Following the completion of the sale, the Sellers complained that the Agent had not financially qualified the initial Potential Buyers (causing them inconvenience in having to withdraw from the transaction) or chased and monitored the progress of the eventual Buyers’ mortgage offer (causing them further inconvenience). The Sellers also complained that the lack of updates received from the Agent had caused them to incur unnecessary cost in having to place their belongings in storage because a completion date was not achieved.
I found that the Agent’s file contained no contact details for the Potential Buyers’ mortgage broker and that their progress notes did not demonstrate that they had made any attempt to monitor the progress of the Potential Buyers’ mortgage application. The progress notes also showed a similar lack of action regarding the Buyers’ mortgage application. I was therefore persuaded that the Agent had not fulfilled their obligations under Paragraph 8a of the TPO Code of Practice to monitor the transaction and to keep their client regularly updated. Concerning the missed completion date, I explained that the Agent’s obligations, following acceptance of the offer were limited as they were not directly involved in the conveyancing process. I pointed out that it was the Sellers’ solicitor who was responsible for determining when it was safe and proper to exchange contracts and decide a completion date. As such, I did not consider that the Agent could be held liable for the Sellers’ storage costs.
As the Agent had made no investigations into the progress of the Potential Buyers’ or the eventual Buyers’ mortgage arrangements I supported that complaint. I was also not satisfied that the Agent had demonstrated that they had fulfilled their obligation under the TPO Code of Practice to regularly update their client. I supported both complaints and made an award of £250.
Whilst the primary responsibility to progress the transaction, following an acceptance of an offer, rests with each parties legal representatives, an agent is still required to monitor the progress of that transaction (as required under Paragraph 11a of the Code of Practice), which includes the buyer’s ability to raise the required funds and to regularly update their client.