Commercial Conveyancing FAQs

Simple answers to your most common questions

ASAP. Regulation 5(2) of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) regulations requires the relevant person to make the EPC available to a prospective buyer at the 'earliest opportunity'.

Therefore an agent who has a HIP (including an EPC) in his possession is under a duty to inform a prospective buyer who shows an interest in the property that the EPC (at least) is available for inspection. In theory this should apply even if the HIP has not been asked for by the prospective buyer.

Yes. The  HIP regulations state that EPC should be attached to the paper particulars or, alternatively, for the EPC graphs to be included in them. This also applies to electronic versions of particulars available on estate agency websites and property portals.

HIP searches may be supplied by the appropriate  local authority or a private search company and must satisfy the requirements of the HIP regulations. These set out the information that is required for a search to be valid for inclusion in the HIP and the minimum standards that must be met. The search provider and the information they provide must be backed by insurance and buyers and their mortgage lenders will have a legal right to rely on the searches required to be in the HIP.

When buying a new home, you need to check whether it is a leasehold property or freehold property. Many home buyers do not understand the differences; a qualified Conveyancing Solicitor can help you understand your rights and responsibilities.

What is a Leasehold property?

Leasehold ownership of a flat simply refers to a long tenancy (the right to own, occupy and use a flat for a long period known as the 'term' of the lease).

The energy performance information required under regulation 8(b) or 8(c) should be included in the Pack when marketing begins and this is dealt with under regulation 14(2) and regulation 17 (documents required within 28 days of marketing).

Lease extension conveyancing lawyers over the last 20 years have anticipated a significant legislative move towards making lease extensions easier and cheaper for residential leasehold owners. In reality, over the last 2 decades it has only become marginally easier to qualify for a lease extension, however, the calculations remain as complex as ever and it has certainly not become any less expensive.

Enfranchisement or Freehold Enfranchisement is also sometimes termed Freehold Purchase. All these terms refer to increasing the value of your flat by collectively with other flat owners buying the freehold of your block . It applies to residential flats
  • To make it possible to grant to residents who participate long leases, possibly with no ground rent.
  • To allow the residents to take control of the management. Many Management Companies consult you only when major works are planned. Own the freehold and you can oversee those major works and all other expenditure on your property.
  • To make it more attractive when you want to sell a flat (the psychological benefit of having a flat with share of freehold)

Many flat owners who are conveyancing clients understandably do not appreciate the difference between leasehold and freehold. When you buy a flat you buy a lease, which is in effect a long-term rental contract. The freeholder owns the building and when each lease expires, the freeholder is entitled to have the flat back and create a new lease that may then be sold to someone else, subject to your rights to a short lease.

If the main reason for acquiring the freehold is a shortening lease, once the freehold has been acquired it may then be necessary to complete the lease extension, typically to 999 years. At the same time the ground rent may be abolished and clauses in the lease that have caused problems in the past may be altered or even deleted. It may even be appropriate for a new lease to be drafted.

If the management company has been appointed by your freeholder, once you have taken over the freehold you will be able to replace the company with another of your choosing if you wish. Again, Leasehold Solutions can provide detailed guidance in individual cases. If your management company is already run by residents, this situation will probably continue after freehold acquisition. Maintenance arrangements are unaffected by lease extension.
You can if you wish, but they will invariably get worse. The shorter a lease becomes, the more expensive it becomes to rectify the problem later. We have heard of examples of the costs at least doubling within a few years, particularly where lease lengths have slipped below the critical 80-year level. By completing a lease extension or acquiring the freehold and making subsequent lease or management changes, the saleability and value of the property will be enhanced.
You may both need to want to buy as 51% need to qualify for a freehold purchase application to be forced. If there are only two flats in a building, both flats must participate. If the other flat wants to participate but cannot afford to do so, you can still acquire the freehold; perhaps by a loan to the other Leaseholder. What matters is that they sign offers and are a beneficiary of the freehold during the conveyancing process. If the freeholder owns one of the flats you will never be able to compel the freeholder to sell a share.
No. Your flats will still be leasehold and the leases will still apply. However, residents will be in control of administering the service charges etc. Any problems with the leases can usually be corrected. Leases can be extended.

To a certain extent the answer to this question depends on the state of the property market. During the 1990's and indeed up until 2008 when it was very much a seller’s market one would often find the seller and their conveyancing lawyer placing the onus on the buyer and their property lawyer to deal with the lease extension following completion.

