Designer loses legal war with 'property queen' over £10.3m home sale
High-flying designer Tiggy Butler loses £520,000 High Court fight with ‘super-prime’ property queen: Estate agent wins case after she refused to pay commission on sale of her £10.3m Regent’s Park mansion to Saudi tycoon
- Tiggy Butler’s home sold for £10.3m in 2021 after dropping from £14.5m in 2016
- Rokstone boss Becky Fatemi sued Ms Butler for not paying £318k commission
A high-flying interior designer has been hit with a £520,000 court bill after losing a legal war on the sale of her £10.3million Regent’s Park mansion.
Tiggy Butler, who specialises in restoring historic multi-million pound homes, took high-end estate agents Rokstone to court over the sale of her London pad to a Saudi Arabian tycoon in February 2021.
Ms Butler claimed she was left £1.75million out of pocket after her Corinthian-style 18th century mansion was sold for £1million below the asking price.
But Rokstone, led by ‘super-prime’ property queen Becky Fatemi, successfully defended its and instead sued Ms Butler for refusing to hand over £318,000 in commission.
Judge Alan Johns dismissed Ms Butler’s case following a five-day hearing at Central London County Court, and ordered her to hand over the unpaid commission and pay Ms Fatemi’s firm’s £210,000 legal bills.
Tiggy Butler (pictured outside court), who specialises in restoring historic multi-million pound homes, claims she was left out of pocket following the sale of her large neo-classical house, which overlooks Regent’s Park in the centre of the capital
The designer lost her legal war at the Central London County Court with ‘super-prime’ property specialist Becky Fatemi (pictured outside court), the boss of Rokstone Ltd, which sold Ms Butler’s property
The judge cleared Rokstone of negligence in failing to contact a wealthy vendor she claimed would have snapped up her property.
READ MORE: Interior designer battles ‘super-prime’ property boss in court claiming she undersold her Regent’s Park mansion for £10.3m and left her £1.75m out of pocket
‘Ms Butler says that if Rokstone had not failed in these respects she would have achieved a better sale price,’ said Judge Johns, before going on to reject the claim.
There was no ‘failure to exercise reasonable skill and care’, said the judge, who added: ‘This argument fails.’
Judge Johns found Rokstone did fail to pass on an £11million offer to Ms Butler in January 2020, but noted that the deal was discussed with her soon after and ‘was not acceptable to her’.
This meant that ‘no loss’ was caused by the estate agents’ actions, the court heard.
The original asking price for Ms Butler’s town house was fixed at £14.5million in 2016, but dropped down after other agents failed to sell the property for several years.
Ms Butler bought the mansion in 2014 and spent two years and tens of thousands of pounds restoring it to its former grandeur before putting it on the market in 2016 for £14.5million.
Ms Fatemi’s agency was instructed in 2019 after the luxury pad failed to sell for three years, despite the efforts of several other agents.
Daniel Petrides, for Rokstone Ltd, told the judge the house still remained unsold in October 2020, by which time Ms Butler was in ‘dire financial straits’ and facing the imminent prospect of the house being repossessed.
The court heard Ms Butler bought her house in Chester Terrace (pictured) in 2014 and spent two years restoring it to its former grandeur before putting it on the market in 2016 for £14.5m. However it failed to sell for three years before Ms Fatemi’s agency was instructed to try and move the property
After being informed of the situation, Ms Fatemi’s agency dropped the asking price to £11.6million and by February 2021 had sold the house and its contents for £10.3million to tycoons from Saudi Arabia.
But Ms Butler subsequently refused to pay the agency the £318,452.01 commission Ms Fatemi claims it is owed.
Stephen Innes, for Ms Butler, told the judge she was unwilling to pay the commission, claiming the contract with the agency is non-enforceable because the terms were not clearly explained to her in writing, as legally prescribed.
Additionally, she claimed Ms Fatemi’s agency in fact owes her money, alleging that a failure to ‘act with reasonable care and skill’ led to her losing money on the sale.
But in the witness box, Ms Fatemi had told the judge that Ms Butler was under ‘serious financial constraints’ by the time the house was finally sold.
‘She was a month away from getting the house repossessed. A lot of our efforts and energy went into making sure that didn’t happen,’ she added.
Lawyers for Rokstone after the judgement hailed the outcome as a ‘complete vindication’.
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