Conveyancing and Property Law

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This checklist sets out when an energy performance certificate (EPC) is required for properties rented out as holiday accommodation. What is an EPC? An EPC is a certificate containing information about the energy efficiency of a building. When is an EPC required for a holiday let? An EPC is required for any property rented out in England and Wales as a holiday let. The guidance confirming this has effect from 30 June 2011. The owner or managing agent of the holiday let...

What are property searches? Our property team take a look at some of the searches solicitors carry out when buying property. The most important search your solicitor will need to carry out is a local authority search, often referred to by lawyers as a ‘local search’. This is a search of the council’s records in connection with your property, such as the records of North Devon District Council. The search result will detail the house’s planning history by telling us what...

Slee Blackwell Solicitors has become Devon’s first ever legal practice to secure membership to the Law Society's Conveyancing Quality Scheme - the mark of excellence for the home buying process. The practice, which has offices in Exeter, Barnstaple, Bideford, Braunton and South Molton, underwent rigorous assessment by the Law Society in order to secure CQS status, which marks the firm out as meeting high standards in the residential conveyancing process. The CQS scheme requires practices to undergo a strict assessment, compulsory training,...

1) Are all property titles in England and Wales registered at HM Land Registry? Whilst most properties are now registered with the Land Registry there still remain a sizeable number that are unregistered, a large proportion of which are in the West Country. Any property that has been transferred since the late 1980’s will have been registered at the Land Registry under the compulsory ‘first registration’ scheme. However, if a property has not changed hands in that time then it’s likely...

What is chancel repair liability? Rules going back to medieval times allow a church to demand payment from owners of former rectorial land for the upkeep and repair of the church chancel. For those whose knowledge of ecclesiastical architecture is a little sketchy, the chancel is the area around the altar. Who is affected? Chancel repair liabilities are often not mentioned in the title deeds, and can therefore take some new owners completely by surprise. The liability is more common than most people...

The many changes that Home Information Packs (HIPs) have undergone since their introduction has lead to a certain amount of confusion This is the current position: HIP Requirements From 6th April 2009 the following documents are required before the marketing of any property may commence: Evidence of title Energy Performance Certificate Property Information Questionnaire Sale Statement Index Searches and leasehold information must also be obtained within 28 days but it does not prevent marketing. Local Authority Searches Most HIPs contain personal local authority searches, obtained...

I recently took a telephone call from a local agent who had been asked by a potential buyer of a leasehold flat to explain residential leasehold property. The buyer knew very little about leases, which is not uncommon because most people have only ever owned freehold houses. In the current economic conditions buyers are being very cautious about where they spend their money and are far less willing to take on the risk of substantial borrowing. It is safe to say...

Mortgage fraud is on the increase and property owners are being urged by the Land Registry to act now to prevent becoming yet another victim. Whilst anyone owning an interest in a property can be a victim of mortgage fraud the following situations pose the greatest dangers: A relationship breakdown Where the owner is abroad or lives away from the property for large periods of time Where the property is empty or bought to let or where the owner is...

If the current difficulties in the housing market persist then demand for rented accommodation will increase, and with it rents. Many people see lettings as a way to increase income during these difficult times and choose to become landlords. Before they do here are 6 points a new residential landlord should consider:- If a landlord grants a tenancy and takes a deposit it must be paid into an accredited Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). Details of the scheme must also be given...