Yes. When you come to sell your property the chances are that a buyer will have a mortgage. The tendency over the last few months has been for lenders to tighten their requirements for the minimum number of years remaining under the lease (please see http://www.cml.org.uk/handbook/frontpage. aspx) and the fact that you have a share of the freehold does not mean that the buyer’s conveyancing lawyer will not be concerned about the remaining number of years under the lease.

If you own a share of freehold (as mentioned above) it is unlikely that you will have to pay anything for a lease extension but obviously please check with your co-freeholder or co-director in case of a share of freehold. Other than in the case of a share of freehold where no premium is paid the valuation formula is complex. The calculation is one which is primarily based on ground rents and yields and length of the unexpired lease.

As the length of the expired term of the lease falls then so does it's value. If the lease has, for example, more than 90 years to remain under the lease then the decrease may be slow but when it comes to less than 80 years the decrease will become significant. It is worth bearing in mind the following points:
Unless you are negotiating a specific timeframe with the landlord or managing agent the lease extension will be 90 years on top of the remaining years that exist.
You will have to pay your professional costs which will include your surveyor’s costs as well as your conveyancing solicitor’s fees. In very complex cases you may possibly need a Barrister. Estimates should be obtained. Importantly, you should note that if you do serve notice on your landlord then you will be liable for the reasonable conveyancing costs of your landlord in connection with any investigation the landlord is required to carry out, including obtaining a valuation on your flat and negotiating the grant of the new lease to you.

Yes. That being said, if your seller qualifies for a lease extension she can start the process for you and on completion transfer the benefit of her claim - you would then have the right to extend your lease immediately. If your conveyancing lawyer is unfamiliar with this procedure feel free to speak to our Lease Extension Team to see if we can help with the preparation of the necessary documentation

Yes. but, you will have to pay your freeholder’s wasted legal fees and valuation costs. Please also note that you will not be able to serve a further notice of claim within one year from the date you withdraw

In an ideal world the property you are buying or selling would be empty, freehold, chain free and there would be no mortgage required.   Under these unlikely circumstances the Conveyancing could be wrapped up in a few days.

In all probability some if not all of these factors will exist in a transaction and as a result a typical conveyancing will between 4 and 6 weeks to get to the point of exchanging contracts.   A further 2 to 3 weeks is likely between exchange of contracts and completion.

If you are planning on obtaining a mortgage, your lender will send a valuer to inspect your property.

If  the property is empty the seller may well allow access to the property before completion. The usual reason is that there is essential work which needs to be carried out. If access is required please notify us as soon as possible so that a request can be made to the Sellers' property solicitors. If this is to be agreed (and more often than not it is refused) access is normally permitted provided exchange of contracts has taken place, paid a deposit and signed a key undertaking.

Fridaysmove will always try to accommodate quick completions but only where circumstances permit. A quick completion depends on the willingness of all the parties involved in the Conveyancing transaction to work towards this together. This includes your buyer, their property solicitors and also any mortgage companies involved.

No. As with any profession or trade each individual will be different. Some conveyancing lawyers are self-employed and some work in small business or in large conveyancing firms. Some will offer a wider range of services than others and they will all have their own set of fees and business practices.  Some are Licensed Conveyancers and some are Conveyancing Solicitors.

Although they are not Conveyancing Solicitors, Licensed Conveyancers have undertaken specialist training, and hold professional indemnity insurance for clients' protection.

Many estate agents in the UK refer clients to a Conveyancing lawyer. There is nothing wrong with this practice so long as it is based on the professionalism and expertise of the Conveyancer . If you don’t know a Conveyancer then this referral may be helpful to you.

Sometimes the vendor offers the property to more than one purchase usually on the basis that the first one to exchange contracts gets the property. The vendor via their property lawyer is obliged to inform the parties concerned if contracts have gone out to more than one purchaser. If you lose out on a contract race you cannot claim your lost expenses from the vendor.

Yes! If you have previously made a will, then you also might like to think about amending it since your financial position will almost certainly have changed and you may have widened your responsibility to others. To discuss either making a will, or revising an existing one please call us.

A Licensed Conveyancer is a regulated professional qualified and educated to provide expert legal advice regarding conveyancing law. Licensed Conveyancers don’t handle a wide range of legal matters that solicitors deal with, such as criminal matters divorces, litigation etc. . and are therefore able to focus specifically on issues to do with property. Conveyancing is the most important thing we do because that’s all we do!

Following registration of your ownership at HM Land Registry which  takes a few weeks, although the Land Registry does state that it will aim to complete all registrations within a period of 5 weeks. The time frame can fluctuate though depending on how busy the individual Land Registry is. Title to land is now electronically recorded so you will now receive a print out from the Land Registry evidencing registration in your name rather than a physical bundle of deeds.

