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info@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk

Elite Law Solicitors incorporates HM Law Costs Draftsmen Ltd and

Core Terms and Conditions of Business - Property Transactions

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS DOCUMENT COVERS OUTLINE TERMS OF BUSINESS FOR BOTH PURCHASE AND/OR SALE OF A RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY

 

We set out in this statement the core basis on which we will provide our professional services. This document is intended to be a brief overview of our core terms.

 

Our full Terms and Conditions will be provided to you in the event you choose to instruct us. Should you wish to view our full terms and conditions prior to instructing us please email us at info@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk.

 

Who We Are

 

Elite Law Solicitors “ELS” are authorised and regulated as a Legal Services Body in England and Wales under number 617591 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

 

We only offer legal services within the jurisdiction of England & Wales and agree with you that we each submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts. We hold professional indemnity insurance.

 

Our Aims and Responsibilities

 

We aim to offer all our clients an efficient and cost effective service and the highest standards of client care and we are confident we will do so in regards to your case. We will explain to you the issues that arise in your matter and will keep you informed of progress.

 

We will tell you when we consider that you need other types of professional advice to pursue your case that we are not qualified to provide. Please note that ELS do not ever provide tax, property or goods valuations or financial advice to clients. We also advise clients to strongly consider obtaining independent tax, valuation or financial advice as needed.

 

Charges and Expenses

 

You have received a written estimate of the probable cost of the transaction and also of all other costs and fees which we can reasonably foresee at the start of the transaction. Our legal fees and additional fees (known as Profit Costs) are professional fees which are not charged at cost as they include a profit element. By comparison disbursements are monies we pay out on your behalf to third parties which do not have an additional profit element, in other words, they are charged at cost.

 

We breakdown our Profit Costs as much as possible. We call this “unbundling”. We will always try and ensure that your final bill is in line with the estimate originally provided. We will try and alert you, where practical, on how to achieve completion without incurring additional costs and/or disbursements where this is possible.

 

We will notify you in writing if for any reason we feel it necessary to vary that estimate and will explain to you why we need to do so. Any additional work will be charged on an hourly rate basis. Our hourly rates range from £250 per hour to £130 per hour plus VAT depending on the qualifications and experience of the person/s dealing with your transaction. Please note that additional work on a hourly rate basis occurs very rarely.

 

Billing Arrangements

 

Upon initial instructions we will ask for £500 plus VAT for a purchase and/or £300 plus VAT for a sale on account of costs and disbursements which we normally use to pay for initial costs and/or other charges.

 

If we receive and hold money on your behalf, it will be deposited in a bank account designated for clients’ money which meets the requirements of the SRA Accounts Rules. We are not liable for any loss, cost or expense occurring out of any default on the part of the institution concerned or its insolvency, failure or collapse (save in the case of fraud or negligence on our part).

 

It is important that you understand that whatever the outcome of your case, the responsibility for paying our bills and expenses rests with you, as does any sums you agree or are ordered to pay to another party.

 

Origin/Receipt/Transmission of Monies

 

We are obliged to check the source of monies coming in and going out of our account. Monies may not be paid directly into our client account without the express permission of the fee earner handling your transaction, or their supervisor.

 

Identity, Disclosure and Confidentiality of Business

 

All advice given to you is entirely confidential, but:

 

  • Money laundering regulations may require disclosure of confidential information by law. Please note that we accept no responsibility for any loss arising from compliance with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and any amending legislation howsoever caused.

  • The Solicitors Regulation Authority and other supervisory bodies may call for a file.

  • A court order can compel disclosure of confidential material in certain circumstances.

 

As a result of the above it is necessary for us to impose certain obligations on our clients. These obligations include:

 

  • Providing evidence verifying identity.
  • Disclosing details of anyone (individuals, companies, or otherwise) who may have an interest in the transaction or property that we are dealing with.
  • Confirming what bank account will be used for making payments to us.
  • Not to send us money from anybody not connected with the transaction, nor request us to pay money to anyone not connected with the transaction.

 

If any of these obligations are not complied with then we must reserve the right to charge you for any additional checks that we may have to undertake.

