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  1. I've not had a great experience with a solicitor for my first purchase of a leasehold flat with a share of freehold. I have had issues with the lack of attention to detail, passive approach to following up on items and "finding out very late" that things haven't been done by the sellers solicitor, and I have had poor clarity of advice being given given (often verbal) and not in writing. I also the solicitor choose the "easy" path rather than the "right path" i.e. I have to rely on pre-contract replies to omissions on the lease rather than correct draft mistakes in the lease, it appears there is lack of "clout" and a reluctance to point our errors and see them through to resolution and a reluctance to validate status of issues being resolved. When I selected my solicitor, I selected them being because the conveyancing firm had strong and recent evidence of positive responses as an individual and a company on Trust Pilot. I didn't choose the cheapest solicitor and I could see they have had over 7 years of post qualification experience on the Law Society website. I also spoke to the "consultant" solicitor and was pleased to know there was secretarial support for the conveyancer. Nonetheless, I have found it hard to contact her subsequently on the phone to get updates and I also get updates other than "we are waiting for the sellers solicitor". I didn't have any personal recommendations. So what could I do differently next time I purchase a property - any different approaches?
  2. Hi, I'm looking at purchasing a house tomorrow at auction. I have had a good look at all the searches and deeds etc and am happy with the majority. The only issue is that there is one charge in the title deeds which I don't quite understand, mainly because it is legal language. Could anyone translate the following for me, please. Many thanks indeed, Jim "Except rights of light air or otherwise which would restrict or interfere with the free use of the adjoining messuage of the Vendor being <<ADDRESS OF NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR HERE>> aforesaid for building or other purposes EXCEPT and RESERVING unto the Vendor and her successors in title the owner or owners for the time being of the said adjoining property <<ADDRESS OF NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR HERE>> aforesaid all easements quasi easements rights and privileges now or heretofore occupied or enjoyed therewith over or in relation to the property hereby transferred."
  3. Hi, Can anyone help, looking to make what will be our first purchase from auction, bid on a few in the past but not been successful. I'll be using bridging finance which shouldn't be a problem but its the legals I'm not sure on. The property in question isn't totally straightforward as its been added to over the years. I have access to all the legal docs but to the untrained eye it doesn't mean an awful lot. What I need to be sure of, before I purchase, is that the property legals are in order and it will be fully mortgage-able when developed and good for immediate short term bridging finance. Is it just a case of approaching a solicitor and asking them for some advice, maybe paying up front with a view to using them if the purchase is successful? I'd be interested to know how others approach this. The bidding will be competitive so I'm keen not to spend a fortune before I even know if I'm going to be successful. TIA...
  4. I’m in need of some advice. I just bought a mid terrace house with shared access with next door through the passageway in the middle of both properties. The neighbours have recently moved in as well and are saying the back garden fence is not down the middle of where the shared access ends and so is in need of moving. I can see that it is a little strange that there isn’t 2 gates to enter our respective gardens but they now have to enter my garden before going down the passageway. However the previous owners I think came to an agreement as both made changes on their properties close to the shared access line and perhaps moving the fence had benefitted both parties. My question is if I bought the house as is AND my neighbours also bought the house as is then would their boundary dispute have legs? any advice is helpful thanks PM
  5. HI there, I would like to come in contact with a reliable, efficient and trustworthy solicitor. Can you please share recommendations based on past and happy service(s) received. Thanks in advance
  6. Good evening, all. My thanks in advance to anyone who can provide any guidance on the below. I own a new build property, which is subject to latent defects cover. I purchased this property in 2016 and opened claims under the late defects insurance policy with my adjoining nextdoor neighbor in 2017. These claims have been kicked around by the insurer for several years now but have been accepted and will be actioned in the next year or so. The works relate to structural defects. In short: the property will need to have its ground foundation strengthened. The open insurance claim will see rectification works take place at both my property and my neighbor, at some point in the future. The claims for each property are identical, but individual to each property, and have been parcelled together by the insurer for their ease. My ambition is to sell the property as soon as this work is complete, due to my financial position. I would also like to know whether I might also be able to sell the property ahead of the completion of this work (say, via auction), without jeopardising my neighbour's claim. Am I correct in believing that I could, hypothetically, sell now, since the claims are individually unique to each property? Grateful for any steer. Best wishes, Jon
  7. Hi, I've got a few Victorian Properties, one has an EPC rating of C but the others are D rated. I've spoken to companies about doing the EPC suggested work, but the message that keeps coming back is that many of the modifications suggested on the EPC would be a bad idea. Apparently the modern improvements just don't work with the Victorian engineering. I'm a bit worried about finding in a few years time that I'm unable to meet the legal requirements for rentals and pretty much powerless to do anything about it. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I've made improvements like replacing windows, but this sort of improvement doesn't have a huge impact on the rating. Thanks for any thoughts/advice!
