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5 Buying and Selling Property

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1. Introduction

2. Dealing with estate agents

3. Problems with estate agents

4. Offers, exchange of contract and completion

5. What the price should include

6. Problems with solicitors and conveyancers

By law the only people who can deal with the legal aspects of conveyancing are solicitors and licensed conveyancers. If you have had poor service from your solicitor or conveyancer, and they haven’t dealt with your complaint satisfactorily, you can do the following:

  • For a solicitor, you can complain to the Legal Complaints Service (LCS)(see ‘Further help’ for details). If it agrees with your complaint, the LCS can order your solicitor to refund your fees or pay you compensation. If you are not happy with how the LCS handles your complaint, you can then take the complaint to the Legal Services Ombudsman.
  • For a licensed conveyancer, you can complain to the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) (see ‘Further help’ for details).

If you lose money because of negligence (that is, the solicitor or conveyancer didn’t do something they should have done, or did something they shouldn’t have done, and you lost out as a result), you may have a case for compensation. In this situation you need a solicitor to take your case, as the LCS and CLC do not handle negligence claims. The Law Society has a ‘negligence panel’ of solicitors who are prepared to take action against other solicitors. Solicitors and conveyancers must, by law, be covered by negligence insurance.

7. Problems with the survey

8. Buying a newly built home

9. Leasehold, freehold and commonhold properties

10. Mortgage and money problems

11. Neighbour disputes and anti-social behaviour

12. Further Help

13. About this leaflet


The leaflets in this series give you an outline of your legal rights. They are not a complete guide to the law and are not intended to be a guide to how the law will apply to you or to any specific situation. The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since this was printed, so information in it may be incorrect or out of date.

If you have a problem, you will need to get more information or personal advice to work out the best way to solve it. See ‘Further help’ for sources of information and advice.

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Shelter.

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Leaflet Version: December 2008

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