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Greetings All,

 

Been a fan of the forum for several years and kudos to the site team and members for all the great resources on here.

 

I'm hoping someone can profer some advice re an issue I'm having with the gentleman that purchased my house late November.

 

As mentioned above completed the sale of my home late November 2016, prior to the sale the property was rented, although tenant moved out prior to completion and I am living with my partner.

 

Problem is I indicated that fixtures and fittings were not included in the sale, i.e. beds, fridge, washing machine etc.

 

I personally was awaiting the funds from completion to enable me move the leftover items straight to storage and shipment abroad as I am relocating..

 

Completion happened and I had to travel abroad immediately for a family issue and I immediately called the buyer who I had met and he told me he had collected spare keys from my estate agent and I should agree with him when I was ready to attend the property to remove my belongings.

 

As I returned to the UK I made several call to said buyer and he ignored several calls and text and eventually agreed to grant me access on the 15th of December 2016 for proposed removal.

 

When I arrived at the property I was given access by his builder for 5 mins but they claimed to have lost the shed keys where I also had items in. I was told to break the shed door by the builder but was hesitant to do so without new owners consent.

 

I called said buyer as I exited the property and explained above to him and also reminded him that fittings, fridge , washing machine etc not included in the sale.

 

Long and short of it is he has ignored and avoided my calls since that day and I have been unable to get any of my belongings.

He answered my call once this week to tell me a tenant was to move in this week and he will call me re stuff in the shed but is being evasive re other stuff and trying to say I never collected them.

 

Question please is what legal recourse I have and best suggestions in resolving this situation. I have tried to communicate with him civilly to no avail.

 

Thank-you.

 

Pete

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Hello and welcome to your first post!

 

Ideally, you would resolve this with the buyer. The next step is probably to contact him in writing (email or letter) saying that you require access to the property to collect your goods and suggesting some suitable times. Ask him to get back to you by the end of the week with confirmation of a time for collection.

 

You should ensure that you start putting things in writing rather than just relying on phone calls. It is almost impossible to prove what was said in a phone call if you end up having to take legal action. If you do speak over the phone, consider recording the conversation.

 

Ultimately, if you cannot resolve this with the buyer, you would need to send him a 'letter before action' and if that doesn't work raise a county court claim against him. You could consider seeking an order for the return of the goods themselves, or a money judgment for what you estimate the goods are worth. If you want to take legal action you'd have to check that it is pretty clear from the sale documents what was included and was not included in the sale.


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Thank-you @steampowered for your welcome and detailed advice.

 

Appreciate you and the community here.

 

Will proceed as you have advised and pray for an amicable resolution and just regret that it had to turn out this way.

 

Can never get my head round why people choose to behave so dishonourably.

 

Thank -you.

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Greetings All,

 

Been a fan of the forum for several years and kudos to the site team and members for all the great resources on here.

 

I'm hoping someone can profer some advice re an issue I'm having with the gentleman that purchased my house late November.

 

As mentioned above completed the sale of my home late November 2016, prior to the sale the property was rented, although tenant moved out prior to completion and I am living with my partner.

 

Problem is I indicated that fixtures and fittings were not included in the sale, i.e. beds, fridge, washing machine etc.

 

I personally was awaiting the funds from completion to enable me move the leftover items straight to storage and shipment abroad as I am relocating..

 

Completion happened and I had to travel abroad immediately for a family issue and I immediately called the buyer who I had met and he told me he had collected spare keys from my estate agent and I should agree with him when I was ready to attend the property to remove my belongings.

 

As I returned to the UK I made several call to said buyer and he ignored several calls and text and eventually agreed to grant me access on the 15th of December 2016 for proposed removal.

 

When I arrived at the property I was given access by his builder for 5 mins but they claimed to have lost the shed keys where I also had items in. I was told to break the shed door by the builder but was hesitant to do so without new owners consent.

 

I called said buyer as I exited the property and explained above to him and also reminded him that fittings, fridge , washing machine etc not included in the sale.

 

Long and short of it is he has ignored and avoided my calls since that day and I have been unable to get any of my belongings.

He answered my call once this week to tell me a tenant was to move in this week and he will call me re stuff in the shed but is being evasive re other stuff and trying to say I never collected them.

 

Question please is what legal recourse I have and best suggestions in resolving this situation. I have tried to communicate with him civilly to no avail.

 

Thank-you.

 

Pete

 

Yet, the purchaser was entitled to 'vacant possession' of the property.

 

They aren't entitled to keep your items, but equally, you aren't entitled to leave them there for the purchaser to store for you, free of charge!.

 

Did you agree the storage of the items with the buyer, and if so, on what terms?.

If not, have they sent you any notification of their intent?.

 

You refer to "fixtures and fittings". Fixtures get sold with the property : it isn't as simple as "if it is fixed to the land, it is a fixture, and sold with the property", but that is the staring point in law ; if it is permanently attached to the land, it is "annexed".

 

Fittings (or more properly 'chattels') don't pass with the property.

If an item is in doubt, it is usually specified during the conveyancing .....

beds, fridge, carpets, white goods (though not white goods that have become fixed, e.g. as part of a fitted kitchen!) would usually be chattels, and not pass to the property's buyer (but they equally aren't obliged to store them for you!)

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Agree with bazza.

