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Applying the Law Society Protocol to your Conveyancing
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At Parkes Wilshire Johnson Solicitors we adopt The Law Society Protocol on all residential conveyancing transaction (except for new builds). The Protocol is designed to act as a framework for the sale and purchase of residential property and the 2019 version took effect from the 19th August. One of the key changes relates to leasehold properties (Section 8). It aims to set out best practice and states that your solicitor should ensure that the client is aware of the difference between freehold and leasehold ownership. It is a part of the Law Society’s drive towards informing buyers from the outset about the fundamental elements of a proposed transaction.
A solicitor who adopts the Protocol should therefore consider the lease and advise a buyer as necessary as soon as they have the information concerning: –
- The residual lease term
- The amount of ground rent payable
- The method and timing of increases in the ground rent
- The amount of service charge payable.
In addition, when a solicitor receives the leasehold management information provided by the managing agents/landlord, the buyer should be notified about any potential proposed works to the property which could lead to a substantial increase in the amount of service charge payable.
This is an entirely new section which highlights the significance of the leasehold issues that have recently come to the fore in relation to ground rents, residue and lender requirements. For example, If ground rent in a lease is more than £250 per annum outside of London or £1,000 per annum within London, in properties being occupied by a tenant as their only or principal home, current legislation means that any leases with a ground rent of above these limits could result in them being classed as an assured tenancy under the Housing Act 1988. The issue has arisen as leases have started to contain unfair ground rent escalation provisions such as doubling every 10/15 years over a term of 999 years. This results in an extremely high ground rent which could affect the value in the future marketability of the Property therefore it is vital to ensure that the basic provisions of the Lease are reported to the client to ensure that not only are the terms reasonable, but they are also acceptable to their lender.
At Parkes Wilshire Johnson Solicitors all our conveyancers are solicitors and we are also accredited by the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) Practice Management Standards. We will report to the buyer at the very outset regarding the remaining term of the lease, ground rent and service charges payable. This is to enable the buyer to make an informed decision at an early stage in the transaction about whether they wish to proceed and before they incur unnecessary costs
If you would like to instruct us in relation to your property transaction, please email email@example.com or alternatively telephone our offices at Cockfosters and East Barnet on 0208 441 1556.