My husband and I are planning to purchase a home in Belgravia and are in fact using a Belgravia conveyancing practice. Within the past 48 hours our solicitor has forwarded the sale agreement to be signed with a detailed report with the expectation that exchange is imminent. Clydesdale have this afternoon contacted us to inform me that there is now an issue as our Belgravia conveyancer is not on their approved list of lawyers. What do we do from here?
If you are buying a property with the assistance of a mortgage it is standard for the purchasers' solicitors to also represent 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 solicitor should contact your mortgage company 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 are not legally obliged to appoint a law firm on the lender’s conveyancing panel as you are at liberty to use your preferred Belgravia lawyers, in which case it will likely add costs, and it will likely delay the transaction as you have another set of people involved.
It is a dozen years since I acquired my property in Belgravia. Conveyancing lawyers have recently been appointed on the sale but I can't locate my title deeds. Is this a problem?
You need not be too concerned. Firstly there is a chance that the deeds will be retained by your lender or they may be in the possession of the conveyancers who oversaw the purchase. Secondly the chances are that the land will be recorded at the land registry and you will be able to prove you are the registered owner by your conveyancing solicitors procuring current official copies of the land registers. Nearly all conveyancing in Belgravia relates to registered property but in the rare situation where your property is unregistered it is more of a problem but is not insurmountable.
I am planning on selling our property in Belgravia and according to the buyers it appears that there is a risk of it being built on contaminated land. A high street Belgravia lawyer would know this is not the case. It does beg the question why the purchasers instructed a web based conveyancing outfit as opposed to a conveyancing solicitor in Belgravia. Having lived in Belgravia for 4 years we know that this is a non issue. Should we contact our local Authority to seek clarification that there is no issue.
It sounds as though you may have a conveyancing firm already. What do they say? You must enquire of your lawyer before you do anything. It is very possible that once the local authority has been informed of a potential issue it cannot be insured against (a bit like being diagnosed with a serious illness and then taking out health insurance to cover that same ailment)
I used Stirling Law several years ago for my conveyancing in Belgravia. Now, I need the files but the law firm has closed. What do I do?
Do call the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) to help locate your conveyancing files. They can be contacted on please contact on 0870 606 2555. Alternatively, you should use their online form to make an enquiry. You will need to provide the SRA with as much information as possible to assist their search, including the name and address in Belgravia of the conveyancing firm of solicitors you previously instructed, the name of conveyancing solicitor with whom you had dealings, and the date on which you last had dealings with the firm.
How does conveyancing in Belgravia differ for newly converted properties?
Most buyers of new build property in Belgravia come to us having been asked by the builder to sign contracts and commit to the purchase even before the premises is built. This is because new home sellers in Belgravia tend to 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 property lawyers 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 accustomed to new build conveyancing in Belgravia or who has acted in the same development.
My father-in-law has suggested that I instruct his conveyancers in Belgravia. Should I use them?
Much as we are happy to recommend a Belgravia conveyancing lawyer the best way to choose a conveyancing lawyer is to get referrals from friends or family who have previously instructed the solicitor you're contemplating using.