Unless you have a clear, unequivocal proof that he allowed you to "store" your property after sale completion, he could dispose of all of it and even charge you for it.

You must have filled a "fixture & fittings" schedule in the process of selling the house, so if white goods are not included in that document, technically they're still yours, unless of course he has disposed of them.

Empting the shed is another matter and I suspect that anything you'll find missing (usually small tools) are lost forever.

Got to say, you've been very unlucky to have a family emergency right when you had to clear the house, so if all is lost it will only be down to bad luck (and dishonesty from new LL)

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Agree with bazza.

Unless you have a clear, unequivocal proof that he allowed you to "store" your property after sale completion, he could dispose of all of it and even charge you for it.

 

They can't just "dispose of it all", at least not without formalities including warning the OP, but they have no obligation to store the items once they have complied with the formalities.....

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They can't just "dispose of it all", at least not without formalities including warning the OP, but they have no obligation to store the items once they have complied with the formalities.....

 

They're supposed to get a vacant property on completion, anything left there would have to be considered rubbish, unless clearly written somewhere.

A couple of years ago I helped a friend moving and in the new house we found loft and shed full of stuff.

We contacted the estate agent and they said they would come back to us within an hour, they didn't.

Couple of days later, after many calls to estate agent and other party solicitor we hired a skip and filled it up to the rim.

My friend billed the other party via the solicitor and then it transpired that those were their most precious belongings.

To cut the long story short they eventually backed off despite threatening legal action and paid for the skip.

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They're supposed to get a vacant property on completion, anything left there would have to be considered rubbish, unless clearly written somewhere.

A couple of years ago I helped a friend moving and in the new house we found loft and shed full of stuff.

We contacted the estate agent and they said they would come back to us within an hour, they didn't.

Couple of days later, after many calls to estate agent and other party solicitor we hired a skip and filled it up to the rim.

My friend billed the other party via the solicitor and then it transpired that those were their most precious belongings.

To cut the long story short they eventually backed off despite threatening legal action and paid for the skip.

 

You got lucky. You could have been prosecuted for theft (disposing of them is a a form of appropriation, and clearly intends to permanently deprive the owner of them : it would hinge on how much notice was given / how much effort was made as to whether there was dishonest intent under Ghosh), but, even if not to the criminal standard you could have been sued for interference with goods.

 

The following is slanted towards LL's having T's goods left at the end of a tenancy, but the same principle ('involuntary bailee') applies.

 

http://www.landlordlegalsolutions.co.uk/cms/document/Guide_to_tenants_possessions_left_at_property__LLS_.pdf

There is a process to go through to protect yourself : in this OP's case the buyer can dispose of the goods, but only by following a process, and if the OP is trying to get their goods back, the buyer can't dispose of them.

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A house must be fully cleared of all personal possessions and rubbish by the day of completion...unless a pre agreed arrangement is in place with the buyers conveyancer and the buyer himself.


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A house must be fully cleared of all personal possessions and rubbish by the day of completion...unless a pre agreed arrangement is in place with the buyers conveyancer and the buyer himself.

 

Absolutely: vacant possession (which has already been referred to).

 

However, this thread is about the implications (for both seller & purchaser!) when vacant possession doesn't happen and chattels / possessions are left behind ........

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Absolutely: vacant possession (which has already been referred to).

 

However, this thread is about the implications (for both seller & purchaser!) when vacant possession doesn't happen and chattels / possessions are left behind ........

 

Yes I am aware of what the thread relates to and the problem the OP faces...but with the above in mind anything here on is and upward struggle..because it wasn't adhered to.


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Frankly if I was the new LL having to clear someone else's rubbish along valuable goods I would just put everything in a skip and when asked say: "I got vacant possession of the property as stipulated in the contract of sale"

Bye, bye family jewels and 14th century display cabinet...

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Thank-you @ All for the thoughtful reply's.

 

I'm contacting my Solicitor today to send of a letter to the buyer's Solicitor.

 

Long and short of it is he's continued to deliberately avoid my calls with the intention of holding on to property's such as fridge, beds and washer /dryer (not fitted).

 

My main concern as stated in first post is items in the loft shed which are my personal belongings.

 

Very Best Rgds

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Unfortunately unless you made formal arrangements prior to completion everything left behind is the new owners property as that what completion means. You will know that the removal men collect stuff in the morning and wont set foot in the new property until they get the OK from the estate agent that it has all gone through Ownership transferrs at a precise time and as it is with vacant possession that doesnt mean absolutely stripped bare, it means you have no further claim on anything there other than agreed in the contracts you drew up at the beginning of the process.That applies to anything buried in the ground, left in the attic or wherever. I know you had spoken to him but that really doesnt create much of an obligation without definite dates agreed by both sides.

Involuntary bailee law doesnt apply, that is items left at a place under a previous contract such as a suit at a dry cleaners or items in a rented property where the tenant is invited to bring their own stuff to the premises. effectively you have ABANDONED the property and you have no law to protect you.

All you can do is to be nice about it or you will find that you are throwing good money after bad. Your solicitor will probably be happy to charge you to send a letter but wont be happy to go futher than that. I would make sure that the stuff could be shifted in 1 go on an agreed day. that day will be at the convenience of the new owner but dont be surprised if it had gone to the dump, it has been 2 months and you have not shown any great urgency to the matter.

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