These notes explain the basis on which we carry out the work necessary in a property transaction. All clients do of course receive a fuller and more formal contract.
Charges and expenses: Our fixed fees apply for standard property sale or purchase transactions, remortgages, and right-to-buy purchases. Any other charges are based on a hourly rate set out in our terms of engagement sent to you at the outset.
We always provide a detailed written estimate for our work. This is broken down into our charges, monies that we have to pay to other people on your behalf (disbursements) and VAT. In addition we have included Land Registry fees and Stamp Duty Land Tax.
We will always inform you if any unforeseen extra work becomes necessary - for example, if your requirements or the circumstances change significantly during the matter. And we will always provide a written estimate before anyone incurs extra costs. If we cannot reach agreement on these charges, we will do no further work on the matter and you will receive a bill for work done to date.
We do charge for writing letters and making phone calls, in units of one tenth of an hour. Our charges for considering letters received are costed in units of one twentieth of an hour.
We guarantee that our total charge will not exceed the fee already agreed.
For property purchase we require a deposit of £350.00 before we start work on the matter to enable us to pay disbursements as they become due, the Searchpack will require ordering at the outset. We may request further payments on account of disbursements as the matter progresses.
Bills: We normally send a bill for our charges and disbursements after exchange of Contracts. Payment of the bill is due on completion.
If sufficient funds are available on completion and we have sent you a bill we will usually deduct our charges from the funds available.
Otherwise payment is due within seven days, and balances outstanding thereafter attract an interest charge of 2% per month.
Mortgage advances: The purchaser is responsible for paying a mortgage lender's costs in connection with completing the advance. These will be dealt with by means of deduction from the advance and will be shown as such on the Completion Statement we send the purchaser before completion.
Where an existing mortgage needs to be settled before matters proceed, we will apply to the Lender for a redemption figure at the outset. The Lender may make a charge for providing this information, in which case it will be debited to your mortgage account.
Documents: After completing a transaction we normally retain the whole file for a minimum of six years for sales and 15 years for purchases.
Unless we hear from you to the contrary, we assume that we have consent to destroy the files at the end of that period. We will not destroy documents that a client asks us to deposit in safe custody, of course, and in any case we will pass over any key documents that you request.
We do not normally make a charge for retrieving stored papers or Deeds in response to new instructions from a client. We do reserve the right to make a charge based on the time we spend on reading papers, writing letters or other work necessary to comply with the instructions.
We are entitled to retain all papers and documents while money is owing to us.
Termination: A client may terminate their instructions to us at any time, though we do require this in writing.
We also reserve the right to terminate the relationship ourselves, though we will decide to stop acting for a client only with good reason and after giving reasonable notice.
A particular example might apply when a client is buying property with a mortgage. Lenders will usually ask us to act on their behalf. If so, we will have to pass them information provided by the client that might be relevant to the Lender's decision about finalising purchase. If you have given us information that you don't want the lenders to know, we may have to stop acting for one and possibly both of the parties.
Queries and concerns: We are confident that we provide a high quality service in all respects. We value our relationships with clients, and we are always anxious to try to resolve any problems or complaints that clients may have.
We are also regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, which can consider any queries or enquiries about its members.