My husband and I are planning to buy a house in Durham and have appointed a Durham conveyancing firm. Within the last couple of days our solicitor has sent a preliminary report and documents to look through in anticipation of exchanging contracts shortly. National Westminster Bank have this afternoon contacted us to advise us that there is now an issue as our Durham lawyer is not on their approved list of lawyers. Is this a problem?
When purchasing a property with the benefit of a mortgage it is usual for the purchasers' lawyers to also represent the purchaser's lender. In order to act for a bank or building society a law firm has to be on that lender's conveyancing panel. An application has to be made by the law firm to the lender to become a member of the lender's panel and there are increasingly strict criteria which the firm has to satisfy and indeed some lenders now require their panel members to be part of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Accreditation Scheme. Your property lawyer should contact your mortgage company and see if they can apply for membership of their conveyancing panel, but if that is not viable they will instruct their own lawyers to represent them. You are not legally obliged to appoint a law firm on the bank's conveyancing panel as you are at liberty to use your preferred Durham lawyers, in which case it will likely add costs, and it may delay matters as you have another set of people involved.
Why do I have to pay up front for my conveyancing in Durham?
Where you are retaining lawyers for conveyancing in Durham your lawyer will ask you put them with funds to cover the the cost of the conveyancing searches. This will be the total of the cost of the conveyancing searches. If any deposit is as part of the purchase price then this will be asked for immediately in advance of exchange of contracts. The closing balance that is needed should be transferred a couple of days ahead of the completion date.
When it comes to lenders such as HSBC, do Durham lawyers incur a yearly amount to be on the list of approved solicitors?
We are not aware of any lender fees to be on their panel, although some do levy an administration fee to deal with the processing of the conveyancing panel submission.
We previously chose conveyancers locally in Durham on the Principality solicitor approved list. They have just invoiced me a supplemental charge for dealing with the Principality mortgage. Is this a supplemental conveyancing fee specified by Principality?
Provided it is contained in their Terms of Engagement or Quote then yes your conveyancing practitioner can levy a fee for this. This charge is not dictated by Principality but by your Durham lawyer. Plenty of firms on the Principality panel will quote an ‘acting for lender’ fee but some firms incorporate it on their overall fee.
I was told two weeks ago that my mortgage has been agreed to by Coventry BS. Is it usual for Coventry BS to only issue the offer once my solicitor in Durham is approved on their conveyancing panel? Coventry BS have asked my solicitor to see a copy of their Professional Indemnity Insurance Schedule.
Mortgage companies tend not to not issue an offer until they have details of a lawyer on their panel. It can take a few weeks for Coventry BS to deal with your lawyer's application to be on the Coventry BS conveyancing panel. There's no guarantee that your solicitor will be accepted.
Is it best to instruct a Durham conveyancing solicitor who is local to the property I am purchasing? An old friend can perform the conveyancing however they are based a couple of hundredmiles away.
The benefit of a high street Durham conveyancing practice is that you can attend the office to execute documents, hand in your ID and apply pressure on them if necessary. They will also have local insight which is a plus. That being said nothing is more important than finding someone that will do a good and efficient job. If other friends have instructed your friend and the majority were happy that should surpass using an unknown Durham conveyancing lawyer just because they are local.
Are there common defects that you come across in leases for Durham properties?
There is nothing unique about leasehold conveyancing in Durham. Most leases are drafted differently and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain clauses are not included. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
Maintenance charge proportions which don’t add up to the correct percentage Clauses dealing with recovering service charges for expenditure on the building or common parts.
A defective lease can cause problems when trying to sell a property as they can affect a potential buyer’s ability to obtain a mortgage. Halifax, Skipton Building Society, and Clydesdale all have very detailed conveyancing instructions when it comes to what is expected in a lease. If a mortgage lender believes that the lease does not cover certain provisions they may refuse to grant the mortgage, obliging the purchaser to withdraw.
I acquired a garden flat in Durham, conveyancing formalities finalised half a dozen years ago. Can you please calculate a probable premium for a statutory lease extension? Comparable flats in Durham with a long lease are worth £216,000. The average or mid-range amount of ground rent is £50 invoiced annually. The lease runs out on 21st October 2088
With just 69 years left to run the likely cost is going to span between £9,500 and £11,000 plus professional fees.
The suggested premium range that we have given is a general guide to costs for renewing a lease, but we cannot give you the actual costs without more comprehensive investigations. You should not use the figures in tribunal or court proceedings. There are no doubt other issues that need to be taken into account and clearly you want to be as accurate as possible in your negotiations. You should not take any other action placing reliance on this information before seeking the advice of a professional.