 

Verifying Identity

 

The law requires us to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of our clients. Our client care letter sets out the evidence required to verify your identity and your address.

 

Land Registry Property Alert System

 

Property Alert is an award winning property monitoring service provided by the Land Registry aimed at anyone who feels a registered property could be at risk from fraud.

 

Once you have signed up to the service, you will receive email alerts when certain activity occurs on your monitored properties, allowing you to take action if necessary.

 

Data Protection and Copyright

 

We comply with the current Law on data protection.

 

Storage of Papers and Documents

 

We operate a paper and electronic storage system that is compliant with the GDPR data protection rules. Concluded files will be kept in storage for not less than six years. After that, storage is on the clear understanding that we have the right to destroy papers/electronic records after such period as we consider reasonable.

 

Complaints

 

We hope that our business relationship continues smoothly but from time to time things do go wrong and we appreciate this. If there is any aspect of our service or our fees with which you are unhappy then you should telephone, email or write to our firm’s Managing Partner, James Scozzi, who is based in our Amersham office. You can contact him by email on jscozzi@elitelawsolicitors.co.uk; phone him on 01494 722326 or write to him at Equity House, 57 Hill Avenue, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 5BX.

 

Referral arrangements

 

We may pay a referral fee for work to be referred to us. In such a situation we will inform you in writing and will tell you what fee we have paid.

 

Miscellaneous Charges and Disbursements

 

Other charges may apply, for example if a deed of covenant, share certificate or insurance is required. If that is the case, then we will advise you as soon as we become aware that this additional work will be required and of any additional costs.

 

In the course of the sale process, there are various charges that are incurred on a reasonably regular basis. These include, for example, the fee charged by the Local Authority for providing copies of planning and building consents and/or the fee charged by the Land Registry for copy documents referred to in your title.

 

Where we incur fees on your behalf, these are referred to as “disbursements”. A disbursement is a charge made by a third party for the provision of a service. An example of a disbursement would be the charge made by the Land Registry to register you as the new owner of the property following completion of your purchase. Disbursements are not included within this firm’s bill but are individually detailed in a separate Statement sent to you on or about the time you are due to complete.

 

Abortive Transactions

 

If your transaction does not proceed to completion, unless we have reached alternative arrangements directly with you then our charges for the abortive work will be calculated on a pro-rata basis dependent upon the stage the transaction has reached at the time we are instructed not to proceed.

 

Schedule of Additional Fees

 

These are fees that will or may be incurred during a transaction. As a result we bring them to your attention.

 

Verifying Identity

There is a charge for this of £35 + VAT for each individual search conducted which represents the fee currently paid to the search facility provider and the rest covering our administration costs for conducting and reviewing the results of the search.

Applicable to both Purchase and/or Sale transactions

Bank Charges

The charges are £45 plus VAT per bank payment out and £22.50 plus VAT per bank payment in. We will not charge you £22.50 when you pay the initial monies on account.

 

The banking charges include what we pay in banking charges per item, what we pay to use the banking platform and what we pay for the banking system generally. It costs us more to send money out than receive money in. In addition to this we have the costs in relation to our accounts department for undertaking this work. We operate a triple check system (1 fee earner, 1 accounts staff, 1 partner) to check payments and ensure fraud is avoided. These charges apply every time money goes in and out of our bank account irrespective of the origin of the money. You can choose to make fewer payments to keep these charges to a minimum.

 

If having instructed us to transfer money to a specific bank account in writing you ask us to change that instruction (cancellation) and send monies to a different bank account, we charge an administrative fee of £75 plus VAT for each and every occurrence.

 

If you ask us to send money abroad, the fee for each and every instruction for an International Money Transfer (IMT) including the first transaction, is £250 plus VAT due to the additional work and greater potential for fraud.

 

If you or the bank provides us with either incorrect bank or closed bank details, which may lead to us having to investigate the whereabouts of the funds or spend time dealing with enquiries in relation to an error (including dealing with returned funds) not caused by the acts or omissions of ELS, we will charge you £130 plus VAT per hour for dealing with this

Applicable to both Purchase and/or Sale transactions

Storage of Papers and Documents

Our fees for storage are based on a basic fee of £10 a year plus VAT. We keep most paper and electronic files for 6 years. After 6 years we destroy most electronic and paper files. If we keep a file beyond 6 years we do not charge you anything more.

