Comments : Familys life savings and dream home lost due to thieving solicitors
Gary Humphris, his wife, Samantha and children were over the moon to move into their £400,000 dream house after their offer was agreed. The property has four bedrooms complete with swimming pool, sauna and a games room for their two young boys. An extra £70,000 was spent on renovations to make the house just perfect, however six months passed and the family were told that they didn’t own the house and it was to be repossessed.
The two solicitors that were handling the sale of the property had fled with their £400,000 which meant the Humphris family had not technically bought the house. The house was being repossessed due to the £542,000 outstanding mortgage bill owed by the previous owners. This information had been cloaked by the seller’s solicitors in order for the sale to go through. One of the solicitors has now been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison and two other individuals who were involved have been granted bail.
Mr Humphris owns a property maintenance business with his wife Samantha, and they are yet to recover any of the money they paid for the house and have no living accommodation. Mr Humphis spoke to the Daily Mail and told them; ‘It was everything we could have dreamed of, it had four bedrooms, a swimming pool, an annexe in the garden with a sauna and a games room for the kids, and it backed on to fields with horses. We never thought we would get it because it was on the market for offers around £500,000 and we only had £400,000.’
So what happened to their money? Their estate agent told them that if they completed the sale within 10 days the property could be theirs, so the completion went ahead and the £400,000 was transferred into the solicitors account and from there, no one knows where they money went. Mr Humphris suspected something was wrong in September when his solicitor was having trouble with registering the title deeds with the Land Registry and eventually it was evident that their £400,000 had disappeared and the two solicitors had fled.
When the family had found out what had happened they didn’t expect to be left penniless and homeless and their lives now rest in the hands of the Solicitors Regulation Authority who are still investigating the seller’s solicitors company.
Mr Humphris admitted to the Daily Mail that ‘even when we found out what happened, we never thought we would have to give the house back as we hadn’t done anything wrong, but the more court hearings we attended, the more we realise that wasn’t going to happen.’
The SRA have closed the offending solicitors firm but because of a court order, the name can not be given. A spokesman for the SRA has said the company has left other victims short of money as compensation claims have been received relating to the solicitors.
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Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd
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