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Are we liable if our seller is refusing to pay the estate agent's fee?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

22nd of October 2004

Q. Our seller is refusing to pay the full amount to the estate agent, claiming that their service was very poor:
  • Property put on at wrong price
  • Refusal to take it off market etc.
We are due to complete within the next 7 days. Is there likely to be any liability on us, as purchasers as the debt will not arise until completion of sale?

    A. The seller's obligation to pay a fee to the agent for providing a property intermediation service has nothing to do with the seller's obligation to sell to you under your agreement to buy and sell (whether verbal or in writing, in the form of a private purchase contract). You also have not obligation towards the agent, who in no case is entitled to stop a sale if he fears his commission will not be paid.

    If when completion takes place the seller does not pay the agent you will NOT be in any form liable for this, as this debt is a personal one and can never be tied to the property, who in any case will not belong to the seller after that point.

    You can rest assured once completion takes place (do make sure that you do not have real debts associated with the purchase) and can only wish them a quick resolution of the dispute they have.

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