My husband and I are acquiring a newly built duplex in Somerset and my solicitor is telling me that she has to the bank to disclose incentives from the seller. The Estate Agents are hassling me to exchange and I don't want to delay matters. Is my lawyer right?
You should not exchange unless you have been advised to do so by your solicitor. A precondition to being on a bank panel is to comply with the UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook requirements. The CML Conveyancing Handbook requires that your lawyer have the appropriate Disclosure of Incentive form completed by the developer and accepted by your lender.
It is a dozen years since I acquired my house in Somerset. Conveyancing lawyers have now been instructed on the sale but I am unable to track down the deeds. Is this a problem?
Don’t worry too much. Firstly the deeds may be kept by your mortgage company or they may be archived with the lawyers who handled your purchase. Secondly the likelihood is that the property will be recorded at the land registry and you will be able to establish that you own the property by your conveyancing solicitors procuring up to date copy of the land registers. Almost all conveyancing in Somerset relates to registered property but in the unlikely event that your property is not registered it is more tricky but is not insurmountable.
Am I right to be suspicious by estate agents that I am dealing with are recommending a national conveyancing firm as opposed to a local Somerset conveyancing practice?
As with lots of service providers, often recommendations from family and friends can be worth their weight in gold. Nevertheless there are many people with a vested interest in a conveyancing transaction; estate agents, mortgage brokers and mortgage companies may suggest solicitors to retain. On occasion the solicitors might be known to one of the organisations as being good in their field, but sometimes there exists a financial incentive behind the endorsement. You have the discretion to appoint your preferred lawyer. However, bear in mind that many mortgage providers specify a panel list of law firms you are obliged to use for the lender related work in your house move.
What are the common defects that you see in leases for Somerset properties?
Leasehold conveyancing in Somerset is not unique. Most leases are individual and drafting errors can sometimes mean that certain sections are missing. The following missing provisions could result in a defective lease:
Repairing obligations to or maintain parts of the premises Service charge per centages that don't add up correctly leaving a shortfall
You could encounter a problem when selling your property if you have a defective lease primarily because it impacts on the ability to obtain a mortgage on the property. Accord Mortgages Ltd, Chelsea 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 provide security, forcing the purchaser to pull out.
Somerset Leasehold Conveyancing - A selection of Queries before Purchasing
It is important to be aware if changing the roof or some other significant cost is due shortly to be shared amongst the tenants and will dramatically impact the level of the service fees or necessitate a one off invoice. In the main the outlay for major works are not built into the maintenance charges, although there some managing agents in Somerset obliged leasehold owners to contribute towards a reserve fund created for the specific intention of establishing a fund for major works. Who is in charge of the building?
What do I do if I am dissatisfied with the lawyer who undertook our conveyancing in Somerset?
Occasionally the level of service you receive is not as you expect, and is is a fact of life that sometimes things do go wrong. That being said there is recourse if you were not happy with your conveyancing in Somerset. This varies from trying to resolve matters directly with them, through to reporting a property lawyer to their regulator. If things still aren’t resolved you may consider getting in touch with the Legal Ombudsman.