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02. Residential Property

How we can help you

The department advises private clients on a wide range of legal issues. In an ever-evolving market, we offer well-informed advice in all aspects of residential property law.

Recognising that conveyancing transactions can be a stressful time for our clients, we work closely with other professionals and are committed to carrying out the transaction as efficiently as possible where an expedition is given if required.

Your Sale

Your Solicitor will need to be advised of:

  1. Where your title deeds are held (i.e. if with your lender their name, address and your account number.)

  2. As to whether you are aware of any structural alterations, additions or extensions that have been made to the property.

  3. Whether there have been any replacement windows, velux installations or replacement external glazed doors together with approximate dates the works were carried out. Under new Building Regulations requirements, any of the aforementioned (if installed after 1st of April 2002) must have been carried out by a registered Member of the Fenestration/Glazing Federation. If the contractor was not registered then separate Building Regulations Consent should have been obtained for these works.

  4. You should not confirm a moving date to your removers until Contracts are exchanged

Your Purchase

Your Solicitor will need to be advised of:

1.    As soon as you have settled on a mortgage lender with whom you intend to proceed and advise them of any Broker's name, address, and phone number.

2.    You may be unsure as to whether to have any form of a private survey carried out for your own benefit rather than the valuation on behalf of your lender which is limited and only for their benefit, although you may be supplied with a copy. Whatever type of property you have decided to buy, this will probably be the largest personal acquisition that you make and therefore to safeguard yourself from any unknown surprises after you have completed your purchase you are well advised to commission a survey report for your personal benefit. Further advice can be given on the types and sources of economical surveys. Always advise your solicitor when your survey report has been received by you and ensure that your surveyor is asked to supply a copy direct to the solicitor.

3.    If you are buying a property jointly with another party give serious consideration as to how you wish to be registered as the owners of the property following completion. Further information on this subject is immediately available upon request.

4.    Consider as to whether you require any additional searches to be implemented by your solicitor over and above the generally obligatory Local Authority Search. i.e:
(a) Environmental Residential Search - £39.00
(b) Plan search Residential – £30.00
(both of these may be beneficial if you are purchasing in an area with which you are not particularly familiar or if you have any specific concerns regarding the locality.) 
Should an EnviroSource show that a property is in an area affected by Radon, we are able to provide further information on this subject.

5.    When viewing a potential property to purchase:
(a) Attempt to make a mental note as to whether the property has been the subject of any structural alterations, extensions or additions and if so what the areas now comprise.
(b) In order for loft conversions to be considered "a habitable room" they must comply with certain Building Regulation criteria, further advice is available from your solicitor.
(c) Have windows been replaced or newly installed? If there are live fires ask when chimneys were last swept.
(d) Pay particular attention to the condition of the boundary structures (fences) and the line thereof, if there are irregularities in the physical shape of the plot advise your solicitor.


When vacating the property:

The keys should be left with your selling agents who will not release them to your buyer until your solicitor has confirmed that the sale moneys have been received safely into their account.

Following Exchange of Contracts

You should arrange for the following:

  1. Meter readings in respect of electricity and gas on the morning of the day you are vacating the property, giving to the service provider a forwarding address to which your final account can be sent.

  2. Advise the supplier of the telephone line to the property of your impending move and again arrange for any final account to be sent to your new address. Often a buyer will want to take over the existing line.

  3. All rubbish and any items not included in the sale should be removed from the property.

  4. You should arrange direct with the Local Authority to check that all Council Tax liability is paid up to, but not beyond, the completion date. A reimbursement may be due to you

  5. You should arrange to settle any outstanding Water Rate account directly with the Utility at the request that any overpayment beyond the date you are vacating is reimbursed to you

Your Estate Agent will help you deal with any negotiations with the potential buyer throughout the transaction. However, it is prudent to keep your solicitor informed since their assistance will also be necessary.

Your Mortgage/ Re-Mortgage

A client will often presume that attaining borrowing from a lender to be secured over their property will lead to an early release of funds.

Whilst, having great expertise in this field, there are certain facts that a client should be aware of:

  1. The solicitor that they instruct will in the majority of cases also be instructed by the lender to act for them in dealing with their security over the client’s property. The solicitor will then have the same duty of care to the lender as to the
    client that has instructed them in all respects.

  2. A Lender’s requirements of a solicitor are lengthy and are set out in what is known as the Council of Mortgage
    Lenders Handbook  Parts I and II and also in the mortgage instructions which the solicitor will receive directly from the lender – which includes a copy of the mortgage offer granted to you.

  3. Before your solicitor can apply for the release of the mortgage funds it is necessary for them to have the following:

  • A full set of satisfactory search results which must be paid for by you (at a current cost of circa £370)

  • The Lender’s instructions and copy mortgage offer

  • A copy of the title to your property which the solicitor will obtain from the Land Registry and a full and satisfactory examination of it

  • Full disclosure by you as to any structural alterations additions or extensions which you are aware have been made to the property and if appropriate evidence of any necessary Planning Permission or Building Regulations Consent/Final Certificate

  • Copies of any Guarantees for Timber or Damp Treatment or the like

  • Copies of any Guarantees for replacement windows/doors and other supporting documents

  • Evidence of Buildings Insurance in accordance with the requirements of the Lender as set out in your mortgage offer

When these items have been received and are satisfactory your solicitor will then be in a position to complete what is known as their “Certificate of Title” and forward this to the mortgage lender, asking for a drawdown of funds.  The majority of lenders require a period of 5-7 working days from the receipt of the Certificate of Title for the funds to be supplied to your solicitor.

During the Mortgage process, there may well be one point that has not been drawn to your attention when making your application and receiving your mortgage offer and this is the fact that any Bank Mortgage (of which your lender may be a subsidiary) is what is known as an “all moneys charge” over your property.

The implications of this can be far-reaching and it is essential that you are fully aware of the mortgage which you are taking.  If you are in any doubt, and after you have received your mortgage offer, ask your solicitor to explain such implications fully to you before proceeding.

You should estimate a period of between three and four weeks for your solicitor’s due diligence work to be carried out.

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Over 40 years of Accumulated Practice

Talk to us

If you would like advice on any works relating to Residential  Property please get in contact with John Elgee or Tina Patel who will be about to advise you.

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