31 Jul 2007

Bogus private sales

One of the many irksome features of an estate agent’s life is the vendor who apparently withdraws their property from the market, only to complete a private sale shortly afterwards with a purchaser who the agent had introduced. Most contracts expressly forbid such delinquent behaviour on the part of the vendors, at least for a significant time period, but it can be hard to enforce any penalty as the details of the house sale are kept private. It is estimated that anywhere between 1 in 10 and 1 in 4 withdrawn properties go on to complete the deal privately, thus denying the estate agent their contracted fee.

Now the Land Registry is offering a service specifically aimed at estate agents wanting to keep tabs on what happens to withdrawn sales. For a small monitoring fee, the Land Registry will contact the estate agents with details of completed sales on their withdrawn properties. If the contract terms have been breached, the agent will then have a relatively easy task to reclaim their fee.

If you want to know more about this scheme, contact David Lockett at the Land Registry in Coventry.

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