Conveyancers on both sides of a transaction are liable for the actions of a rogue seller who committed a £470,000 property fraud, the High Court has ruled.
His Honour Judge Pelling said that Windsor firm A’Court & Co made no serious attempt to comply with anti-money laundering regulations to prevent the fraud, and, critically, obtained no documentation linking the seller to the property.
Pelling also ruled that the buyer’s conveyancer, north-west London firm House Owners Conveyancers Limited (HOC), was responsible for not drawing attention to any concerns after asking whether the purported owner was entitled to sell the property.
The decision tested the reasonableness of a seller conveyancer’s conduct where there was no allegation of dishonesty or fraud against him or her. The judge ruled against both firms and said they should bear an equal part of the loss.