Should we pay this fee (UK)?
November 28, 2007 3:13 AM Subscribe
Does anyone know anything about UK property law? Can they make us pay this? Conveyancer demanding small payment they should have asked us for a year ago.
Background - my partner and I bought a house a year ago, and he sold his flat at the same time. As far as we were concerned, both sales were complete, we had moved in, and the buyer of the flat sold the flat on in March (we found this out by looking at an online property prices site).
A few weeks after we moved, our conveyancer sent a letter to us saying that a 'registration fee' of 0.05% of the sale price was owing to the management company that owns the freehold of the flat, and that this payment is 'traditionally made' by the vendor, and that my partner, as the vendor, therefore owes £51.25. As far as we were concerned the sale was complete, and 'tradition' is not an adequate reason for paying anyone anything, so we ignored the letter.
Fast forward to last week when we received a copy of the letter requesting payment, along with a cover letter asking quite nicely for the money. Then this week we received another letter from our conveyancer, sounding more worried this time, with a copy of a letter from the buyer's solicitor to our conveyancer containing the enlightening phrase 'With respect, you knew what payments were required from your clients prior to completion and this sum should have been retained by yourselves from your clients to cover these costs'.
So it looks like the conveyancers have made a mistake and are trying to recoup the money from us. What is our position? Should we pay? Are we obliged to pay? How should we approach the conveyancers? To be clear, this is in the UK, we don't seem (yet) to be under any threat of legal action if we don't pay this, and all letters so far have been civil.