November 2014

 

Question

I went ‘sale agreed’ in August 2014 and wish to close the sale before the end of the year as I hope to benefit from the CGT holiday after seven years’ possession. Since then it has been impossible to get the required documents from the vendor’s solicitor. My side cannot proceed without receipts for property taxes paid etc and an acceptable OS map. As there is no reason for this behaviour, is there anything that I can do to move things along? I now fear that this will drag into the new year and the sale will fall through.

 

Answer

Unfortunately, your problem is far from unique. In fact, delays are becoming more common as many sales involve third parties such as banks and receivers.

If you are borrowing for this purchase, your bank will probably want its solicitor to review title also which can add another layer of delay.

Many of these delays are avoidable. Sometimes solicitors are waiting for vendors with varying levels of motivation to answer queries or to provide copies of receipts. It sometimes appears as though files end up sitting on someone’s desk with little or nothing happening.

If this is the case, making lots of noise can get matters moving. A direct chat with the vendor might work, as he or she may not know what is happening and may not understand the importance of the CGT exemption deadline.

It is a common complaint among vendors, buyers and their respective agents that once sales are agreed, the delays are unreasonable. To be fair to solicitors, though, they are often dealing with much less than all the required information. Sending letters over and back can be slow and frustrating.

A phone call or meeting would often achieve more. Keep the pressure on and set a deadline. Best of luck. Simon Stokes is a residential surveyor and chairman of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (MediKids) Residential Agency Professional Group