot see there is a causal link (second part I partly agree).

What are you on about?

Gary Nock

17:10 PM, 28th March 2015
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "shakeel ahmad" at "28/03/2015 - 10:00":

"There is money in it for them as the lease will allow them to recover cost and their solicitors partners in crime will share the loot as well due to the bias of the LVT"

Leaseholder applies for a Section 20(c) Order to limit what the landlord can claim.

I have dealt with the Birmingham LVT and First Tier on many occasions with RTM and Service Charge disputes. I have always found them to be very fair and professional.

Due to the limiting effect of Section 20(c) Freeholders are reluctant to go to FTT as particularly if you request an oral hearing (useful if fees disputed are around £1000) as it will cost them twice that for a solicitor for the day.

An oral hearing is £190. If you are disputing fees well above that and have a good case then together with a Section 20(c) application they know they will be out of pocket.

So invariably they cut their losses

Shakeel Ahmad

18:25 PM, 28th March 2015
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "28/03/2015 - 17:10":

Hi Gary,
The Birmingham LVT may be professional. The London one is far from it. I found them out of their depth they only focused on issues that were easy to deal e,g checking invoices.

Managing agents had given my address from the previous Managing Agents and in addition I had advised them of my correspondence address in writing. The correct address was only used on occasions & not consistently as a result documents were not received by me.

At the hearing. The panel asked me why seventeen letters to the managing agents did not state my address of correspondence not having done this the Panel saw this as I was trying to trick the managing Agents.

I told the chairperson that her comments I take it personally & find it slanderous. I later wrote to the tribunal as a complaint & she along with her other two side kicks denied ever saying it. The tribunal do not or at least did not record the hearing.

The lawyers representing the agents informed the tribunal that none of their letters were returned to the sender. The tribunal accepted the lawyers reply. Without even seeing if the managing agents envelopes had their address on them so that the letter could be returned. Besides now a days the letter don't get returned to sender some thing the Panel seem not to notice in their daily life.

Many of the issues that were presented to the tribunal. The tribunal ignored them despite of the fact that they were clearly listed and in addition the relevant breach of Act/section of the housing act was quoted in my submission.

Many invoices in relation to the expenditure were not presented to the LVT, despite of the fact that the Managing Agents had nearly four months to submit them. When I raised the the issue with the Panel their reply was that invoices may not be there but the expenditure must have been incurred.

In so far as section 20, is concerned the managing agent had debited my service charge account in respect of a previous hearing. This was also an issue that was brought to the the Tribunal to rule on & they ignored it.

What, was curious that on my various visits to the tribunal offices & while waiting in the lounge. There were other public who were representing themselves and were not singing praises of the Tribunal.

Through out the process I had been guided by the Leasehold advisory service who were great & when I showed them the findings of the tribunal they were aghast.

Joe Bloggs

0:47 AM, 29th March 2015
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "shakeel ahmad" at "28/03/2015 - 18:25":

i dont know the ins and outs of your case, but when i went to LVT and lands tribunal in london i did think that the chair was far too friendly with peverels solicitor. i complained at an early stage and got another chair. i won most of the points, but issues that i thought i had a cast iron case like being overcharged for insurance i lost. this did make me wonder how much expertise the panel had.
dont forget the law is an ass and that applies to all branches!

Shakeel Ahmad

14:37 PM, 29th March 2015
About 5 years ago

Hi Joe,
Indeed neither you or other forum readers are full versed in my case & that is why I did list all the issues as I would have needed a web page of my own.

Yes, it has been said that the law is an ass. In my instance it was not a question of interpretation of the law. It was the mechanics and the working of establishing facts & practisces.

I was advised to take the matter to the upper tribunal and as it happens that the upper tribunal is based on written submissions i.e. I will not be present at the hearing .

My experience with the written submissions & personal appearance at the tribunal where I could question, provide explanations etc was all in vain. I did not bother with it.

To top the arrogance one has/had to take the permission of the LVT/lower tribunal to take the case to the upper tribunal.

Frankly, they were more concerned about routine, paper chasing & their time for lunch breaks.

Harlequin Garden

10:14 AM, 25th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Thanks to everyone on this for their advice - and I notice we have gone off on a bit of a tangent!

The end result is that I contacted the previous owner (the seller)'s solicitor who advised me that they had contacted him and he was going to pay - he has now paid and all is well. This is no thanks to the On Line Conveyancing Company who washed their hands of the whole thing. I have made a complaint to the SRA - which is a lot of faff as I have to list the issues, but I will do it as they cannot possibly be allowed to behave in this manner.

I was eventually given access to my one line account and found that the final account from the management company had been posted on my account after completion - no email had been sent to me to tell me I had anything on there (the procedure is that they email you with a link to tell you when you had new information) so I was clueless and not able to access the site after completion. Their complaints procedure is to tell you they have no responsibility and you are on your own and don't answer why they didn't inform me that there was money outstanding (they knew). Their complaints and customer service department have no direct email address (although they are 'on line' company) and no phone numbers.

Lesson learned is give these people a very wide berth - they are very limited and this was a very straightforward exercise.

To be warned this company encompasses many online companies with variations of the use of the words lawyers and property.

Shakeel Ahmad

10:59 AM, 25th April 2015
About 4 years ago

Most people go to the on line solicitors besides being used recommended by the Estate agents ( no doubt there is introductory commission in it for them).

The on lines one are cheap and the old saying you get what you pay for.

Harlequin Garden

11:13 AM, 25th April 2015
About 4 years ago

I'm afraid that is true on both counts - one occasion I was recommended as the conveyancing company was 'doing' the whole development so I was assured would be more efficient - not true, they took me to exchange and had not received all the responses (despite working for the whole development!!) so am at a complaint, but this time against the agent for lying (allegedly...) and conveyancer not getting the truth in time. The conveyancing company had the name of the Agent within it's title but they denied a conflict of interests, when I went to a complaint found it was my old friend with property and lawyer in title - the complaints woman is the same amazingly so we were well aquatinted. No idea at the time. As for 'cheap' - it is only their actual fee that is cheaper - so at the end of the transaction the difference is only a few hundred pounds. I liked having all the information direct to my inbox so I didn't have lots of bits of paper to get muddled and lose (until there's an IT problem and you can't access it of course). The 'proper' solicitors do full reports and highlight issues and offer advice which you don't get with these online conveyancers. Live and learn.

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