Petition Calls for End to Gazumping

Just over 500 people have signed a petition calling for better protection for property buyers.

The petition, created by Richard Cassidy, calls on Tynwald to create new laws that will protect buyers from facing legal costs if a seller pulls out after an agreement has been reached.

Mr Cassidy’s petition says: ‘Property law on the Isle of Man requires change, so buyers are protected from the heinous act of “gazumping” & sellers are better protected from buyers who may decide to retract from a sale at the very last minute. Whilst neither the vendor or the estate agent in our story, acted outside the realms of the law, we feel the actions to be tragic for so many reasons. Please help us bring about a change to protect both sellers and buyers from having to endure not only financial losses in scenarios such as the one we’ve experienced, but also the almost irreparable emotional damage such actions can cause to families.’

The petition calls on the gov to reform the law with respect of property purchases and sales as follows:

– An offer, once made on a property and where advocacy has been duly instructed by both parties, whereby a ‘memorandum of sale’ has been created, shall, at that point, become a legally binding contract between the buyer and seller.
– If either party of a sale/purchase decides to retract from the process for whatsoever reason, they (the retracting party) shall become fiscally responsible for  legal costs (advocacy & conveyance fees) of the other party, incurred at the point of retraction.

Richard’s Experience

Mr Cassidy explains that he was compelled to create the petition after he and his family found their ‘perfect home’. However, he adds that ’10 days to go before completion, we received a call from our estate agent to inform us that the vendor had pulled out of the sale, after being approached direct by another agent with a cash-buyer’.

He says: ‘At the 11th hour, we were quite simply & royally, “gazumped”; Our hopes and dreams were dashed. CowleyGroves tried so hard to help gain a reverse in the decision by the vendor, putting forward our offer of agreeing to exchange earlier, pay full in cash, paying more, but nothing swayed the decision, the vendor simply didn’t want to consider us anymore and we were given strict instructions by their advocate to cease and desist all communication on the matter.

‘Our kids were devastated, we were devastated; Our house was packed, half our property was already in storage ready for the move, we had a chain behind us with their hopes and dreams pinned on it all happening. So, we did the only honourable thing we could and we completed on the sale of our house, so that our chain (also families with children) didn’t have to suffer the consequences of the actions of our vendor.’

Since then, Mr Cassidy said he and his family have had to stay in temporary accommodation. He adds: ‘However, thanks to the wonderful efforts of some amazing estate agents we have put in an offer on a much smaller (but liveable) house.’

Private Members Bill

Mr Cassidy has also provided an update to his petition, saying that Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Jason Moorhouse has has begun the process of bringing a Private Members Bill to Tynwald, based on the two proposals in his petition.

He said: ‘We want to remind everyone that our petition is to support and protect the buyer ‘and’ the seller. We’ve heard many a terrible story whereby sellers have been treated just as unjustly. Please keep sharing, we have every confidence we’ll make a positive change in our property laws to better serve our island (and many further afield).’

You can find Mr Cassidy’s petition here.

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