Question: My pregnant daughter and her husband sold their flat and moved in with us along with their toddler son while awaiting the completion date of January 28. The buyers gave notice on their rented property where they are living out of boxes, as all their stuff is packed and ready. They tell us they are calling their solicitor every day in an effort to move things along.
My daughter's solicitors say they cannot believe the buyers' solicitors are so slow. We are all at a loss as to what to do. Please help with this nightmare.
Answer: Your daughter and her husband have not sold their flat yet, as they have not exchanged contracts and there's no legally binding contract until that has happened. Their solicitor should have told them this, and they should have been warned of the risk of moving before exchange of contracts.
The buyers should have been advised by their solicitors of the risk of giving notice on their rental property before exchange of contracts. They say their solicitors are refusing to hand over the deposit, though they ring them daily. But there must be a reason why the buyers' solicitors are not exchanging contracts at this stage. Perhaps the buyers' mortgage offer is not yet in place, or there is a condition in the offer which the buyers are still trying to satisfy.
Your daughter should speak to the selling agent, if there is one, to query the delay and her solicitors should be asking questions of the buyers' solicitors, and doing all in their power to establish the reason for the hold-up.
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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email email@example.com or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona McNulty is a partner in the residential property, farms and estates team at Withy King LLP (withyking.co.uk).