 

The government data regulations require considerable input by us hence we have separated our storage charges from our legal fees so as to provide greater transparency.

Applicable to both Purchase and/or Sale transactions

Land Registry Property Alert System (LRPA)

We charge a fee to set up and disable the LRPA in relation to a property you own, are going to own or are going to sell. Our fees are £15 plus VAT to set up and disable each Alert. Please note that you can do this yourself without incurring a charge via the Land Registry.

Applicable to both Purchase and/or Sale transactions

 

This service is optional

Expedited Completion

Undertaking the work more quickly disrupts our processes as we have to prioritise your work. As such this will incur an additional charge of £150 plus VAT per transaction because the shortened timescale will involve your transaction being prioritised.

Applicable to both Purchase and/or Sale transactions

 

This service is optional

Transactions where a Retention is needed

If a retention is required additional work will arise after completion. Our additional estimated fees for dealing with a retention will normally be at least £50 plus VAT.

Applicable to both Purchase and/or Sale transactions

 

This service is optional

Indemnity Insurance

If we are required to organise a policy for you, we will charge a minimum fee of £25 plus VAT per policy (up to a maximum of £75 plus VAT) including our fee to arrange the policy to obtain an estimate and to put the policy on risk at the appropriate time and to send the same to you after completion. The price of the policy is separate and will usually be dependent on the value of the property.

Applicable to both Purchase and/or Sale transactions

 

This service is optional

 

Fees arising as result of you buying or selling the property pursuant to a Grant of Probate, LPA etc

The minimum charge for the Private Client Department to verify the validity of the document produced by you will be £50 plus VAT

Applicable to both Purchase and/or Sale transactions

 

This fee is transaction specific

 

Fees where a Company is buying or selling a property

Cost of checking the records held at Companies House to (a) verify that the Company remains active (b) confirm details of the officers of the company and (c) obtain general information in respect of the Company. This additional work will attract an additional fee of £25 plus VAT which includes the cost of the search, carrying out the search, obtaining the information and reviewing the results.

Applicable to both Purchase and/or Sale transactions

 

This fee is transaction specific

 

Fee if property is leasehold

The work required to purchase a leasehold property rather than a freehold property is greater. As a result there is an additional fee of £195.00 plus VAT. Said fee is usually shown in the estimate we provided you.

Leasehold Purchase Transactions ONLY

 

 

Lease Term

Work relating to extending the terms of the lease is not covered by our standard conveyancing retainer. The cost will be dependent on the complexity of the issues. Our legal fees will be discussed on a case by case basis. However, we envisage that our legal fees for the additional lease extension work will not be less than £400 plus VAT.

Purchase Transaction ONLY

 

This fee is transaction specific

 

Searches

The cost of obtaining an advising on the personal local search, drainage and water search and the Groundsure Homebuyers report is £295 plus VAT.

 

Other searches if required have specific costs. These would be transaction specific.

Purchase Transaction ONLY

Upgrading the Groundsure Homebuyers Report

The Groundsure Homebuyers Report can be upgraded to an Avista Search (more comprehensive search) for an additional £100 plus VAT which includes the cost of obtaining and advising on the same. The additional cost of this, against the additional knowledge base you obtain, makes this a sensible additional cost to consider.

Purchase Transaction ONLY

 

This service is optional

Dev Assess Search Report

The cost of obtaining and advising on this report is £145 plus VAT. The additional cost of this, against the additional knowledge base you obtain, makes this a sensible additional cost to consider.

Purchase Transaction ONLY

 

This service is optional

Flood Search

The cost of obtaining and advising on this search is £95 plus VAT

 

Purchase Transaction ONLY

 

This service is optional

 

Search Validation Insurance

We can arrange said insurance for approximately £75 to £90 plus VAT per policy including our professional fee to arrange usually within 24 hours

Purchase Transaction ONLY

 

This service is optional

Acting for Lender

If we are instructed to act for your lender, then our fees for doing so will be borne by you. Our estimated fees for this additional work will be a minimum of £150 plus VAT. This cost will apply if you taking out a mortgage to fund your purchase.

