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Contracts exchanged!

Finally, today - 5th December 2007 - after intially starting proceedings in May, contracts have at last been exchanged.
I leave (left!) Scafell on 19th December.



As you may know, after spending my entire life in the 'Regents park Estate' area, I have decided the time is right to move away.
Coupled with my retirement from BT, this seems to make sense although, when I started the idea of selling I was still working for BT (but that's another story)!

Anyway, in March 2007 I invited a number of estate agents to view & value the flat.
I then discussed this with them about rates of commission etc. and finally, on the 11th May (my birthday) I gave the go-ahead to one of the agents.
This was a Friday & I went happily off to a pub to celebrate my birthday...

The following week, I received a call from the estate agent saying there were at least two interested parties. One was a 'cash buyer' and the other was confident they could obtain a mortgage.
Advised by the estate agent, I decided to accept the offer from the 'cash buyer'

The Buyer's solicitor has raised the issue of the difference between the plan in the deed and the actual layout of the flat..
To explain:
Back in 2002 I had the internal layout of the flat altered to increase the size of the kitchen and reduce the large hallway.
Unfortunately, I never realised at the time that planning permission was required from the Council before even internal work could be carried out (I think this has changed or at least if it hasn't, they have definitely got stricter about it!) so we now had to apply for the permission.

Arrangements were made for the 'Duty Surveyor' to visit to inspect the work and, on 10th July, a 'Retrospective licence', including a 'Regularisation certificate', was issued

Unfortunately, the next issue spotted was that the outline of the plans included the lift-shaft!
This has been the case since the first lease was drawn up back in November 1989 but not noticed either by Camden's own solicitors or "Gordon Shine & Co", Solicitors, acting on my behalf.
This now required a 'Deed of Rectification'!
Of course, this was yet another thing that had to be paid for (�100.00 for something & �130.00 for something else!) and eventually a document was received that showed the old layout and the new layout which excludes the lift-shaft..
However, the buyers solicitor is now arguing that the document, which contains the old layout of the kitchen and including the lift shaft whereas the new drawing shows the NEW layout of the kitchen and the exclusion of the lift-shaft should show the old layout of the kitchen with the lift-shaft excluded!
This will require yet another drawing to be made which Camden!
However, Camden have declined to do this without further payment as they believe the document as it stands is sufficient for our needs.

Prior to this, the solicitors had raised the issue of 'supporting documentation'.
As part of the 'Retrospective planning permission' Camden have to approach 3 other departments/agencies:

  • Building Control Officer
  • Environmental Health Officer
  • Planning Authority

and a statement is included in the Licence saying that these departments have given their consent.
However, for some reason, the buyer's solicitor wants to see the original consent forms i.e. almost saying he doesn't believe the necessary consent has been received!
Camden's solicitors have refused to provide this stating that what we have is 'standard' and that they will not, under instruction from their client (i.e. Camden Council) issue changes to individual leaseholders' agreements.
Stalemate!

Things started to move again after the buyer took things into her own hands & contacted the council herself. She explained the situation & (apparently) sent in copies of the documents and was eventually reassured by the council that everything was in order so she instructed her solicitors to 'get on with it'
This was around Monday 26th December and things started to move by the Wednesday.
On the Friday it nearly happened but then didn't..
On Monday 3rd it nearly happened again but wasn't completed in time for end of business..
On Wednesday 5th December, 2007, I received a call just after 10:00 from my solicitor saying it was nearly done.
Another call less than 5 minutes later to ask a question (can't remember what the question was) and another wait...
Just before 10:30 the third & final call came in to say it was all done. Sold. I had until the 19th to get out!