My client, an award-winning London based Estate and Lettings Agent with over 30 years’ experience in residential and commercial sales, letting and property management, recently instructed me to act for them in connection with the recovery of over £13,000 of unpaid sales commission. This was by no means a straightforward case and serves as an example of the struggles some Agents have in obtaining sums rightfully due to them from vendors.
The brief facts of the case were that my client was given sole selling rights in respect of the sale of a property in London valued at £950,000, further to their terms of business. Within 72 hours, prospective buyers were found by my client and a sale agreed. The sale was subsequently delayed due to the prospective buyers discovering that, due to recent changes to the law, they would liable for a further £30,000 in stamp duty, although, with the vendors keen to agree a sale due to debts they owed to HMRC, a reduced sale price was quickly agreed by my client and the sale proceeded promptly thereafter, completing from start to finish in 10 weeks, less than the UK average. The vendors emailed my client thanking them for the speed, diligence and skill shown by them in getting the sale back on track so quickly and smoothly.
Contracts were exchanged and my client’s invoice submitted in accordance with their terms of business, with the sale completing thereafter. In breach of my client’s terms of business, the vendors failed to pay the sales commission to my client. After initial email correspondence between the parties had proved unsuccessful, I was instructed to recover the sales commission due. Pre-action correspondence was entered into setting out my client’s case. In response the vendors, one of whom was a Partner in a high-ranking law firm, sought to allege they were dissatisfied with the service provided (having never previously raised any issues) and that there had been breaches of The Property Ombudsman Codes of Practice for Residential Agents, for which they should be compensated.
With the assistance of my client, I entirely rebutted these arguments by disclosing correspondence between the parties and making reference to the material facts of the case, whilst also ensuring that these new complaints were dealt with properly and in accordance with The Property Ombudsman’s guidance. Thereafter, the Vendors were invited to make a further complaint to The Property Ombudsman in light of our response. No such complaint was made.
With settlement not being received within the timescales set by my client, proceedings were issued against the vendors in the County Court, resulting in my client receiving payment of the outstanding sums (including court fees and accrued interest) just a few weeks thereafter and before any response to the claim had been due. My client thanked me for my commercially aware advice and resolving this dispute quickly and without incurring prohibitive legal costs.
Written by Lloyd Clarke of Attwells.com
Author: Estate Agent Networking UK
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