Conveyancing is the legal term used generally for the buying and selling of property but it also covers many other property law transactions, such as remortgages, transfers of equity, option agreements for land and the various different types of property such as :-

  • a freehold house
  • a leasehold flat
  • a new build property
  • shared ownership schemes
  • right to buy
  • property transactions arising from probate

With leaseholds of any kind, there is  quite a lot more work required than with buying or selling a house, and the possibility of legal issues arising on a lease, which might range from there being a need to extend the lease through to outdated clauses in it or possible breaches or issues relating to service charges or possible future major works means you should really expect to pay at least £300.00-£400.00 plus vat more when buying or selling a leasehold for legal fees than when buying or selling a house.

There has been a tendency for both buyers and sellers to think of conveyancing as being a pure processing type of legal work in the last 10 or 20 years, and to simply seek out the cheapest conveyancers. However, many aspects of conveyancing are not straightforward, mistakes can be made, corners may be cut if the price is very cheap and there are often technical legal issues. In effect, what has happened is that too many lawyers have qualified in the last 20 years and in desperation for work, undercutting has been prevalent. It is a quite astonishing fact that process charged for conveyancing have literally not risen for 20 years. If you compare that to inflation or the fact that estate agents and others will charge a percentage of the sale or purchase price, charges of say £500.00 plus vat and disbursements are frankly ludicrously low, especially when compared to what property lawyers charge in other countries.

It is no wonder that something has had to give, with poor service, mistakes and claims by lenders (with many conveyancing transactions historically, the solicitors acting for the buyer or seller also represent the lender) increasing and the advent of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme, a Law Society accreditation which is difficult to achieve, and lenders restricting who can act for them, is now resulting, finally, in many law firms withdrawing from the conveyancing market or being unable to act. this in turn means that there are less firms doing conveyancing, leaving the quality ones to come to the fore. If the public have to pay a bit more for conveyancing, this will frankly be money well spent, since whilst it is understandable that with so many other expenses associated with buying or selling, costs considerations are important, there is nothing worse than having legal work badly done or at worst done negligently.

This page contributed by property conveyancers in London, Darlingtons solicitors, who also have a designated site for all types of issues on leases, which is being a leaseholder.