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Recently asked questions about conveyancing in Whitchurch

When will exchange of contracts occur in domestic conveyancing in Whitchurch and am I required to attend the conveyancers office?

Where you are local to our conveyancing solicitors in Whitchurch you are welcome to come in to sign contracts. However, the law practices we recommend offer countrywide coverage for conveyancing and provide as equally comprehensive and professional a job for you when dealing with you electronically. The executing of the contract is not the important part. Signing on the dotted line simply enables the conveyancer to officially exchange at the appropriate time, which is ordinarily shortly after signing. The procedure is is usually a five minute process, although where an extended "chain" is in play, since the process requires the relevant party's solicitor (not necessarily a conveyancing solicitor in Whitchurch)to be in the office available at the end of the phone to exchange contracts.

I am about to put an offer on a leasehold property in Whitchurch. The property agents tell me that it is the norm for flats in Whitchurch to have less than 75 years remaining. I am obtaining a mortgage with Nationwide Building Society. Will the property be mortgageable given that the lease has Seventy One years remaining.

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 19/5/2022 the requirements read as follows :

- Our minimum unexpired lease term is 55 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

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
- 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 0.5% 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
- 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)
- Starting Ground Rent greater than 0.1% of the property value
- Ground Rent review period less than or equal to every 5 years
- 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

Refer to Issuing Office (Valuer will consider any impact on valuation figure and marketability):
- Ground Rent is linked to any indices greater than RPI
- Ground Rent is linked to the value of the building*
- 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 0.5% 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
- Starting Ground Rent less than or equal to 0.1% of the property value
- Ground Rent review period greater than 5 years
- Ground Rent escalation less than or equal to RPI

* 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.

Is it the case that all Whitchurch CQS (Conveyancing Quality Scheme) solicitors are on the Clydesdale conveyancing panel?

Some major banks and building societies now utilise CQS as the kick off point for Panel membership such as HSBC and Santander. The Law Society’s CQS accreditation however is no guarantee to lender panel acceptance. That being said,the Council of Mortgage Lenders have indicated that it is likely to become a pre-requisite for solicitor practices wishing to join their approved list of conveyancing solicitors.

I am due to exchange contracts on my apartment. I had a double glazing fitted in January 2010, but did not receive a FENSA certificate or Building Regulation Certificate. My purchaser’s lender, Coventry BS are being problematic. The Whitchurch solicitor who is on the Coventry BS conveyancing panel is saying indemnity insurance will be fine but Coventry BS are requiring a building regulation certificate. Why do Coventry BS have a conveyancing panel if they don't accept advice from them?

It is probably the case that Coventry BS have referred the matter to their valuer. The reason why Coventry BS may not want to accept indemnity insurance is because it does not give them any reassurance that the double glazing was correctly and safely installed. The indemnity insurance merely protects against enforcement action which is very unlikely anyway.

I have instructed a Whitchurch conveyancing practitioner having made sure that they are on the UBS conveyancing panel. Does my lawyer arrange the survey of the property?

UBS will need an independent valuation of the property. Your lawyer will not arrange this. Usually UBS will appoint their own surveyor to do this, and you will have to pay for it. Remember that this is a valuation for mortgage purposes and not a survey. You may wish to consider appointing your own Whitchurch surveyor to carry out a survey or prepare a home buyers report on the property. It is up to you to satisfy yourself that the property is structurally sound before you buy it. If the survey or report reveals that building work is needed, you should tell your solicitor. You may wish to renegotiate with the seller.

Should our lawyer be raising enquiries concerning flooding as part of the conveyancing in Whitchurch.

The risk of flooding is if increasing concern for solicitors dealing with homes in Whitchurch. There are those who acquire a house in Whitchurch, fully aware that at some time, it may suffer from flooding. However, aside from the physical destruction, where a house is at risk of flooding, it may be difficult to obtain a mortgage, adequate insurance cover, or dispose of the property. Steps can be carried out during the course of a house purchase to forewarn the buyer.

Solicitors are not qualified to give advice on flood risk, however there are a various searches that can be carried out by the buyer or on a buyer’s behalf which will figure out the risks in Whitchurch. The conventional set of completed inquiry forms supplied to a purchaser’s conveyancer (where the solicitors are adopting what is known as the Conveyancing Protocol) incorporates a standard inquiry of the owner to find out whether the property has suffered from flooding. If the residence has been flooded in past which is not disclosed by the seller, then a purchaser could bring a compensation claim resulting from an inaccurate response. The buyer’s conveyancers will also commission an enviro search. This should indicate whether there is any known flood risk. If so, further investigations should be conducted.

How does conveyancing in Whitchurch differ for newly converted properties?

Most buyers of new build property in Whitchurch approach us having been asked by the developer to sign contracts and commit to the purchase even before the premises is constructed. This is because builders in Whitchurch usually buy the land, plan the estate and want to get the plots sold off as they are building the properties. Buyers, therefore, will have to exchange contracts without actually seeing the house they are buying. To reduce the chances of losing the property, buyers should instruct conveyancing solicitors as soon as the property is reserved and mortgage applications should be submitted quickly. Due to the fact that it could be several months and even years between exchange of contracts and completion, the mortgage offer may need to be extended. It would be wise to use a lawyer who specialises in new build conveyancing especially if they are used to new build conveyancing in Whitchurch or who has acted in the same development.

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