Unless you have a prior alternative arrangement with your estate agent that you have told us about, Fridays will pay their fees on your behalf out of the net sale proceeds of your property.

No.   We do seek your consent before exchange of contracts, but we do not need you to be present for exchange of contracts.

Not necessarily. Fridaysmove  may not always be the cheapest but remember that you only receive what you pay for - If you opt  cheap conveyancing you may receive a cheap service.

If you are purchasing, instruct your Conveyancing Lawyers or Solicitors before you make an offer as the Estate Agents will want your Solicitor’s details when your offer is accepted.

If you are selling instruct your Conveyancing Lawyers or Solicitors prior to putting the property on the market .


No. The conveyancing contract will provide for "vacant possession"  which means you must move out on the day of completion and clear the property of all your furniture and belongings. Usually the contract states a specific deadline on the completion date such as 2pm. If you fail to give "vacant possession" the purchaser may sue you for breach of contract.

This is a matter for agreement between buyer and seller, once all the practicalities are arranged. Once the buyer’s  property solicitor or conveyancing  has confirmed that all the searches, mortgage, proof of ownership and contract are in order, and provided there is sufficient time to obtain monies from the lender, the decision on the completion date is over to the buyer/seller.

Usually a seller will complete a Fixtures and Fittings Form outlining the items  to be included in the sale. This will normally be attached to the Contract. The buyer’s property solicitor or conveyancing lawyer should send this to the buyer to check this carefully. The seller is entitled to  remove any ‘fittings' but must leave any ‘fixtures'. A fixture is generally something that is attached to the property such as kitchen units, or doors and garden gates. A fitting is something that is free standing, like a wardrobe.

Regardless of whether stamp duty is payable, all ‘land transactions’ must be notified to the Inland Revenue on an SDLT Form. The form is an eight-page self-assessment tax form, which gives all the details of the Conveyancing transaction. Fridaysmove will do this on your behalf because it is lengthy and can be complicated and there is a penalty if it is not submitted in time or complete it incorrectly. Our terms and conditions for details our fees for this .

These are third party fees and have nothing to do with the Conveyancing quote itself. Whichever Conveyancing firm that  you instruct to deal with your Conveyancing, these charges should be the same.  They include Land Registry fees, local search fees and banking fees. Local search fees vary depending on the local authority’s price structure.

Yes, Our right to buy conveyancing team can deal with your purchase conveyancing of the property from the Council. You will need to return your Acceptance Notice to the Council together with confirmation that Fridaysmove are acting for you. The council will send us with the relevant paperwork to enable us to deal with your right to buy conveyancing.

The fact is that in 99 per cent of Conveyancing transactions there are no problems on completion. There are a couple of things you can do to help the completion process go more smoothly but you cant eliminate the risk completely as a chain will only complete as fast as the slowest party in the link.

First make sure your Conveyancing lawyer gets all the money they need together the day before; it will be you that has to pay the interest after all so they should not give you any major problems. You should be sent a completion statement a few days before completion.

Because the lease is new does not mean that it is correct or compliant with mortgage lenders requirements and  we will, need to carefully review the terms of the lease. Some conveyancing may well take the view " if its new it was probably looked at so on the balance of probabilities it should be fine ". That is simply not the Friday's approach. Remember a lease is a diminishing asset. The lender will want to know the length of the unexpired residue of the term. As a general rule, a lender will not lend against a lease with less than 60 years remaining at the date of the mortgage.

Particular problems can arise with a management company. In recent times the convention is for a developer to construct the property, grant the leases and then retain the freehold interest to reap the benefit of the payment of the annual ground rents. The developer will, however, pass the bulk of the obligations such as insurance, repair etc. to a management company.

It often a good idea for leaseholders to first informally approach the freeholder to try and acquire the freehold reversion of their building. This is an  issue of informal negotiation. No legal right to purchase the freehold exists and consequently you cannot apply to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal to determine any terms.

However, depending on the nature of any agreement it may be enforceable through a County Court. Fridaysmove leasehold extension team would be happy to talk to you prior to any informal negotiations.

A landlord has the right to charge a reasonable administrative fee for varying a lease along with a fee for retaining a property solicitor and even a surveyor. This could of course run into thousands of pounds. If the lease variation diminishes the value of the landlord's interest in the building the landlord may be entitled to be compensation.

