Me and my fiance are purchasing a 3 bedroom flat in St George with a mortgage. We like our St George lawyer, but the lender advise she’s not on their "panel". It appears that we have little option but to appoint one of the bank panel solicitors or retain our St George conveyancer and pay for one of their panel firms to act for them. This feels very unfair; is there anything we can do?
No, not really. Your mortgage offer is subject to its terms and conditions, one of which will be that lawyers will on the bank’s conveyancing panel. Until recently, most lenders had large numbers of law firms on their panels: a borrower could choose one for themselves, as long as it was on the lender's panel. The lender would then simply instruct the borrower's lawyers to act for the lender, too. You can use your lender's panel lawyers or you could borrow from another lender which does not restrict your choice. A further alternative is for your St George conveyancing lawyer to apply to be on the conveyancing panel.
I am hoping to complete my purchase in St George next Tuesday. I have now been asked to send a copy of my building insurance schedule by my solicitor as he says that he has to check this in his capacity as lawyer for the bank. What risks does the bank expect the insurance to cover?
All property lawyers on acting for mortgage companies would need to check that the following risks are covered fire; lightning; aircraft; explosion; earthquake; storm; flood; escape of water or oil; riot; malicious damage; theft or attempted theft; falling trees and branches and aerials; subsidence; heave;landslip;collision;accidental damage to underground services;professional fees, demolition and site clearance costs; and public liability to anyone else. There are some other issues such as the level of excess that are set out in a lender’s UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook instructions. These obligations are not unique to conveyancing in St George.
It is 10 years ago since I bought my property in St George. Conveyancing solicitors have recently been appointed on the sale but I can't track down the deeds. Will this jeopardise the sale?
You need not be too concerned. First the deeds may be with your lender or they could still be with the solicitor who acted in the purchase. Secondly the chances are 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 obtaining up to date copy of the land registers. Nearly all conveyancing in St George relates to registered property but in the rare situation where your home is unregistered it adds to the complexity but is resolvable.
Will our conveyancer be raising enquiries concerning flooding as part of the conveyancing in St George.
The risk of flooding is if increasing concern for lawyers conducting conveyancing in St George. Some people will purchase a property in St George, fully aware that at some time, it may be flooded. However, aside from the physical damage, where a property is at risk of flooding, it may be difficult to get a mortgage, satisfactory building insurance, or sell the property. There are steps that can be taken as part of the conveyancing process to forewarn the buyer.
Conveyancers are not best placed to impart advice on flood risk, but there are a numerous searches that can be carried out by the purchaser or by their solicitors which can give them a better understanding of the risks in St George. The standard property information forms given to a buyer’s conveyancer (where the Conveyancing Protocol is adopted) contains a standard inquiry of the owner to discover whether the property has suffered from flooding. In the event that flooding has previously occurred and is not notified by the vendor, then a purchaser may bring a legal claim for losses resulting from an inaccurate reply. A buyer’s lawyers will also order an enviro report. This will disclose whether there is a recorded flood risk. If so, further inquiries should be initiated.
Having checked my lease I have discovered that there are only 62 years unexpired on my flat in St George. I need to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What should I do?
On the basis that you qualify, under the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 you can submit an application to the County Court for an order to dispense with the service of the initial notice. This will enable the lease to be lengthened by the Court. However, you will be required to prove that you have done all that could be expected to track down the freeholder. For most situations a specialist would be helpful to try and locate and to produce an expert document which can be used as evidence that the landlord is indeed missing. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor in relation to devolving into the landlord’s disappearance and the application to the County Court covering St George.
St George Conveyancing for Leasehold Flats - Sample of Queries before buying
Who are the managing agents? The answer will be useful as a) areas can cause problems in the building as the communal areas may begin to deteriorate if services are not paid for b) if the leasehold owners have a dispute with the managing agents you will want to know about it Make sure you enquire if there is anything that is prohibited in the lease. For example some leases prohibit pets being permitted in certain buildings in St George. If you love the propertyin St George however your dog can’t live with you then you will be presented with a hard compromise.