My partner and I are looking to purchase a home in Barnet and have instructed a Barnet conveyancing practice. Within the last couple of days our lawyer has forwarded the sale agreement to be signed with a detailed report with a view to exchanging next week. Skipton Building Society have this afternoon contacted us to inform me that they have now hit a problem as our Barnet conveyancer is not on their approved list of lawyers. Please explain?
When purchasing a property with mortgage finance it is usual for the purchasers' solicitors to also represent the mortgage company. 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 Accreditation Scheme. Your solicitor should contact your bank 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 lender’s conveyancing panel as you are at liberty to use your preferred Barnet lawyers, in which case it will likely add costs, and it will likely delay the transaction as you are adding another lawyer into the mix.
We see that you have a search directory identifying law firms on the Nationwide conveyancing panel. Do companies pay you a commission if I retain them for our own conveyancing in Barnet?
We are a listing service only for law firms wishing to communicate if they are on the Nationwide conveyancing panel or other lender panels. We do not charge referral fees to any conveyancer that you subsequently appoint for your conveyancing in Barnet.
Will my lawyer be raising questions regarding flooding as part of the conveyancing in Barnet.
The risk of flooding is if increasing concern for lawyers conducting conveyancing in Barnet. Plenty of people will purchase a property in Barnet, fully expectant that at some time, it may suffer from flooding. However, leaving to one side the physical damage, where a house is at risk of flooding, it may be difficult to obtain a mortgage, adequate insurance cover, or sell the premises. Steps can be carried out as part of the conveyancing process to forewarn the buyer.
Conveyancers are not best placed to offer advice on flood risk, but there are a number of checks that can be initiated by the purchaser or by their lawyers which will figure out the risks in Barnet. The conventional set of completed inquiry forms sent to a buyer’s lawyer (where the Conveyancing Protocol is adopted) contains a usual inquiry of the seller to find out whether the property has ever been flooded. In the event that flooding has previously occurred which is not disclosed by the seller, then a purchaser could commence a legal claim for losses resulting from an misleading answer. The purchaser’s conveyancers may also commission an environmental report. This will reveal whether there is any known flood risk. If so, more detailed investigations should be conducted.
Due to the input of my in-laws I had a survey completed on a property in Barnet prior to retaining conveyancers. I have been advised that there is a flying freehold aspect to the house. Our surveyor has said that some banks will refuse to issue a mortgage on such a house.
It varies from the lender to lender. Bank of Scotland has different instructions for example to Halifax. Should you wish to telephone us we can check via the relevant bank. If you lender is happy to lend one our lawyers can help as they are used to dealing with flying freeholds in Barnet. Conveyancing will be smoother if you use a solicitor in Barnet especially if they are familiar with such properties in Barnet.
I work for a reputable estate agency in Barnet where we have experienced a few leasehold sales put at risk due to leases having less than 80 years remaining. I have been given contradictory information from local Barnet conveyancing solicitors. Please can you confirm whether the owner of a flat can commence the lease extension process for the buyer?
As long as the seller has owned the lease for at least 2 years it is possible, to serve a Section 42 notice to kick-start the lease extension process and assign the benefit of the notice to the purchaser. This means that the proposed purchaser can avoid having to wait 2 years for a lease extension. Both sets of lawyers will agree to form of assignment. The assignment needs to be completed prior to, or at the same time as completion of the disposal of the property.
Alternatively, it may be possible to agree the lease extension with the freeholder either before or after the sale. If you are informally negotiating there are no rules and so you cannot insist on the landlord agreeing to grant an extension or transferring the benefit of an agreement to the buyer.
I am the proprietor of a second floor flat in Barnet. In the absence of agreement between myself and the landlord, can the Leasehold valuation Tribunal determine the premium payable for a lease extension?
Where there is a absentee landlord or where there is dispute about what the lease extension should cost, under the relevant statutes you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) to calculate the price payable.
An example of a Lease Extension case for a Barnet flat is Flat 2 2 Netherfield Road in April 2010. The Tribunale held that premium payable for a 90 year extension to the existing Lease should be £7,705. This case was in relation to 1 flat. The unexpired residue of the current lease was 76 years.
How do I establish who is the owner of a house in Barnet?
Provided the property is registered with the Land Registry, and you have sufficient information of the location of the premises, you will be able to obtain details from the HM Land Registry of the recorded owner for a for less than a fiver.