I am selling my maisonette in Handsworth and the estate agent has just text me to warn that the purchasers are swapping solicitor. The reason given is that the bank will only engage with solicitors on their conveyancing panel. Why would a major mortgage company only work with certain law firms rather the firm that they want to choose to handle their conveyancing in Handsworth ?
UK lenders have always had panels of law firms that can act for them, but in recent years big names such as Yorkshire Building Society, have reviewed and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have acted for them for decades.
Mortgage companies point to the increase in fraud by way of justification for the cull – criteria have been narrowed as a smaller panel is easier to keep an eye on. No lender will say how many solicitors have been dropped, claiming the information is commercially sensitive, but the Law Society claims that it is being contacted daily by practices that have been removed from panels. Some do not even realise they have been dropped until contacted by a borrower who has instructed them as might be the situation in your buyers' case. Your purchasers are not going to have any sway in the decision.
Our lawyer has uncovered a a problem with the lease for the apartment we are purchasing in Handsworth. The seller’s lawyers have put forward title insurance as a solution. We are content with insurance and will pay for it. Our conveyancer has advised that he must ensure that the mortgage company is willing to move forward with this solution. Who is the client here, us or the lender?
The short answer to your last question is that, notwithstanding the risk of a conflict of interest, you and the mortgage company are the client. Your property lawyer must comply with the UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook conditions. The UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook conditions require your lawyer to disclose issues such as defects with the lease so that the bank can be afforded the opportunity to check with their valuer as to the extent that the value of the property is affected. Should you refuse to allow your lawyer to make the appropriate notification then your conveyancer will have no choice but to discontinue acting for you.
I am told that my conveyancing solicitors will need to check that the building insurance when buying a house in Handsworth. My lender is Accord Mortgages
Accord Mortgages have specific requirements as set out in the UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook. As of 7/2/2020, the requirements read as follows :
I have been on the look out for a ground for flat up to £305k and found one round the corner in Handsworth I like with a park and transport links in the vicinity, the downside is that it only has 52 years on the lease. There is not much else in Handsworth suitable, so just wondered if I would be making a grave error acquiring a short lease?
If you need a home loan the shortness of the lease may be problematic. Reduce the offer by the amount the lease extension will cost if not already taken into account. If the existing owner has owned the premises for a minimum of 2 years you can ask them to start the process of the extension and then assign it to you. You can add 90 years to the current lease and have £0 ground rent by law. You should speak to your conveyancing lawyer concerning this matter.
I today plan to offer on a house that appears to tick a lot of boxes, at a great price which is making it all the more appealing. I have subsequently been informed that the title is leasehold rather than freehold. I would have thought that there are issues buying a leasehold house in Handsworth. Conveyancing solicitors have not yet been appointed. Will my lawyers set out the risks of buying a leasehold house in Handsworth ?
Most houses in Handsworth are freehold and not leasehold. This is one of the situations where having a local conveyancer who is familiar with the area can help the conveyancing process. it is apparent that you are buying in Handsworth so you should seriously consider shopping around for a Handsworth conveyancing practitioner and be sure that they have experience in advising on leasehold houses. As a matter of priority you will need to check the unexpired lease term. Being a leaseholder you will not be at liberty to do whatever you want with the house. The lease comes with conditions such as obtaining the freeholder’sconsent to carry out changes to the property. It may be necessary to pay a maintenance charge towards the maintenance of the estate where the property is located on an estate. Your conveyancer will report to you on the legal implications.