Laceys Solicitors Laceys is a leading, forward-thinking law firm with specialist experts serving both individual and business clients across a broad spectrum of practice areas.

Navigation

News

Back

Estate Agents Beware. Don’t lose out on commission over a lack of contract.

18th September 2017 by Rob Kelly

Categories: What's New?
Tags:

There has been a case in court (Wells v Devani (2016) EWCA Civ 1106) that highlights the importance of ensuring you have a written contract in place with the seller of the property detailing your agreed commission and when you will receive it (the ‘trigger’) before the completion date, otherwise you may be in danger of walking away with nothing.

The case concerned a development in Hackney, which had some remaining unsold flats. The developer was introduced to an estate agent with whom the developer agreed a commission of 2% plus VAT during a telephone conversation, should he find a buyer.  The new estate agent then introduced a housing association which made an offer to buy all the remaining flats.  Following completion, the new estate agent submitted an invoice for £42,000 plus VAT in accordance with the agreement reached between them, however the developer refused to pay.

At first, the court held that although the parties had not agreed what would actually trigger a right to commission, a term could be implied that payment would be due “on the introduction of a person who actually completed the purchase”, however the developer took the case to appeal.

The Court of Appeal, by a majority of 2:1, overturned the original decision, stating that there was no binding contract detailing what triggered the entitlement to commission, meaning the agent was not entitled to commission when the flats were sold to a purchaser he had introduced.

From this, it is clear that parties should expressly agree all essential terms upfront in order to be certain that they will be able to enforce their contract against the other party.

If you would like further information on this case or advice on any dispute matters please contact Rob Kelly.

This article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest.  The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice, is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered, and should not be relied on as such.  Legal advice should be sought about your specific circumstances before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed.
Questions relating to this article should be addressed directly to the author.

Rob Kelly

Senior Associate — Dispute Resolution

Direct dial: 01202 755217

Email

  • “A first choice for truly contentious Litigation in Automotive and Asset Finance and Leasing. His pure skill in tricky work wins through time and again and adds real value compared with the so called 'top tier' litigators. Truly capable, amenable and commercially minded business partners, the 'master chessmen' of their specialty.”

    Paul Maxted, previously the In house Legal Adviser and Company Secretary nearly 20 years, all Financial Services related companies in UK for Daimler, Mercedes-Benz

  • “I have had the pleasure of working with several members of the team at Laceys regularly over a period of years. I found Rob Kelly in particular, who worked on a successful litigation case for me over a period of several years to be outstanding in all aspects of the work he undertook, and the manner in which he did it. I now consider him a friend. I would not - and have not - hesitated to recommend Laceys to my family and friends, and continue to use them for all legal matters.”

    Dan Collins

  • “ I just wanted to thank you for your great work on the professional negligence case and other cases you have represented Indian Ocean and Tiien through the last few years.”

    Mehdi Vahdati, Director and Proprietor - Indian Ocean (Bournemouth) Limited

  • “I've worked with a fair few lawyers over the years and Rob Kelly is the most on the ball and efficient lawyers I've ever come across. I'm looking forward to working together for many years to come.”

    Roger Woodall, CEO - Diamond Sporting Group

Rob is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (September 2009).  Rob also holds an LLB (Hons) degree in law.  He successfully completed training as a mediator under the ADR Chambers / Harvard Law Project Scheme and was one of the first mediators to have been appointed an IMI Certified Mediation Advocate in the UK with a commercial practice.

Rob specialises in dispute resolution through litigation, arbitration and mediation, with particular emphasis on contractual disputes, claims involving allegations of professional negligence (which he has prosecuted on behalf of commercial and private clients and defended on behalf of insurers, re-insurers and Lloyd’s syndicates). He is regularly instructed in connection with substantial disputes involving contractual, professional negligence, contentious probate issues.  Rob also deals with contentious property and landlord and tenant issues.

Rob’s style is a mix of listening, asking (tough) questions, diplomacy and reality testing. He’s interested, flexible, and pragmatic. He offers a common sense, realistic approach to assist his clients in searching for solutions to their disputes and brings straight talking and integrity to his work.

Related articles

New Year Resolutions for your Business

What if I told you that we have prepared a list of New Year’s resolutions that do...

Read Article

A day in the life of a Trainee through the eyes of Aisling Scott

As I approach just over the half way mark of my first seat in Laceys Private Client...

Read Article

Close X