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Showing posts from January, 2012

Conveyancing process needs urgent reform

What can be done to make moving home faster and less expensive?
This is a burning question and one that has yet to be addressed by Government despite the fact we currently face a major housing crisis and a situation where first time buyers are finding it increasing difficult and expensive to find a home.The problem facing the first time buyer is likely to increase shortly with the withdrawal of the stamp duty concession and the forthcoming changes to how mortgages will operate in the future.
A brave Labour Government sought changes, the first since 1925, with the introduction of the doomed home information pack, but this was shot down in a blaze of glory by the Coalition Government when it came to power in May 2010.Unfortunately in the rush to score political points no one seemed to care that by removing this attempt of reform it left the door open once again for the return of the problems associated with aborted transactions, increased costs and delay.
In fact, we are still left with a…

Can HSBC restrict freedom of choice of solicitor?

The HSBC’s decision to make it less attractive for its mortgage customers to instruct their own solicitor has caused much anxiety within conveyancing practices , with many firms facing the loss of potential work from existing and potential clients.
The question is whether anything can be done to prevent this from happening.  Can a customer of HSBC insist on using his or her own solicitor without having to face a financial penalty?
Why freedom of choice is important?
One of the main concerns is conflict.   Solicitors have in the past acted for both buyer and lender and though the principles laid down in the recently introduced customer focused regulations ( Core Duties) would suggest ( if strictly applied ) that such a conflict should not be allowed to occur, it seems the Law Society has taken the view that its ‘business as normal’.    A decision which we as Conveyancers are of course happy to accept.
However when as in the present case HSBC has entered into a contract with one firm of so…

More news of housing doom and gloom

Rightmove, the property portal, reports that since the beginning of the year new homes for sale has slumped to its lowest point in more than a decade.  Only 34,433 properties have come on to the market equating to around half of pre-credit crunch levels.
This comes at a time when emerged borrowing costs have fallen to a 14-year low with the average mortgage payments for new borrowers standing at 27 per cent of disposable earnings. Good news for those with existing mortgages but still no hope for those people trapped in rental properties without the money for the deposit.
Those who do have the cash to put down on a deposit have their own problems given the shortage of new homes. This has in turn created in certain areas a high demand for property and perhaps explains why property prices have remained more or less unchanged.
It has also led to those looking to buy to be more selective in their hunt for a suitable property and one that fits their budgetary constraints.  
The situation is …

New Survey shows withdrawal of HIPs has led to a return of problems with aborted property transactions

Home Information Packs were introduced by the Labour Government in response to a high volume of feedback from the public about concern over property transactions falling through and consequential losses. The Coalition Government decided in May 2010 to abolish Home Information packs claiming that this would instantly lead to an increase in property activity and put more money back in the hands of the homeowners. The likes of Kirstie Allsopp, Grant Shapps and Eric Pickles lead what became a very personal and high profile campaign to bring Home Information Packs to an end, and were often photographed unwrapping ‘red tape’ wrapped around houses. Twenty months on the question is what has this decision achieved – are homeowners any better off and has it led to any change in the very situation that led to the introduction of HIPs? Recent research suggests it has not. A new survey has shown that over 500,000 house sales fell through at the end of 2011, a jump of 33% from the beginning of the yea…

Beat the 24th March Deadline for Stamp Duty

The time to act is now if you are thinking of buying a new home as the concession on Stamp Duty for first time buyers ends on 24th March. 
Until that date first time buyers do not have to pay Stamp Duty on property purchased for £250,000 and under.
Instruct us now to make sure you exchange and complete before this deadline and save up to £2500 – our prices start at £240 Plus VAT.  We offer a fast and professional service and are open Monday to Thursday 9 am to 8 pm, Friday 9 am to 5 pm, Saturday 10 am to 1 pm.
Morgan Jones and Pett are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at

Building Regulations and moving home

Do I have supply evidence of Building Regulation Approval in respect of works carried out to my property when I look to sell my property?
If you have the approval then of course supply it – it will help to ensure your sale moves quickly.
If you have carried out works and approval was required and sought and you no longer have a certificate then call the issuing council and ask for a duplicate.
If you have carried out work, and the work required building regulation approval, but this was not sought then you need to consider with your solicitor when the work was carried out and what to do in response to your buyer’s request for sight of the approval.
The following may help.
Check that work carried out actually required building regulation approval as not all work attracts the requirement.
If the building work was carried out before November 1985 it would not require building regulation approval. There is no need therefore to supply it or offer indemnity insurance.
If work was carried out af…

Breast Implant Rupture

Around 40,000 women in the UK have had breast implants produced by Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP).  
The announcement from the French authorities calling for the implants to be removed has caused an international health scare.The French authorities believe there is an increased chance of the implants rupturing and leading to complications.
On the 23rd December 2011 the French authorities advised all its citizens who have had PIP implant to have them removed and the French Government would pay for the full cost of the procedure. 
The supplier of the implant, Poly Implant Prostheses is based in the south of France, and had been using to secure financial saving, industrial grade silicone, normally used for filling mattresses and computer parts, instead of medical grade silicone. 
The cheap implants rupture rate runs at 5%, although it is estimated that this could rise to as high as 10%. This is much higher than other implant rupture figures.
The company went into ad…