Purchase Transaction ONLY

 

This fee is transaction specific

 

Fees in the event of multiple mortgage offers

We will review the first change of mortgage instructions/offer (i.e. the first subsequent mortgage offer and instructions) at no additional cost to you. Thereafter (i.e. 3rd Mortgage offer), we reserve the right to charge an additional £75 plus VAT for each new/updated mortgage offer and instruction received by them. We may choose to waive this additional charge at our sole discretion.

Purchase Transaction ONLY

 

This fee is transaction specific

 

Help To Buy Transactions

If you are purchasing with the assistance of the Help to Buy this involves substantial additional work. Therefore, unless otherwise agreed between us, we shall charge an additional minimum £275 plus VAT to deal with the Help to Buy provider’s further requirements which includes a review of their instructions, reporting to you, reporting to your main lender, reporting to the Help to Buy provider and registration of their second charge.

Purchase Transaction ONLY

 

This fee is transaction specific

 

Transactions where the Land is Unregistered

There is an additional cost of £175 plus VAT incurred if the property you are purchasing is an unregistered title. This is due to the additional work required in registering the land.

Purchase Transaction ONLY

 

This fee is transaction specific

 

Transactions where a company is buying a property with a mortgage

You will need to have all charges created registered at Companies House which attracts a registration fee. We will charge an additional £25 plus VAT for the additional work needed to comply with Companies House requirements.

 

Purchase Transaction ONLY

 

This fee is transaction specific

Transactions which become abortive

If the transaction becomes abortive after:

 

  1. the initial stage before contract papers have been sent by the seller’s solicitors to us, the abortive charge will be £150 plus VAT to cover the administrative cost of collecting documents and information from you, reviewing the same, creating your matter on our case management system and a file as well running a closing procedure to archive the file;
  2. any contract papers have been sent from the seller’s solicitor to us, any searches being applied for (whether or not results have yet been received); any enquiries being raised (whether all replies have been received or not), the abortive charge will be 33% plus VAT of the estimate given and any additional fees identified before the matter goes abortive;
  3. any contract, lease, search or title reports have been sent by us to you advising on search results, your obligations as a borrower (if applicable) or documents and information relevant to the transaction and the property, the abortive charge will be 66% plus VAT of the estimate given plus 100% of disbursements and any additional fees identified before the matter goes abortive;
  4. contracts have exchanged but before completion has taken place (except where Notice of Completion has been served on you by the seller), our abortive charge will be the full fee plus VAT in accordance with the estimate given and additional fees identified.

Abortive Purchase Transaction ONLY

 

 

Transactions which become abortive

If the transaction becomes abortive after:

 

  1. the initial stage before contract papers are sent to the buyer’s solicitors, the abortive charge will be £150 plus VAT to cover the administrative cost of collecting documents and information from you, reviewing the same, creating your matter on our case management system and a file as well running a closing procedure to archive the file;
  2. any contract papers have been issued to the buyer’s solicitor, redemption statements obtained, enquiries have been raised by the buyer (whether all replies have been returned or not), the abortive charge will be 33% plus VAT of the estimate given and any additional fees identified;
  3. the sale report has been sent to you or contracts, transfers and appropriate documents have been signed, the abortive charge will be 66% plus VAT of the estimate given and any additional fees identified.
  4. contracts have exchanged but before completion has taken place (except where Notice of Completion has been served on you by the buyer), our abortive charge will be the full fee plus VAT in accordance with the estimate given and additional fees identified.

Sale Transactions ONLY

 

Objective

 

Our objective is to ensure you are happy with our service to the extent that you will recommend us to others. We try to ensure that, wherever possible, your final bill is in line with the initial estimate. If additional work is required we ensure you understand what that work is, why it is necessary and what the costs are prior to the work being undertaken. We have unbundled (broken down) our fees so you can see what we charge for each part of the work you have or may ask us to do. We are always happy to discuss specific charges. We strongly believe that the more informed you are the more informed your decision will be.