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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I bought a property in 2011 with my partner. It is/was a first

Resolved Question:

I bought a property in 2011 with my partner. It is/was a first floor flat with a share of the freehold. At the end of 2012 I bought out my partner as things didn't work out. I approached my conveyancing solictor and they said I needed to do a transfer of equity plus update of the registry/titles. This was completed Jan 2013 and everything seemed fine. My downstairs neighbour is now selling up and I have reveived the TR1 form and my ex is still named on the freehold. My solicitors say that I should have told them I had a share of the freehold as they couldn't have been expected to remember. They want to charge me hundreds to go through the process again, which will involve contacting my ex AND delay my neighbour's conveyancing. Is this fair and should they not have checked about the freehold? Many thanks, Chris
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

Did the same solicitors act for you when you purchased the flat please?

Joshua :

Did you at any point mention the freehold at the time you instructed them in relation to the transfer of equity?

Customer:

Hi. They were the same solicitors and I did not mention anything regarding freehold or lease, I just assumed they did it.

Customer:

Hi Joshua, did you get my reply? Apologies if you're answering and I'm being impatient! I'm not sure how fast this chat works.

Joshua :

Thanks. If they acted fro you when you bought then it is reasonable to expect them to raise this issue as they have access to your conveyancing file and cannot claim to have not known.

Joshua :

IT would be relatively standard practice to request the old file if acting for you in such circumstances.

Customer:

That is what I thought.

Joshua :

As such you could complain that failure to raise the issue does amount to negligence as you are the client and they the professional and it for them to advise you not for you to prompt them and given they acted for you when you bought they had full and free access to inspect your conveyancing file.

Joshua :

Having said all of that since it is your neighbour that is presently in need of procuring the transfer unless there is a specific provision in your lease that requires you to sign a transfer on request, then you have the option of essentially saying to your neighbour this is the position and if he needs it done he will have to cover the costs. You may not feel comfortable doing this but it is an option open to you potentially.

Joshua :

If your ex is willing to cooperate the matter is little more than you and her signing a transfer and your neighbour can deal with the registration formalities. If she is not willing to cooperate however it could entail a court application which would be far more long winded and costly.

Customer:

I completely agree. I work on a similar basis as a structural engineer and I don't expect my clients to inform my of my design criteria.

Customer:

She will be fine. I have requested that my solictor rectify the problem i.e. remove my ex from the freehold, then my neighbour's conveyancing can proceed. Do you think they should be charging me?

Customer:

(*me)

Joshua :

If she is willing to cooperate then you should be able to largely bypass the issue - I am sure you have better things to do than waste time complaining to your solicitor. You could simply say to your neighbour that he needs to provide you with a correctly drawn transfer deed on which you will procure your ex's signature and you will sign and that if you require legal advice on the same to explain what it is you are signing you will expect him to cover the limited cost of this.

Joshua :

Alternatively you could pursue the matter with your solicitor and demand they carry out the work free of charge under threat of complaint but it seems to me the above is likely to be a more pragmatic and efficient option if your ex will cooperate.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you?

Customer:

OK, so are you saying that instead of doing the tranfer of freehold twice, it could be possible to get my neighbour's solicitor to draw up the new forms saying that the new owners of the freehold will be just me and the new buyer and my ex removed? She would be happy to sign this is that is the case.

Customer:

(*if)

Joshua :

Exactly so. There is little point doing two transfers. That is just transferring for transferring's sake and wasting HMLR fees and peoples time. One transfer will transfer straight to you and the new buyer as appropriate.

Customer:

I can't believe my solicitor didn't suggest this. It seems so obvious now! I will pursue this option. Many thanks!

Joshua :

As it is the neighbour requesting the same it is not unreasonable to ask him to cover your legal costs if you require advice though I am sure you are familiar enough with transfer deeds so as potentially not require advice.

Joshua :

A pleasure. I hope you are able to resolve the matter with the minimum of fuss.

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.

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