Email signature slip-up costs land seller £25,000

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A lawyer has cost a client selling land £25,000 with a slip up over an automated electronic signature.

The lawyer sent an email confirming the sale for £175,000 by email with an auto-generated signature block – and later tried to back out of the deal claiming no contracts had been signed by both parties as demanded in law.

But in the High Court, Judge Pearce, sitting in Manchester, ruled the electronic signature was as good as a handwritten version, making the contract legally binding.

“The purported signature of the solicitor on behalf of the defendant was by ‘automatic’ generation of his name, occupation, role and contact details at the foot of an email,” said the judge.

He also argued not all the email correspondence in the case from the lawyer included the auto-signature and he had signed off “many thanks” at the end of the email text, which showed “an intention to connect the name with the contents of the email”.

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“I am satisfied that he signed the relevant email on behalf of the defendant,” said the judge.

The court ordered the seller to complete the land purchase for £175,000.

Landlords wary of tax changes

UK tax changes have triggered a fifth of landlords to slim down their property portfolios, according to a new survey.

Half of the 200 landlords approached agreed tax changes and tougher mortgage borrowing criteria have thwarted their plans to buy more properties, while 15% admitted they had been put off buying homes to rent.

A third who still wanted to invest are considering a switch from buy to let to peer-to-peer lending secured against property, while 8% have already done so.

The research was carried out by Fitzrovia Finance, a P2P lending platform.

The tax changes include a 3% landlord surcharge on Stamp Duty, the scrapping of 40% mortgage interest relief and capital gains tax rates enhanced by 8% for residential property investors.

Landlords plagued by silly complaints

One in four landlords are spending unnecessary time and money dealing with silly complaints from renters, claims a study by a buy to let lender.

The Mortgage Lender research highlights tenants want landlords to handle ‘nonsensical’ complaints like changing lightbulbs, which they should and could do for themselves.

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