Not necessarily, you are welcome to come and see us if you want to, but most conveyancing transactions can be completed by phone, fax, email and post

The conveyancers at Fridays are available to speak to during normal working hours and quite often are available evenings or the weekends.   The response time for returning calls in relation to messages left is currently one and a half hours.

Fridaysmove deliver No Move, No Fee residential property conveyancing across England and Wales, at a guaranteed Fixed Fee rate.

If you have different requirements such as commercial, industrial, agricultural property, call us on 0330 660 0286 and our specialists will be able to handle your enquiry personally.

Get an instant, online quote and instruct a residential Conveyancing Solicitor today.

Leasehold conveyancing transactions usually involve additional investigations than freeholds including investigating the Lease, liaising with the Landlord such as serving appropriate notices on the Landlord or managing agent, obtaining up-to-date service charge and management information, obtaining Landlord’s consents and reviewing management accounts.

New Build properties involve, in many cases, adoption of highways, drains, investigation of building regulation approval, planning permissions, building warranties such as NHBC, a division of land, etc. .   Often, when buying off a developer direct, strict timeframes are also imposed.

 

Yes.   Lawyers keep the estate agent up to date with information unless you specifically confirm that you do not want them informed as to the progress of the conveyancing transaction.

The only safe time to hand in notice or arrange for moving at the point of exchange of contracts.   Until that specific stage in the conveyancing transaction, there is nothing contractually binding and either party can withdraw from the transaction.   Do not make any arrangements that could cost you money if the conveyancing transaction does not go ahead.   Whilst we appreciate that this can be difficult, and can add to the stress of the process, it is important advice tha

Fridaysmove pride ourselves in being as proactive as possible in driving the transactions through as quickly as possible.   We fully appreciate that the longer a conveyancing transaction drags on, the more chance there is of a transaction falling apart.   We have always prided ourselves as having low abort rates compared to the industry standard.  

The short answer is " as soon as possible ". Please note that we are not property or Conveyancing Solicitors - we are Licensed Conveyancers.  For more information on the difference read about Conveyancing Solicitors.

You may use either a Solicitor or a Conveyancer for your conveyancing - provided they are licensed by their respective licensing bodies.  

After the contracts for the sale and purchase have been signed and all the are ready, we telephone the buyers/sellers conveyancing solicitors or property lawyers and exchange contracts.   This is done using a specific formula under Law Society Guidelines and all solicitors exchange contracts in the same way.   Once contracts have been exchanged the transaction is legally binding.

At the outset of your conveyancing it is important that you explain your own personal situation and exactly what you want. You should explain anything that may have an influence on your conveyancing. Finance needs to be discussed and any time limits preferred.

Sometimes your conveyancing solicitor or lawyer may be able to assist you in obtaining your finance. Advise your conveyancing lawyer of any details even if you feel it may not be relevant as your conveyancer will be able to decide what is important.

The Local Authority will not be interested in the existence of restrictions in Title Deeds. The Local Planning Authority is obliged only to take note of planning-related matters.

Unregistered land is now rare and not all conveyancing firms can handle unregistered land sale or purchase. Put simply unregistered land is land which has not yet been formally registered at the Land Registry. The main reason land remains 'unregistered' is that the property hasn't been sold/mortgaged since 1990, as registration was not compulsory until that time.

DIY Conveyancing is not generally advisable; a qualified Solicitor will have the legal knowledge and experience necessary to handle your transaction, ensuring that all issues and concerns are dealt with. Leasehold transactions, for example,  are more complex and the lease should be carefully reviewed by a solicitor that is familiar with these types of agreements and what to look out for. A home purchase is a significant investment and it is not worth taking any risks that can adversely affect you in the future.

Until 20 years ago in the UK, property solicitors were the only people who undertook conveyancing work but that is no longer the case.

In 2009, there are licensed conveyancers who are specialists in property law and are qualified to assist home buyers and sellers with all type of conveyancing transactions.

While saving money is top of most people's agenda when buying or selling property, there are a number of other important considerations when deciding whether to choose a property solicitor or a conveyancer for your conveyancing work:

Make contact with your conveyancing solicitor or property lawyer   as soon as possible. If you have a mortgage, your conveyancer need your account number as your lender may hold the deeds to your home. You will also need to send a copy of the HIP to your conveyancer as they will need to send this to the buyer’s property solicitor.

We will send you a Seller's Property Information Form and Fixtures Fittings and Form to fill in.

I most cases, you will be a "Qualifying leaseholder", if your original lease was more than 21 years, you've had it for more than two years, when originally granted and your property is not Crown, national trust property or a building within a cathedral precinct  Shared ownership leases only qualify if your share, as leaseholder, is 100%.

