Tue 06 Nov 2012

A Call to Standardise Conveyancing Contracts


Reading comments from many Conveyancing Solicitors on Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson’s call for more progress towards electronic Conveyancing, I was struck by how many called for standardisation of the contract and pre-contract enquiries.

Even if the land registry brought in electronic property transfers, this would not help speed up the pre-contract stages of Conveyancing, when the draft contract is considered, pre-contract enquiries raised and local searches made.

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Fri 02 Nov 2012

A Small Relief for Homebuyers – Lower Land Registry fees

It should come as welcome news to anyone buying a home that one of the charges involved is actually being reduced. As from the 22nd October, the land registry has reduced the fees it charges for registering property transfers and other services.

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Tue 23 Oct 2012

Japanese Knotweed - House sales could be scuppered by alien flora


As if selling a house wasn’t difficult enough with the present state of the property market, a new scare has the potential to stop property sales in their tracks.  

Buyers are pulling out as property survey reports reveal the presence of Japanese knotweed growing in the garden, or even a neighbour’s garden, and lenders are also refusing mortgages.

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Mon 22 Oct 2012

Law Society chief criticises delay in introduction of electronic Conveyancing

Failing to 'digitise' Conveyancing could damage the UK economy, according to Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson

Mr Hudson criticised the land registry for shelving its 'e-conveyancing' project last year, when addressing a recent UN Economic Commission for Europe event on the role of land registration in economic recovery.

The Law Society Gazette reports that he also warned about the lack of security in present title transfer arrangements, contrasting the position in England to that in other EU countries with national electronic identity systems.

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Thu 18 Oct 2012

What is a house? The Supreme Court’s landmark decision

When is a house not a house? No, not some dreadful joke from a Christmas cracker, but a question which the Supreme Court had to consider in two recent cases. *

The Court concluded that although the buildings in question were built and originally occupied as houses, they stopped being houses when they were subsequently converted to offices or other uses. Consequently, the leaseholders of the properties were not entitled to buy the freehold under the Leasehold Reform Act 1967.

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Mon 08 Oct 2012

Increased mortgage availability should be good news for home-buyers


A recent survey by the Bank of England has delivered what should be good news for home-buyers, suggesting that the availability of mortgage is expected to increase significantly over the next three months. The fragile state of the mortgage market has depressed the housing market for some years, but with some lenders now in a more upbeat mood, the situation should improve.

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Fri 05 Oct 2012

New law against squatters starts to bite

At least three cases have now been reported of police using the new law which makes squatting in residential property a criminal offence. In Brighton and London arrests were made, and at least one of the offenders has already been sent to prison.  

Meanwhile in Southend-on-Sea police used their powers under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (2012) to enter property being occupied by squatters, and secure vacant possession for the owner.

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Thu 04 Oct 2012

Broadband speed a priority for homebuyers

If you want to sell your home fast, forget painting everywhere magnolia or enticing buyers with the smell of freshly roasted coffee. These days, the trick seems to be a fast broadband connection.

According to a recent survey a survey of 1, 500 homebuyers, carried out by and property expert Henry Pryor, fast broadband is now more important to buyers than having off-street parking or local amenities.

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Wed 03 Oct 2012

Land value tax – one way to remedy the housing crisis?


It is clear to most people that there is a housing crisis in the UK. But would a land value tax, as proposed by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, help to remedy this? 

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Tue 02 Oct 2012

Would Ed Balls’ stamp duty cut really help the housing market?

A stamp duty cut for first-time homebuyers looks like just another empty promise from Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls. Speaking at this year’s Labour Party conference, he said that he would use money from the sale of 4G mobile phone licences to fund a two-year stamp duty holiday for purchases below £250, 000, as well as promising 100, 000 affordable new homes.  

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