  8. Hello, I am currently in the process of purchasing my first buy-to-let under a limited company and Paragon (the mortgage provider that I am using) have requested that I have a "Certificate of Confirmation of Advice" provided by an independent solicitor which will end up costing £600 in legal fees (two hours work). I have brought this unexpected cost up with my mortgage broker and he assures me that this is a standard procedure for every mortgage under a private limited company and will have to be done whenever I move lender or for any future purchases, although I have personally never heard of it before. Is this something that anyone else has gone through? Many thanks for anyone that can give me some advice, it is greatly appreciated. Nick
  9. Anyone got any experience of setting up a declaration of trust, or currently have this set up..with an understanding of how this effects your borrowing abilities? want to set up declaration of trust in favour of my wife 99vs1%. Can we still have joint mortgage or not? Thanks
  10. Hi all, A big topic for you today - if dangerous cladding is found on a block of apartments, who pays to fix it? One of the properties I own is a flat in a block with 100+ leaseholders. I can't divulge too much information because it is an ongoing legal case, however we are currently pursuing several avenues of legal proceedings in order to determine whose responsibility it is to pay for the potential 7 figure cost of replacing all of the cladding on the building. Will it be the leaseholders, who are supposed to be responsible for maintenance and repair of the building, or the landlord who owns the building and is responsible for remedial action? Of course, when the building was completed less than 10 years ago, everything was approved to building standards at the time. It is because of the recent tragedy at Grenfell that everyone is suddenly realising that the standards are not good enough now. To be clear, nobody is disputing that the cladding needs to be replaced. At the moment, the leaseholders are paying six figure sums for 24 hour fire marshalls to guard the building so that it can stay operational for tenants. We are also being coerced into paying increased service charges (2-3x the normal amount) to pay for other remedial fire safety actions even though it hasn't yet been determined who is responsible. Although I can just about afford it with the rent (I am now essentially making £0 on that property) for some owner-occupiers or smaller portfolio leaseholders this increased service charge and potential astronomical charge to eventually do the cladding itself is going to wipe them out. As a leaseholder, I have a biased opinion but surely it shouldn't be us leaseholders, who each paid six figure sums to buy a product in good faith, who pays to fix something that isn't actually fit for purpose?? Please let me know your thoughts, I would be grateful for any advice.
  11. Hello I would like to change the name on my property deeds from my individual name to my new company name (SVP.) I have spoken to my accountant about the tax related concerns which he is arranging (re capital gains etc.) The next step is to transfer the name of the deeds. I do not have a mortgage on the property. Can anyone recommend a lawyer who can do this for a reasonable fee ? Thanks
  12. Hi, Just a quick query and hopefully someone can help. I currently have a dispute with a developer in which they are claiming the boundaries are in the incorrect location. Looking at my title deed plan the redline boundary relates to physical features on the ground and therefore looks to be correct. The developer is now producing the TP1 plan which does not line through with the title deed plan (i.e Fencelines, House Location, Garage Sizeare different sizes and positions) But they are claiming that the measurements from the TP1 conveyancing plan (which the original does not have any dimensions on) will be used to correct the boundary issue. Does anyone have any guidance or documentation which shows whether the title deed plan supersedes the TP1 plan? Thanks,
  13. Good afternoon, We find ourselves in quite a bizarre situation and would really appreciate any advice that might be out there. - Today we placed bids on an online auction for a BTL property. We won the auction with a bid of £127,000. Once bidding went over £125,000 we received an email and on-screen prompt to confirm that our bid met the reserve price and the property would be sold to the highest bidder. - At the end of the auction we received an email to confirm that we were the highest bidders and that we had 'won'. - The email states that they would try to take our £5000 reservation fee. They appear to have been successful. - We subsequently received a call from the auctioneers telling us that in fact we had NOT met the reserve for the property, but that they were giving us the first opportunity to put in a bid of £134k to secure it. They said there had been a 'technical glitch.' Does anyone know what our legal rights are in this regard? We intend to hold the auctioneers to the contract. If the virtual hammer had fallen and we'd cited a technical glitch and tried to secure the property for £7k less, we'd be laughed out of town! Expecting to discuss this in detail with them tomorrow, so would love any advice or to hear from anyone with experience of this. Thanks, Chris
  14. Hi All, I am looking to purchase my first property as a BTL through an SPV. Do I retain my first time buyer rights as an individual? I've had conflicting advice/opinion from my mortgage broker and legal professionals. I know that within an SPV you have no choice but to pay the higher rate stamp duty, so does this have any baring?