If you have your HIP through Fridaysmove and are taking a property of the market the please do let us know.  

A HIP is valid for one year from the date that the property is first marketed. You can take the property off the market and put it on again within a year using the same HIP. There is no obligation on you or Fridaysmove to renew anything in your HIP. If something significant happens whilst the property is on the market, then you may choose to do so, but it is the responsibility of the buyer's solicitor to check if any documents need renewing.

You can vary any of the terms of your lease by agreement. In addition, you have the right to apply to a Leasehold Valuation Tribunal (LVT) on specific grounds to vary your lease.

(please speak to a member of our leasehold conveyancing team about the specific terms you would like changed).

The price payable for a lease extension includes three elements:

  1. the reduction in the value of the landlords’ interests in your flat affected by giving you a lease extension of 90 years
  2. half of any marriage value that may be payable. However, there will be no marriage value payable if your lease has more than 80 years to run
  3. compensation to your landlord for severance or other losses.

 

No. There is no requirement or authorisation to include in the HIP a legal assessment of the Pack contents, so this isn’t something that we include in the HIP, There is nothing to prevent such assessments being provided alongside the HIP and this is something we can provide at extra cost. Please speak to one of our HIP team. If you would like a legal opinion on your HIP.

It is important to remember that the Home Information Pack is a legal document. You should therefore make sure that the HIP company you choose to provide the Pack is both competent and properly insured. Why would you chose anyone other than a legal firm ?

NO! The estate agent will normally have an arrangement with a property solicitor or conveyancing lawyer and they will receive an introducer fee for introducing you to them.

We have found that generally the conveyancing quotes provided through estate agents are very high, simply because the property solicitor or conveyancing lawyer will probably need to pay the introducer fee and secondly, the estate agent is not comparing conveyancing quotes, they will normally provide one conveyancing quote only.

A leasehold owners obligations in respect of service charges will be regulated by the provisions of your lease. You or your property solicitor will have to review your lease to examine what was said about service charges. Most leases will specify the percentage to be paid by each flat. In some leases, however, the service charge is said the based on a “fair proportion” of the total expenditure. Such a clause is not particularly helpful. It would sensible to ask your landlord or managing agent as to what the service charge percentage is for the whole block.

Probate is used to describe the process of applying to administer (or run) a deceased persons estate - usually in connection with making sure that any beneficiaries of a Will (or in the absence of a Will those determined by rules of Intestacy) inherit the correct assets, and taxes are paid. It is also described as Estate Administration.

Some Probate and Estate Administration specialists (and Will writers) have been accused of overcharging people in a vulnerable position.  Even some large companies and institutions such as Solicitors and Banks have been accused of quite serious overcharging and hidden extras in their quotes for fees.

Usually, if an estate has no Inheritance Tax to pay, it will be an excepted estate. However, this is not always the case. Some estates that don't owe Inheritance Tax aren't excepted estates, and you must fill in a full Inheritance Tax account (form IHT400).

For deaths after 1 September 2006, the estate will generally be an excepted estate if one of the following applies:

Estate Administration is a word you will often hear in connection with Probate.  It refers to the process of collating the assets of a deceased person (Property, Shares, etc. . ), making appropriate arrangements with institutions (Pension companies, Banks, etc. . ), dealing with any debts of the deceased, dealing with any person or institution that owes the deceased any monies, creating Estate Accounts, distributing the Assets in accordance with the Will (or the rules of Intestacy), and paying any Taxes due.

If you die intestate, it means that you die without having executed legally valid will, or, the will cannot be found.

If someone dies without a will, then the estate is passed on according to law, this is normally to the next of kin. It is worth noting that the rules of intestacy which may result in people inheriting property contrary to the descendant's wishes.

A living will enables you to make important advance decisions about medical treatment that you may or may not be prepared to accept in the future.

Some people consider making a Living will for a number of reasons, for example because they have a terminal illness or on grounds of religious beliefs.

As is the case with all wills, Living Wills should be assessed regularly.

The role of an executor carries legal responsibility. The liability not only extends to the need to pay inheritance tax  but also responsibility  for administering the estate according to the wishes of the Will and the Rules of Intestacy.  

What is FirstBuy?

FirstBuy is a new government scheme offering financial assistance for first-time buyers.

Those who qualify will be able to apply for a loan-to-value mortgage for 75% of the property’s worth, with only a 5% deposit.

The remaining 20% of the value will be offered as an “equity loan”, which the buyer must pay back either when the home is sold (or after 25 years).