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Tough Times

Court of Appeal £10,800 shock for desperate homeowners struggling to sell

Homeowners struggling to sell their property despite falling house prices and a shortage of buyers have been reminded by the Court of Appeal that they can only give one estate agent sole rights to the sale – or be forced to pay twice for the service.

It has ordered one homeowner to pay an extra £10,883 commission after she granted one firm sole agency status but failed to revoke this before the property was eventually sold by another estage agent. Lawyers say the case of Nicholas Prestige Homes v Sally Neal has important lessons for other homeowners, including the legally binding nature of contracts created verbally or by email.

Sonal Gandhi, a partner in the residential property group at solicitors Mishcon de Reya, said: "Anyone embarking upon the sale of their home must ensure that they fully understand the extent of the commitments they are entering into with their selling agents. A sole agency in these circumstances places a contractual entitlement on the agent to a commission even if it has played no role in the sale. In this case the Court of Appeal stood by the strict terms of the contract.

"The seller should have ensured that the previous agents she had appointed had stopped all marketing efforts in respect of her property as was her contractual obligation.

They must be getting pretty desperate for income, if they're prepared to suffer the consequences of this bad publicity.

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Tough Times

They must be getting pretty desperate for income, if they're prepared to suffer the consequences of this bad publicity.

I dunno.

I've never yet met an EA who gave a tos$ what anyone else thought about them. After all, if they were that sensitive to being hated, then they'd do something else.

Having dealt with many over the years, they've always done as little as possible, and then played hardball with the contract terms in court afterwards; the one and only thing that EA's are always smart enough to ensure, is that the T&C's are absolutely watertight - otherwise every vendor in the land would happily screw them over, every single time.

Nothing to see here I'm afraid...


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 There is nothing wrong with sole agency, but make sure a exit clause is included.  Most agents will try and sign you up for as long as possible, but you can insist on just 8 weeks if you want and have that entered in the contract.

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