Top tips for choosing a Solicitor in Leicester

If you are buying or selling a home in or around Leicester, it will benefit you to have a Solicitor who really knows the area. Local knowledge makes a big difference and Fridaysmove's panel of Conveyancing Solicitors in Leicester will have significant local knowledge of the Leicester area as well as the technical experience to bring a speedy completion to your home move.

It’s good to know that your Solicitor knows Leicester.   With extensive experience of property sales and purchases in Leicester and the adjoining areas, as well as first-class legal expertise, your Solicitor is well-placed to give you excellent service.   Having found the house they want to buy, most home-buyers now want quick completion of the legal formalities. Knowing which authorities to contact for the various property searches means time can be saved.

It pays to let your Solicitor know as soon as possible that you want him or her to act for you. Make sure that you complete and send any forms which may have been required, also send ID documents as requested, as your Solicitor cannot carry out any work for you until these have been received.

If you are selling, don’t forget to complete the property information forms and return them straight away, as this will help your Solicitor to move the sale forward. These forms can be somewhat intimidating, but you should always feel free to contact your Solicitor for help if you have any queries.

Is your property title registered? The Land Registry in Leicester:   

Title to most homes in Leicester and the surrounding areas will now be registered with the Land Registry Leicester Office, Westbridge Place, Leicester LE3 5DR. (http://www.landregistry.gov.uk/) which enables Conveyancing Solicitors to download copies of the register direct from the Registry’s business portal.

Title registration has been compulsory on all purchases within the City of Leicester from 1957, but in some of the other parts of the Leicester urban area such as Oadby, Wigston and Blaby, registration was only made compulsory in 1977, so if a house has not changed hands since then the title may still be unregistered. That does not present any problem to your Conveyancing Solicitor, but if you are selling it will be necessary for your solicitor to have the title deeds, usually a bundle of documents including Conveyances, mortgages and other documents dealing with previous transfers of the property.

Purchases in Leicester – the need for planning and other searches:

If you are buying a property, your Conveyancing Solicitor will carry out a variety of searches to ensure that you will not have any nasty surprises once you have bought your home.   The most important is the local search; for property within the boundaries of Leicester City Council, this is carried out with the City’s Legal Services department at, New Walk Centre A9, Welford Place, Leicester LE1 6ZG.

For other adjacent areas in the Leicester urban area which are not within  the City boundaries, searches are sent to the appropriate local authority.

These searches cover a wide variety of areas for which local authorities are responsible, especially planning and highways matters. The search will provide details of any planning consents granted within recent years, as well as any planning notices served by the council. It will also state whether or not the road adjoining the property is a publicly adopted highway, as well as giving details of any planned major road or rail schemes within the vicinity of the house.
A search will also be made with Severn-Trent Water to check that a house is connected to mains water and drainage. Although it would be unlikely that any property in Leicester is not connected, the search result will include plans showing the nearest mains sewers in the vicinity. The drainage of many residential properties is not direct to a public sewer, but drainage pipes may run under several adjacent houses before connecting to a sewer. This means that the Solicitor will need to check that there are appropriate rights to use and maintain any drains in someone else’s land.

Environmental searches – checks on potential pollution in Leicester

Your Solicitor will obtain an environmental search.   Leicester has a long history of industrial activity, and although many industries have now disappeared or moved to out-of-town locations, land may still be contaminated or affected by previous industrial pollution. Former industrial sites may have been redeveloped for residential use, and the previous use may not now be apparent. However an environmental search will show if there is any previous use recorded which might give rise to concern. The search will also reveal any current industrial use within the vicinity of a property.

Chancel searches – a medieval anomaly

For many years Conveyancers were aware that some properties might be liable to contribute to the cost of repairing the chancel of their parish church. The legal basis for such liability extends back to medieval times, and it was generally considered that, apart from a few cases where the title deeds clearly indicated such a liability, the likelihood of property owners receiving any demands was extremely remote. It was also thought doubtful that any such payments could still be lawfully demanded. However a law case some years ago decided that a property owner was liable for a substantial demand for major repairs to the parish church, and in that case their final bill ran into millions.

Although the government then announced changes so that any unrecorded liability should not arise after 2013, Conveyancing Solicitors still usually make searches which will indicate if a property is potentially liable for such charges. This liability is most likely to arise in places where churches have existed since medieval times, such as the long-established city of Leicester.

Is your Leicestershire home at risk from flooding?

With greater concern about flooding, Solicitors will check if your property in Leicester is in an area where there is a higher risk of flooding. Properties which have suffered from flooding in the past or are in high risk areas can be difficult to insure, which will affect their value.

Flats and similar property – checking leases

There are many flats and similar properties in Leicester. These will generally be owned with leasehold title, as this provides legal machinery for maintenance and repair of the building structure, and any shared areas. Conveyancing Solicitors recommended by Fridaysmove have wide experience of all types of leasehold property transactions, and will be able to provide expert advice.

If you are buying a leasehold flat, you will want to know that satisfactory management arrangements are in place. Your Solicitor will want the sellers to obtain management information from the landlords or their agents.

For flats in larger blocks, the building will usually be managed by a company which arranges for any maintenance and decorating to be carried out, as well as lighting and cleaning common parts and services. They will recoup the cost by levying a service charge on all flat-owners. Buyer’s Solicitors will check that the seller has paid these charges for previous years, and will also obtain accounts so that they can advise of the likely amount payable. Solicitors will also ascertain whether any major works have recently been carried out or are planned in the near future, which could lead to the buyer receiving a large bill.

It is also important for Conveyancing Solicitors to check the actual terms and provisions of the lease; all leases are individual, and buyers must be informed of their contents, especially if there are any provisions which might cause problems. For instance many leases contain covenants prohibiting the flat-owner from keeping pets, and most contain restrictions on carrying out alterations or improvements. Your Solicitor will check that there aren’t any existing breaches of covenant.

Will you get a share in the freehold title?

Where the seller has a share in the freehold title, or owns a share in a company that owns the freehold, your Conveyancing Solicitor will carry out all the necessary work so that the sellers’ share is transferred to you. If the seller has a share in the freehold, then it will usually be necessary for the freehold title to be transferred so that an additional application will have to be made to the land registry.

Exchange of Contracts and Completion

Once your Solicitor has received the result of all these searches and replies to further enquiries from the seller’s solicitors they will be able to report to you and the purchase will rapidly be completed. Wherever your property in Leicester, and whatever type of property, you can expect one of Fridaysmove ’s panel of Conveyancing Solicitors to have all the local knowledge and legal expertise to help make your purchase or sale as quick and painless as possible.

It is often said that buying or selling a house is one of the most stressful events in their lives, so having a legal expert on your side with familiarity of where your property is located can help reduce the stress. One of the things you can be sure of is that with Fridaysmove you will not be paying more than you have to in legal costs.

A quote from Fridaysmove covers all Conveyancing work normally anticipated in a house-purchase or sale in the Leicester area, including legal costs in connection with any mortgage. There are no hidden fees, and you will be told all the fees payable, such as search fees, stamp duty and land registry fees, at the start.