I am nearing exchange of contracts for my maisonette in Harrow and the estate agent has just e-mailed to advise that the purchasers are changing their property lawyer. The excuse is that the lender will only work with property lawyers on their conveyancing panel. Why would a leading mortgage company only engage with certain law firms rather the firm that they want to choose for their conveyancing in Harrow ?
UK lenders have always had panels of law firms they are content to work with, but in recent years big names such as Yorkshire Building Society, have considered and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have represented them for many years.
Mortgage companies blame a rise in fraud by way of justification for the cull – criteria have been tightened as a smaller panel is easier to maintain. No lender will say how many solicitors have been dropped, claiming the information is commercially sensitive, but the Law Society says it is being contacted daily by practices that have been removed from panels. Plenty of firms do not even realise they have been dropped until contacted by a borrower who has instructed them as might be the situation in your buyers' case. Your buyers are not going to have any impact on this.
It is 10 years ago since I acquired my property in Harrow. Conveyancing solicitors have recently been appointed on the sale but I can't find my deeds. Will this cause complications?
Don’t worry too much. Firstly the deeds may be kept by your lender or they could be in the possession of the conveyancers who oversaw your purchase. Secondly the likelihood is that the title will be registered at the land registry and you will be able to establish that you own the property by your conveyancing solicitors procuring current official copies of the land registers. Most conveyancing in Harrow relates to registered property but in the rare situation where your home is not registered it is more problematic but is not insurmountable.
I am being advised by my lawyer that chancel insurance is needed on my purchase. What is the level of cover for Harrow conveyancing?
The right level of chancel indemnity insurance should be dictated by who your lender. It would differ for example between National Westminster Bank and Virgin Money. Conveyancing solicitors as opposed to borrowers take out such insurances.
We previously chose conveyancers locally in Harrow on the Barclays solicitor approved list. They have just billed me a separate charge for the legal aspects of the Barclays mortgage. Is this a supplemental conveyancing fee set by Barclays?
Unfortunately, as long as it is in their Terms and Conditions or Quote then yes your property lawyer is entitled to charge a fee for this. This fee is not set by Barclays but by your Harrow conveyancer. Plenty of firms on the Barclays panel will charge ’dealing with mortgage’ fee and others do not.
I am due to exchange contracts on my apartment. I had a double glazing fitted in January 2008, but did not receive a FENSA certificate or Building Regulation Certificate. My purchaser’s lender, Nationwide are being difficult. The Harrow solicitor who is on the Nationwide conveyancing panel is recommending indemnity insurance as a solution but Nationwide are requiring a building regulation certificate. Why do Nationwide have a conveyancing panel if they don't accept advice from them?
It is probably the case that Nationwide have referred the matter to their valuer. The reason why Nationwide 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've recently found out that there is a flying freehold element on a property I put an offer in two weeks back in what should have been a simple, chain free conveyancing. Harrow is the location of the property. What do you suggest?
Flying freeholds in Harrow are unusual but are more likely to exist in relation to terraced houses. Even though you don't necessarily need a conveyancing solicitor in Harrow you must be sure that your lawyer goes through the deeds thoroughly. Your lender may require your conveyancing solicitor to take out an indemnity policy. Some of the more diligent conveyancing solicitors in Harrow may determine that this is not enough and that the deeds be re-written to give you the most up to date legal protection. If so, the next door neighbour also had to sign up to the revised deeds.It is possible that your lender will not accept the situation so the sooner you find out the better. You should also check with your insurance broker as to whether they will insure a flying freehold residence.
Am I right to be wary by estate agents that I am dealing with are encouraging me to use an internet conveyancing firm as opposed to a local Harrow conveyancing firm?
As with lots of service providers, often suggestions from relatives can be extremely useful or valuable. But there are many parties with a vested interest in a conveyancing deal; estate agents, mortgage brokers and banks may recommend conveyancers to instruct. Sometimes the solicitors might be known to one of the organisations as being good in their field, but sometimes there behind the scenes commercial relationship behind the recommendation. You have the discretion to choose your preferred lawyer. Don't forget that many banks operate an approved list of conveyancers you must use for the lender aspect of your home move.
There are only 72 years remaining on my lease in Harrow. I am keen to get lease extension but my landlord is missing. What should I do?
If 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 mean that your lease can be extended by the magistrate. However, you will be required to demonstrate that you or your lawyers have used your best endeavours to locate the lessor. In some cases an enquiry agent would be helpful to try and locate and to produce a report which can be used as evidence that the landlord can not be located. It is wise to seek advice from a solicitor both on investigating the landlord’s absence and the vesting order request to the County Court overseeing Harrow.
Following years of negotiations we simply can't agree with our landlord on how much the lease extension should cost for our flat in Harrow. Can we issue an application to the Residential Property Tribunal Service?
Absolutely. We can put you in touch with a Harrow conveyancing firm who can help.
An example of a Lease Extension decision for a Harrow flat is flat 93b Welldon Crescent in May 2009. The Tribunals valuation for a 90-year lease extension of this fat was £13,171 This case related to 1 flat. The unexpired term was 75.25 years.