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Recently asked questions about conveyancing in Walsall

My wife and I are looking to purchase a home in Walsall and are in fact using a Walsall conveyancing practice. Within the past 48 hours our property lawyer has sent a preliminary report and documents to look through with a view to exchanging next week. Skipton Building Society have this morning contacted us to advise us that they have now hit a problem as our Walsall lawyer is not on their approved list of lawyers. Please explain?

Where you are buying a property needing a mortgage it is normal for the purchasers' solicitors to also act for 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 Quality Scheme. Your property lawyer should contact your lender 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 don't have to instruct a firm on the bank's conveyancing panel as you are at liberty to use your preferred Walsall lawyers, in which case your legal fees may increase, and it will likely delay the transaction as you are adding another lawyer into the mix.

It is a dozen years since I acquired my property in Walsall. Conveyancing lawyers have now been appointed on the sale but I can't find my title documents. Will this cause complications?

Don’t worry too much. First there is a possibility that the deeds will be with your mortgage company or they may still be with the lawyers who oversaw the purchase. Secondly in all probability the title will be recorded at the land registry and you will be able to prove you own the property by your conveyancing solicitors procuring current official copies of the land registers. Almost all conveyancing in Walsall involves registered property but in the unlikely event that your property is not registered it is more problematic but is resolvable.

About to place an offer on a leasehold flat in Walsall. The property agents advise that it is the norm for flats in Walsall to have less than 75 years unexpired on the lease. I am expecting a loan with Nationwide Building Society. Is this going to be acceptable if the lease has 70 years to go.

Most leasehold conveyancing experts should be able to deal with a lease extension. if you are getting a mortgage then your lender may insist that the lease be extended before competition. Nationwide Building Society have specific requirements as set out in the UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook in relation to minimum unexpired lease terms. As of 5/7/2024 the requirements read as follows :

- Our minimum unexpired lease term is 55 years, except where lending is over 85% of the purchase price/valuation on a second hand flat, in which case our minimum unexpired term is 90 years.
- There must be at least 30 years remaining at the end of the mortgage term (regardless of the length of lease at the start).

Where the unexpired lease term is different to that recorded on the mortgage offer, the following clarifies if we need to be informed:

Second hand property:
- If the unexpired lease term on the offer is 85 years or more - only advise us if the actual lease term is less than 85 years
- if the unexpired lease term on the offer is less than 85 years – advise us if the actual lease term is different than reported
- For equity share applications - advise us if the actual lease term is different than reported on the offer
- Where lending is over 85% of the purchase price/valuation on a second hand flat and the unexpired lease term on the offer is 90 years or more - only advise us if the actual lease term is less than 90 years.

New build property:
- If the unexpired lease term stated on the offer is 125 years (flat) / 250 years (house) or more - only advise us if the actual lease term is less than 125 years (flat) / 250 years (house)
- For equity share applications - always advise us if the actual lease term is different than reported on the offer

Lease terms such as ground rent and event fees must be reasonable at all times during the term of the lease and adhere to our requirements below. If you’re unsure as to whether the terms of a lease are unreasonable or onerous, please refer the details to us in plain English for Valuer consideration. If the potentially onerous terms are in relation to the ground rent please include the current ground rent figure per annum, how often it will be reviewed and the price structure it will be reviewed against. See the guidance below.

SECOND HAND PROPERTIES

Unacceptable - advise Issuing Office (Will be declined):
- Unexpired lease term less than 55 years
- Unexpired lease term less than 90 years where we are lending more than 85% of the purchase price/valuation on a second hand flat
- Less than 30 years remaining at the end of the mortgage term
- Ground Rent greater than 0.5% of the property value
- Ground Rent doubles less than every 20 years (e.g. doubles every 5, 10 or 15 years) - acceptable if doubles every 20 years or more
- Ground Rent is compounded RPI
- Ground Rent review period is less than or equal to 5 years

Refer to Issuing Office (Valuer will consider any impact on valuation figure and marketability):
- Unexpired lease term is 55 to 85 years
- Ground Rent greater than 0.1% and less than or equal to 0.5% of the property value
- Ground Rent escalation is linked to any indices greater than RPI
- Ground Rent escalation is linked to the value of the building*
- Ground Rent review period is greater than 5 and less than 10 years
- Event clauses exist for normal use e.g. changing the carpet, installing a TV aerial, etc
- Estate Rent Charges greater than £500 p/a (please provide details of what the charges cover)
- Service Charges greater than 1% of property value p/a (please provide details of what the charges cover)
- Anything that appears onerous, unusual or out of the ordinary