  15. Hi all! I am currently purchasing two flats, both freehold (one ground floor and one first floor flat). This purchase will mean I will own the whole building (there are only two flats in this house that has been converted around 10/15 years ago). I've been going through the dilemma of purchasing through an LTD or not and finally concluded that LTD was the way to go; however because I am a first time landlord and the two flats are freehold I (my broker) has struggled to find competitive interest only mortgages and consequently wipe out the benefits entirely (and some) of going the LTD route. So now am purchasing the flats in my own name. Can I own the freehold of the land that the two flats are situated on in my own name (self-assessment) and issue two leaseholds (one for each flat) and have these in my LTD? How do you issue a leasehold when you are freeholder? Many thanks in advance!
  16. Hi all, My stepbrother and I currently jointly own one buy to let property which is slowly (!) building up funds for the next deposit. We are looking at finance for our next property and there's a possibility of an investment from a family member. (They would get a percentage back on their investment each year and at the end of the 5 year fix we would buy them out, returning their original investment). We have looked at setting up the investment as a charge on the property so as to protect the investors money but lenders aren't prepared to lend on this basis. The alternative is 'gifting' the investment but that doesn't protect the investor's money. Are there any other options?? Many thanks, Alex.
  17. Hi, Does any one have any recommendations for a solicitor to work on a ltd company buy-to-let purchase in Liverpool? Any help or advice would be much appreciated, this is my first one! Thanks, Kate
  18. Hi, I bought a BTL property last year via an SPV and paid £500 + VAT for independent legal advice for the personal guarantee. I'm now on BTL no.2 and would absolutely love to avoid being robbed at daylight this time round! Can anyone suggest and London based solicitors (or national ones offering the service via Skype) that can give advice at a reasonable price? Thanks
  19. Hi all, There are 2 vacant houses, side by side, round the corner from where I'm living. I spoke to the next door neighbour, who told me the place had been empty for 30 years!! The front garden is totally overgrown and forest-like, being an eyesore around neighbouring houses which are lovely. Apparently there have been various people that have tried to buy them over the years and failed. I spoke to the Council today who told me they have tried to sue and serve notices to the owner and also try and buy them - but the owner is in his 90's and doesn't seem in the least interested in the houses. The daughter also has issues and similarly has no interest in dealing with anything to do with them. They're on such prime real estate it's such a shame. I'd desperately like to purchase them, but don't know what to do, if even the Council has failed. Is this a lost cause, or is there something I can do to purchase these? Does anyone know the law relating to abandoned properties - surely if they're empty for 30 years, there are grounds to legally transfer the deeds? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Olivier.
  20. Hi there, My wife and are leaseholders on a property in London. We've been in negotiations to buy the freehold, as we're entitled to do, the negotiations have been going on for a while as the freeholder was difficult to get hold of and disengaged. They are now no longer engaging with us at all or responding to any our communications. This is now also hindering us doing some much needed roof repairs on the property. Can anyone recommend any good property lawyers that deal with freehold enfranchisement and property management disputes? Thanks in advance VHB
  21. Hi Hubbers, Has anyone else come across this ground rents over £250pa AST issue? I have had several city centre apartment investments in Birmingham rejected by our solicitors recently because the ground rents were either above £250, or there were provisions in the leases meaning future increases (often doubling or RPI linked) could potentially lead to them rising over £250. The explanation is: "Leases which have ground rent above £1000 in London or £250 outside of London are currently classed as an “assured tenancy” under the Housing Act 1988. This means that the Landlord can seek to end the lease by an order of the court, and attempt to evict the Tenant if there is ground rent more than 3 months in arrears." So in theory, if the ground rent went unpaid for any reason, even if it was just a mistake, the property could be taken back by the freeholder! This only applies if the property is owner-occupied, but even if the property is bought as an investment, this could obviously have a significant impact on the future resale value? If this is indeed accurate then no leasehold property outside of London with a ground rent of over £250 is fit for purchase, which is insane because almost all of them have GR higher than this? Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.... Articles relating to this issue: https://www.mishcon.com/news/publications/real_insights_-_property_update_05_2017/assured_tenancy_traps__the_unexpected_ast_05_2017 https://www.attwells.com/site/news-and-events/leases_with_high_ground_rent http://www.sharratts-london.co.uk/news/95-escalating-ground-rent-what-will-the-future-hold
  22. Hi, I have received a letter regarding the ground rent on one of the flats I own.. essentially there was a 10 year doubling of the ground rent and the leaseholder is offering a "Deed of variation" to change this to be RPI linked. I'm looking for a solicitor or can look over the fine print and handle this issue on my behalf - does anyone have any recommendations?
