What happens when a vendor doesn’t go?

A Buyers Agent from Newcastle referred a Purchaser to Leverage to assist in their Conveyancing.  The buyer agent, Kelly, was working for two of her best friends.  As anyone who works in real estate knows, if something is going to go wrong, it’s when you’re working for a mate.

We knew from the outset that this was going to be an untidy conveyance!  The couple were going through a divorce; the husband wanted to sell, whilst the wife wanted to stay.  Due to Court Orders, the property had to be sold.

Kelly was able to negotiate a purchase price and terms on the settlement in favour of her clients.  Somehow, the legal representative working for the estranged couple, was able to get, not only a sales agency agreement signed, but a contract for sale of land.

When Kelly attempted to organise the final inspection, the sales agent indicated that the best he could do was to allow a final inspection on Monday, which fell two days before settlement.  Unfortunately, the final inspection did reveal that the parties had not moved out, but nothing could be done about it two days before settlement.  This should have sounded alarm bells!

Completion of the sale was done without any fanfare.  The couple turned up to the house with their truck to move in.  Unfortunately, the wife had not moved out.  Yes, there was a truck and there was a skip bin to assist with the move.  The wife had entrenched herself and did not want to move out of the property.

It is clear that after settlement, the vendor has no right to stay in the property.  Remaining in the property after settlement is a trespass, and an illegal act.

Dealing with these types of issues, is a balance between enforcement of rights and an understanding of those who may be suffering.  Kelly was able to engage with friends of the wife at the earliest possible opportunity.  She was also able to talk to the wife’s father.

At the same time, we had a helpful Police force.  A day after the settlement, the Police attended with a locksmith to change the locks.  Arrangements were made with the father to assist the wife to leave the property and collect her goods at a later date.  The actions of the advocate and Leverage allowed a difficult situation to be dealt with in a dignified manner and in accordance to the law.

A vendor has no entitlement to stay.  The Police are entitled to assist the new owner to take possession of the property.  In dealing with such an issue, Agents should both be compassionate but enforce the laws as they stand.  It is a difficult balance, but when done well, outcomes can be achieved.