I am selling my apartment in Devon and the estate agent has just e-mailed to say that the buyers are swapping conveyancer. The reason given is that the bank will only deal with property lawyers on their approved list. On what basis would a big named lender only deal with certain solicitors rather the firm that they want to select for their conveyancing in Devon ?
Lenders have always had an approved set of law firms that can act for them, but in the last few years big names such as Yorkshire Building Society, have reviewed and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have worked with them for more than 25 years.
Lending institutions point to the increase in fraud as the reason for the reduction – criteria have been tightened as a smaller panel is easier to oversee. Banks tend not to disclose how many solicitors have been dropped, claiming the information is commercially sensitive, but the Law Society claims that it is hearing daily from firms that have been removed from panels. Plenty of firms are unaware that they have been dropped until contacted by a borrower who has instructed them as might be the situation in your buyers' case. The buyers are not going to have any sway in the decision.
In what way does my ID and proof of funds have anything to do with my conveyancing in Devon? Why is this being asked of me?
Devon conveyancing solicitors and indeed property lawyers throughout the UK have a duty under money laundering regulations to verify the identity of any client in order to ensure that clients are who they say they are.
Conveyancing clients will need to supply two forms of certified ID; proof of ID (typically a Passport or Driving Licence) and evidence of address (typically a Utility Bill no older than three months).
Evidence of the origin of funds is also required in accordance with the money laundering statutes as conveyancers are mandated to investigate that the funds you are using to purchase a property (whether it be the deposit for exchange or the full purchase price if you are a cash purchaser) has originated from legitimate source (such as an inheritance) rather than the proceeds of illegitimate behaviour.
My wife and I are planning on selling our property in Devon and according to the buyers it appears that there is a risk of it being built on contaminated land. Any high street Devon conveyancer would know this is not the case. For the life of me I don't know why the purchasers are using a factory type conveyancing firm rather than a conveyancing solicitor in Devon. We have lived in Devon for 4 years we know of no issue. Do we get in touch with our local Authority to seek clarification that there is no issue.
It would appear that you have a conveyancing solicitor currently acting for you. What do they say? You must enquire of your lawyer before you do anything. It is very possible that once the local authority has been informed of a potential issue it cannot be insured against (a bit like being diagnosed with a serious illness and then taking out life insurance to cover that same sickness)
Over the last few months I have been searching for a flat up to £245,000 and identified one close by in Devon I like with a park and station nearby, the downside is that it only has 52 years on the lease. I can't really find anything else in Devon suitable, so just wondered if I would be making a mistake acquiring a lease with such few years left?
If you require a mortgage the remaining unexpired lease term may be a potential deal breaker. Reduce the price by the anticipated lease extension will cost if it has not already been discounted. If the current proprietor has owned the premises for at least 2 years you can ask them to start the process of the extension and then assign it to you. An additional ninety years can be extended on to the current lease with a zero ground rent applied. You should consult your conveyancing solicitor concerning this.
Do I have to attend the offices of the mortgage company conveyancing panel solicitor to sign the legal charge? If so, I will choose one who does conveyancing in Devon as it will be easier to pop in to their offices if required.
Most conveyancing panel lawyers for the bank undertake all of the work via the post, internet or over the phone. This means that they can undertake your Conveyancing Transaction no matter where you live in England or Wales. YOu dont have to use a conveyancing solicitor in Devon. it would nevertheless be wise to check if you can still book an appointment to go into appointed conveyancing lawyer if you prefer.