  23. Hi All, Looking for some help on the freehold enfranchisement process specifically related to the management set up. Shortly a building with 4 flats (converted) will be taking the freehold enfranchisement route. All 4 landlords are happy to be involved. Nice and easy so far. As part of this we will need to set up a Ltd company to own the freehold and manage the building. This is where I have some questions. 1. The company will have 4 directors - does this in anyway link these people together outside of the company. 2. I understand after year 1 you can ask companies House to register it as dormant as its a freehold management company, however if there is money coming in and going out (not for profit) to manage the company (gardening, communal lights, savings for roof etc) does this matter? Will tax returns be needed still? 3. A bank account will need to be set up to manage this building per the above. What is the best way to set this up? 4 directors on one account seems messy and will surely link everyone together financially, but a single person may be perceived as risky for the others. Any advice here would be greatly recieved. Thanks
  24. Hi all, I own a flat in a converted house, with a share of freehold (I, along with the other flat owners, are equal shareholders in the management company which owns the freehold). All the owners have agreed that as our leases only have 55ish years remaining we should extend them, and this has been agreed and a solicitor engaged to handle this. I recently received my new counterpart lease, and am a little surprised at its format, so am interested to know from more experienced folk if this is OK and normal. The new counterpart lease is a very bare-bones document compared to the original , and there are many references to the "old lease", which is defined in one of the clauses of the new lease, referencing the old title number. The new lease states that the old lease will be surrendered, and that "the Landlord demises to the Tenant the Premises with the same rights exceptions and reservations as are expressed in the Old Lease with full title guarantee to hold the same unto the tenant for the term of xx years... subject as mentioned in the Old Lease and subject to and with the benefit of the Tenant's and the Landlord's covenants respectively contained in the Old Lease..." However, the solicitor has confirmed that on completion the old lease will be removed from the land registry, and the copy that I have will be the only copy. This strikes me as very odd - the new lease has very little information in it, other than that referencing the old lease. If the old lease is removed from the registry and I have the only copy (and all the other flat owners are in the same position), then I don't see what would be stopping any of us altering the "old lease" and claiming that those altered conditions applied now. Effectively I am protected in various ways from my neighbours (noise, occupancy rules, etc etc) by the terms and covenants in their leases, and I'm concerned that these protections may be at risk. I was expecting a simple alteration of the end date of the original lease. Or failing that, a fully drafted new lease with all the appropriate wording - but the solicitor says that the proposed lease is fine and avoids the "huge expense" of drafting a whole new lease. I've already picked up on some straightforward errors by the solicitor so I don't have full confidence in them - they were appointed by one of the other flat owners, and I just want to be sure everything is in order. Any thoughts on whether I have anything to be concerned about would be most welcome! Thanks, Anthony
  25. I’ve been doing some digging into the changes that are being made to the HMO licensing regulations and this is going to affect a lot of people. Essentially, from the 1st October, if you have 5+ people in your property from 2 or more households, you willl need an HMO license, regardless of the number of floors (previously it needed to have 3 floors to qualify). So anyone with a 3-4 bed house that has been converted into 5 rooms will be affected, and so will anyone who has tenants sharing a double room with their partner (example: if you have a 4 bed and the partner of one tenant moves in and you put them on the agreement it suddenly needs licensing). I understand these changes are coming in to crack down on rogue landlords who pack people into their shabby, unsafe properties like sardines but there’s a fair few decent folk who will get caught with their pants down and have to either fork out upgrading their doors, smoke detectors, emergency lighting etc and get licensed, or reduce the number of people living in their property which will impact their yields. If you are planning on applying for a license, be aware that your lender will be notified, so if you are not on an HMO mortgage, you will breach the terms of your agreement. If this affects you and you’re not planning on applying for a license, be warned that councils are recruiting additional inspectors in anticipation of the changes and if your property gets inspected you will have a problem on your hands. HMOs are pretty easy to spot from the outside and tend to be clustered in the same streets so its not hard for inspectors to go door to door. We’re getting hit from all angles at the moment and I worry this could be the tipping point for some landlords to sell up and ship out.
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