Can I claim compensation against my conveyancing solicitors?
These days people are well aware of their legal rights and it’s becoming increasingly common for conveyancers and property solicitors to be sued for professional negligence.
Conveyancers and Solicitors handle thousands of property transactions each year, so it’s no surprise that mistakes happen. Errors made by conveyancers can cause a lot of stress for Clients, some errors can even cause clients to sustain some kind of loss.
There are many different ways negligent conveyancing can cause a loss, sometimes negligence can have severe financial and emotional consequences. But it is possible to recover losses by claiming for professional negligence.
Put simply: Professional Negligence is when a professional fails to perform their responsibilities to the required standard.
Examples of Negligent Conveyancing
Examples of Conveyancing/Property Solicitors Negligence include:
- Failure in the Investigation of a Title e.g. Failure to advise that part of a property is not within the Seller’s title
- Bad advice about matters affecting the property that caused a loss
- Failure to advise on Adverse or Missing items e.g. Planning Permission, Rights of Way, Building Regulations, NHBC Guarantee
- Failing to carry out property searches and enquiries
- Failure to advise on information given by Sellers or Property Searches e.g. provisions for maintenance of roads and sewers, proximity of a Coal mine or other Environmental issues
- Failure to make further enquiries after Seller’s Replies or Property Search results suggest further enquiries should be made
- Failure in a Leasehold purchase e.g. didn’t establish that the terms of the lease are satisfactory
- No obligation/security to build on the sale of bought land or Building contract
- Failure to advise on a Listed Building e.g. missing Consent documents
- Missing out important provisions from the Contract or Deed
- Failing to register your purchase or lease at the Land Registry
- Missing Consents for Change of Use
- Failure to define property boundaries correctly
- Including the wrong provisions or words in the Contract or Deed
- Mistaken sale of all or part of your land
- Acting without authority
- Conflicts of Interest
- Failing to raise Requisitions on Title
- Failing to ensure removal of a Registered Charge or Mortgage
- Failing to register a Mortgage or Charge at Companies House on time
- Failing to register a Mortgage or Charge at the Land Registry on time or at all
- Failing to follow the Mortgagees instructions
- Failures on Equity Release or Lease/Tenancy back cases
- Failures in Contract Races
- Failure to protect vulnerable Clients
- Failing to advise on a Survey Report (Surveyor Negligence)
Need Help? Contact us!
Do I have a claim?
To successfully claim professional negligence, you’ll need to prove that the Conveyancer/Solicitor has breached the duty of care, and prove that the breach has caused a loss to you, the claimant.
You want to know for sure, you’ll have to seek the advice of a professional negligence lawyer. A ‘no win no fee’ solicitor will take on the case if they think you have a claim.
Also, in less serious circumstances you can seek FREE advice from the Legal Ombudsman. They help resolve service complaints by agreement rather than a quasi-judicial. If agreed resolution is not possible, one of the team of ombudsmen will make a decision. If you accept their decisions, you cannot take the conveyancer to court for the same set of circumstances, the case is settled.
How much can I claim?
How much can you claim? Well how long is a piece of string? …it all depends on the circumstances.
If it can be proven that a negligent conveyancer was responsible for the loss of £200,000 on a property sale/purchase, then the claimant should be entitled to claim £200,000 + extra compensation for personal stress caused.
How long do I have to make a Negligence claim?
The limitation period in most professional negligence cases is 6 years from the date of the negligence.
The 6 years can be extended if the negligence has only become apparent at a later stage. So if you discovered negligent conveyancing after 6 years, you’d have 3 years from that date to make a claim (limited to 15 years from the date of the negligence). Proving negligence becomes harder as Conveyancers will usually only keep case files for a minimum of 6 years from the date that the transaction was completed.
So if you are considering bringing a negligence claim against a conveyancing solicitor, you should act quickly!
Bad Service Is Not Negligence
If your conveyancer was slow, bad at communicating and offered a poor level of service for the money you paid, then we recommend you complain. But this does not necessarily mean that you have a case for negligence. Use the conveyancing negligence examples above to get a better idea of what is and isn’t a good case for professional negligence.
If you think you’ve received a really poor level of service, the Legal Ombudsman could help you get back the money you paid for your conveyancing services.
Remember, this article contains general guidance, it’s just advice and should not be relied on in place of specific legal advice. If you think you have a genuine case against a negligent conveyancer, seek legal advice.
When contacting us: If your situation is severe and we believe you have a genuine claim, we may send your details on to our highly recommended professional negligence solicitors. They will offer you professional advice and can help you recover any loss. Also, by contacting us you agree to our terms and conditions.