Acceptable (no requirement to advise Issuing Office):
- Unexpired lease term greater than 85 years (Minimum 90 years where we are lending more than 85% of the purchase price/valuation on a second hand flat)
- Ground Rent less than or equal to 0.1% of the property value
- Ground Rent review period greater than or equal to 10 years
- Ground Rent escalation less than or equal to RPI

NEW BUILD PROPERTIES (includes office conversions)

Unacceptable - advise Issuing Office (Will be declined)
- Unexpired lease term less than 125 years on a new build flat or less than 250 years on a new build house (does not apply to Shared Ownership)
- Any lease which is subject to a Ground Rent (or Annual Rent) being charged which is more than on a peppercorn basis
- Any lease which is subject to a Ground Rent (or Annual Rent) being charged which is more than on a peppercorn basis

Refer to Issuing Office (Valuer will consider any impact on valuation figure and marketability):
- Event clauses exist for normal use e.g. changing the carpet, installing a TV aerial etc
- Estate Rent Charges greater than £500 p/a (please provide details of what the charges cover)
- Service Charges greater than 1% of property value p/a (please provide details of what the charges cover)
- Anything else appears onerous, unusual or out of the ordinary

Acceptable (no requirement to advise Issuing Office):
- Unexpired lease term greater than or equal to 125 years on a new build flat or greater than or equal to 250 years on a new build house
- A lease subject to a peppercorn Ground Rent (Annual Rent) charges

For the avoidance of doubt, any New Build properties completed but not sold pre-30 June 2022 will only be acceptable if the Lease conforms to the above guidance.

* Where the Ground Rent escalation is linked to the value of the building, please provide the following:
- How is the value of the block/unit currently calculated and if the assessment relates to the block(s), how is the Ground Rent calculated/apportioned per property?
- The current valuation and Ground Rent for each unit
- What is the mechanism for future valuations of the block and how is the Ground Rent calculated/apportioned?
- What is the right of appeal? And is this a documented process within the lease?
- Who bears the cost of the valuation (and appeal) process?
- Confirmation the review period is not less than twenty years.

Lease Extensions

We require all Lease Extensions to be completed under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 and to meet the above criteria as a minimum. Where you become aware that it does not meet these requirements, please refer to Issuing Office.

I am assisting my step-mother sell her property in Walsall. Does the conveyancer commission an energy performance certificate or it is for the owner to see to?

After the abolition of Home Packs, EPC’s was kept a compulsory element of moving house. An energy performance certificate should be to hand in advance of the property being marketed. This is not a task that conveyancers ordinarily organise. If you are instructing a Walsall conveyancing lawyer they might be able to arrange EPC’s given their relationships with reputable local providers

We are planning to move property in August. Will my conveyancing solicitor update the removal company on the completion day. As an aside, can you recommend a removal company in Walsall. Conveyancing firm was organised prior to coming across your page.

On the afternoon of completion you will need to collect the house keys from your property agent however this should only be done after the previous owners lawyers inform the agent that they acknowledge receipt of the completion payment and the keys can be collected. You will need to tell the removal men that you are ready to move in. As a matter of policy we do not suggest a particular removal organisation but can assist you in choosing a residential property solicitor in Walsall or a firm that specialises in conveyancing in Walsall.

I'm the sole recipient of my late father’s estate and I have everything in my name alone, including the my former home in Walsall. The Walsall property was put into my name in June. I plan to dispose of the property. I do know about the CML six month 'rule', which means that my proprietorship will be regarded the same way as if I'd bought the property in June. Will no one buy the property for half a year?

The CML handbook obliges conveyancers to: "report to us immediately if the owner or registered proprietor has been registered for less than six months." By the strict wording you could be caught by that. How sensible a view banks take of it, depend on the lender as this requirement chiefly exists to pick up on subsales or the wholesaling and assigning of property.

We're new to the buying process - had an offer accepted, but the selling agent has warned us that the vendor will only proceed if we use the agent's preferred lawyers as they are insisting on a ‘quick sale’. We would rather use a family solicitor used to conveyancing in Walsall

We suspect that the seller is not behind this demand. If they want ‘a quick sale', taking such a hostile approach to a serious purchaser is going to damage their objectives. Bypass the agents and go straight to the sellers and make the point that (a)you are genuine purchasers (b)you are excited to move forward, with mortgage lined up © you are unencumbered (d) you intend to proceed fast (e)but you will continue to use your own,trusted Walsall conveyancing lawyers - not the ones that will give the negotiator at the agency a kickback or hit his conveyancing targets pre-set by HQ.

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