I am progressing with the sale of my apartment in Somerset and the estate agent has just e-mailed to say that the purchasers are appointing a new conveyancer. The excuse is that the lender will only work with property lawyers on their conveyancing panel. Why would a big named mortgage company only deal with certain solicitors rather the firm that they want to appoint for their conveyancing in Somerset ?
Banks have always had an approved set of law firms that can act for them, but in the past few years big names such as Nationwide, have reviewed and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have worked with them for more than 15 years.
Banks attribute this action to a rise in fraud as the reason for the cull – criteria have been stiffened as a smaller panel is easier to maintain. No lender will say 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. 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. The buyers are not going to have any impact on this.
I require conveyancing for an apartment in a fairly new development (five years old) in Somerset. The vast majority the flats are already disposed of. Do I need carry out the conveyancing searches as part of conveyancing in Somerset?
You are opening yourself up to an unnecessary risk in failing carrying out Somerset conveyancing searches. Without searches you have no clarity over flooding, environmental etc which may mean you walk away due to potential problems down the line. If you are buying without a mortgage there is no legal requirement to have them, but we would seriously advise in the strongest possible terms that your conveyancer conducts them. If time pressures and cost are primary concerns you should discuss with your lawyer about the options such as contingency insurance available to you
I am assisting my mother sell her property in Somerset. Will the conveyancer arrange the EPC or it is for the owner to see to?
After the abolition of HIPs, energy performance certificates became a mandatory part of moving house. An EPC must be commissioned in advance of the property being marketed. This is not something that law firms ordinarily organise. Where you are using a Somerset conveyancing solicitor they might be willing to arrange energy assessments given their contacts with long established Somerset accredited person
When it comes to mortgage companies such as Nottingham, do Somerset property lawyers have to pay an annual charge to be on the conveyancing panel?
We are not aware of any lender fees to register on their panel, although some do levy an administration fee to deal with the processing of the conveyancing panel application.
After weeks of negotiation I have agreed a price on a house in Somerset. My mortgage broker recommended their conveyancers. I paid an advanced payment of £200. A few days later, the conveyancing practitioner contacted me embarrassingly acknowledging that they were not on the Nottingham conveyancing panel. Am I right in thinking that I should be due a refund?
You should be able to recover this from the law firm if they were not on the Nottingham panel. They should have asked at the outset which lender you were obtaining a mortgage with. An important lesson to readers of this site is to check that the lawyers are on the appropriate lender panel.
My wife and I purchased a terraced Georgian property in Somerset. Conveyancing solicitor represented me and Lloyds TSB Bank. I happened to do a free search for it on the Land Registry database and I saw two entries: one for freehold, another for leasehold under the exact same address. I'd like to know for sure, how can I find out??
You should read the Freehold register you have again and check the Charges Register for mention of a lease. The best way to be sure that you are also the registered owner of the leasehold and freehold title as well is to check (£3). It is not completely unheard of in Somerset and other locations in the country and poses no real issues for owners other than when they sell they have to account for both freehold and leasehold interests when dealing with buyers. You can also question the position with your conveyancing solicitor who completed the work.
I've recently found out that there is a flying freehold element on a house I put an offer in last month in what should have been a straight forward, no chain conveyancing. Somerset is the location of the property. Can you offer any assistance?
Flying freeholds in Somerset are rare but are more likely to exist in relation to terraced houses. Even where you use a solicitor outside Somerset you would need to get your solicitor to go through the deeds very carefully. Your mortgage company may require your conveyancing solicitor to take out an indemnity policy. Some of the more diligent conveyancing solicitors in Somerset may determine that this is not enough and that the deeds be re-written to give you the most up to date legal protection. If so, the next door neighbour also had to sign up to the revised deeds.It is possible that your lender will not accept the situation so the sooner you find out the better. You should also check with your insurance broker as to whether they will insure a flying freehold premises.