Q: We made a complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority who did not consider taking any further action.
Our complaint was twofold in that a local solicitor acting for the buyer and
seller of a flat in our block allowed completion of the sale in January
2017 before obtaining authority from the Ground Landlord to reassign the
Lease. Therefore, we in turn could not issue a Letter of Consent to the Land
Registry nor issue a Membership Certificate.
So, in reality, the new leaseholder/s moved in on 3 January and yet to
this date no reassignment of the lease has been issued allowing us to
complete our registration. So as far as we are concerned the flat still
belongs to the executor of the previous deceased owner. Also, the service
charge from 25 December 2016 is still outstanding.
The holdup is waiting for a bank reference for one of the joint owners that
the Ground Landlord still requires, as we too do as per the title
restriction held by the Land Registry.
So in conclusion we have a person/s living in the flat without any
assignment of the lease and the process required thereafter, which the
solicitor has allowed.
Could you advise me please if there is any recourse we can take, or do we
simply await the pleasure of the solicitor.
FPRA Hon Consultant Yashmin Mistry replies:
Unfortunately, there is nothing much that can be done. The position is not great for the solicitors but something that the SRA do not have jurisdiction over. In any case the solicitors appears to be trying to rectify, so any attempt to commence action against the assignees for breach of lease would be futile. Sorry we cannot give you better news.
[Submitted June 2017]