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Showing posts from October, 2014

EPC Changes - Are you advising your buy to let clients about these?

The Energy Act 2011 contains a number of provisions which will affect owners and occupiers of property. 
Probably most significant are the proposed minimum energy standards. 
These changes will have a significant impact on the buy to let market and need to be considered now by not only investors, but also lawyers acting for those purchasing buy to let property.
From April 2018, the proposed legislative changes would make it unlawful to let residential or commercial properties with an EPC Rating of F or G (i.e. the lowest 2 grades of energy efficiency).
The significance of this which cannot be under estimated could mean that the marketability of certain properties would become impossible unless they were upgraded to meet the  minimum standards. It is estimated that approximately 20% of non-domestic properties could be in the F & G  rating brackets.

Although not clear at this stage the new minimum standards could apply to all lettings and re-lettings, including sub-lettings & assig…

Important questions surrounding the SRA proposal for minimum indemnity insurance

The SRA is introducing a requirement on all firms to ensure they have an appropriate level of cover of indemnity insurance cover in case they make mistakes, but reducing the mandatory minimum level of compulsory cover to £500,000.
The rationale behind this is that the SRA wants to ensure consumers are better protected by, for the first time, requiring firms to make sure they have in place appropriate cover rather than relying on meeting the minimum requirements.  The proposal will also help firms who undertake low value work to obtain insurance at a more competitive level.  Well that’s the theory.
The proposal has yet to be approved by the Legal Services Board though it seems from what is being said that it will not be too long before the LSB confirms its approval.
So what will these changes mean for the consumer and the conveyancer?
For the consumer it will make choosing a solicitor more difficult.   The consumer will need to consider the value of the work to be undertaken (which may …

What is a Flying Freehold?

Some people may have heard of these but are unsure what they are. And although they are rare it is important to know what they are for when they do appear.
Flying Freehold
A flying freehold is a section of a freehold property that is structurally above another person's property and not connecting with ground level. Flying freeholds arise when part of one property is built on top of part of another property and so the upper property owner does not own the building or land underneath the "flying" part. A common example of this is where a room or part of a room is over a shared passageway in a row of terraced houses. A flying freeholder is subject to the risk that the subjacent owner may fail to maintain and repair its property, which may damage or prejudice the structure on which the flying freehold physically rests. A subjacent owner can be required to physically support and repair in relation to the freehold above it.
So what implications does this have when you are looking…

Lender's Certificate of Title

When a client is reliant on a mortgage to fund their purchase of a property, there are certain requirements which a Solicitor must meet before they are able to request the mortgage advance from the lender in anticipation of completion. Solicitors request mortgage monies from the lender by submitting a form known as the Certificate of Title – COT for short; this article provides a guide of the process leading up to, and including, completion.
Before your Solicitor is able to submit the Certificate of Title, the Solicitor must ensure that all outstanding matters have been resolved, as, by submitting this request, the Solicitors is providing their confirmation to the lender that they have complied with, and satisfied, their requirements as outlined in the Council of Mortgage Lenders Handbook – the CML. A Solicitor must be able confirm the property has a good marketable title.  Such matters include, but are not limited to, the following:
ØID checks have been carried out ØAny potential gift e…

The Law Society Conveyancing Portal - Destined for failure?

A new online conveyancing portal purporting to simplify and speed up the house-buying process, has entered the final stages of development and is scheduled to be launched to the conveyancing profession in Spring 2015.
The new online service, called Veyo ( named after a small town in the US?) , is a joint venture between The Law Society and Mastek UK, a global IT solutions specialist.
Its aim is to bring together all the processes from client instruction to completion, including checks and documentation prepared and undertaken by solicitors and licensed conveyancers in the sale and purchase of residential properties.
At its  recent launch there were some bold statements made  about this new system
“Veyo will shift the balance of power and give the profession greater control.” Jonathan Smithers, Vice President, The Law Society
  “Veyo will transform the way we do conveyancing.” Desmond Hudson, Chairman

   “Veyo will be secure, efficient and transparent” Elliott Vigar, CEO, Veyo
Conveyancers wi…

The Death of Leasehold Exit and Sub-Letting Fees?

There is great speculation surrounding the future of fees charged by Freeholders and or Managing Agents on the subletting of leasehold property.
This follows news that the Law Commission is going to examine the right to charge such fees as well as leasehold exit fees charged when selling or renting out a retirement flat.
According to the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership speculation is rife that such fees will be outlawed for good. 
The Partnership reports on its website:
‘This means anyone selling or renting out a retirement or non-retirement flat should keep all documentation with a view to making a claim in two and half years time’.
It adds:
‘LKP is deluged with inquiries about subletting fees, often where freeholders and their managing agents are plucking figures from the air for a sublet consent.
The tribunals have dealt with countless cases, but there is no binding decision on what would be a fair sublet consent (most freeholders have to give consent to a sublet, usually followed by th…