Last May we completed a house move in Berkshire. We have noticed several issues with the house which we consider were missed in the conveyancing searches. Do we have any recourse? Can you clarify the type of searches that needed to have been conducted for conveyancing in Berkshire?
It is not clear from the question as what problems have arisen and if they are specific to conveyancing in Berkshire. Conveyancing searches and investigations initiated during the legal transfer of property are supposed to help avoid problems. As part of the legal transfer of property, a property owner fills in a questionnaire called a SPIF. answers provided is incorrect, you could possibly take legal action against the owner for any losses that you have suffered. The survey should have identified any problems with the structure of the property. Assuming a detailed survey was carried out and the issues were not identified, you may have a claim against the surveyor. However, if you did not have a full survey, you may be responsible for fixing any defects that have now been noted. We would always encourage buyers to take every possible step to ensure they are completely aware of the condition of a property before purchase regardless of whether they are buying in Berkshire.
My aunt passed away 10 months ago and as sole heir and executor I was left the property in Berkshire. The house had a relatively small loan left on it of around £5k. I want to have the title changed into my name whilst I re-mortgage to HSBC, pay off the mortgage. Is this allowed?
If you plan to refinance then HSBC will insist on your using a conveyancer on the HSBC conveyancing panel. Here is link to the Land Registry online guidance around what to do when a property owner dies. This will help you to understand the registration process behind changing the details re the registered title. in your case it would appear that you are effectively purchasing the property from the estate. Your HSBC conveyancing panel solicitor pays the new mortgage money into the estate, the estate pays off the old mortgage, the charge is released and you become the owner and the HSBC mortgage is registered as a charge at the Land Registry.
A relative recommended that if I am purchasing in Berkshire I should ask my conveyancer to execute a Neighbourhood, Planning and Local Amenity Search. Can you explain what the purpose of this search is?
This is a search is usually included in the estimate for your Berkshire conveyancing searches. It is a large report of more than thirty pages, listing and detailing significant information about Berkshire around the property and the people living there. It includes an Aerial Photograph, Planning Applications, Land Use, Mobile Phone Masts, Rights of Way, the local Housing Market, Council Tax Banding, the type of People living in the area, the dominant type of Housing, the Average Property Price, Crime statistics, Berkshire Education with plans and statistics, Local Amenities and other useful data about Berkshire.
I used Wolstenholmes several years past for my conveyancing in Berkshire. I now require my file however the law firm is no longer operating. What do I do?
You should contact the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) to assist in tracing your conveyancing files. They can be contacted on please contact on 0870 606 2555. Alternatively, you should use their online form to make an enquiry. You will need to provide the SRA with as much information as possible to assist their search, including the name and address in Berkshire of the conveyancing firm of solicitors you previously hired, the name of conveyancing solicitor with whom you had dealings, and the date on which you last had dealings with the firm.
Is it best to use a Berkshire conveyancing lawyer in close proximity to the house I am buying? I have an old university friend who can deal with the conveyancing however his firm is located a couple of hundredkilometers away.
The benefit of a local Berkshire conveyancing firm is that you can visit the firm to execute paperwork, hand in your ID and apply pressure on them if necessary. They will also have local intelligence which is a plus. However it's more important to get someone that will do a good and efficient job. If you know people who instructed your friend and in the main were impressed that should surpass using an unknown Berkshire conveyancing lawyer solely due to them being round the corner.