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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71050
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I moved into my property in July 2013. I completed and exchanged

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I moved into my property in July 2013. I completed and exchanged contracts and paid all legal fees due at the time.

I specifically asked the solicitors about if there was any further fees due as on buying house form some of the development I live on is leasehold.
My property is freehold, however some areas of the street are leasehold so I was aware that I would have to pay something per year towards this.

After moving house and asking the question I heard nothing so carried on as normal.
In January this year (2014) my solicitor I used for the conveyancy was requested for a payment of £290 that the leasehold management company have requested in order to change the land registry over and setup the account in our names.

I have asked my solicitor many times for a detailed breakdown of how this cost is derived as it seems expensive for effectively just signing a few forms.

I didn’t get an answer, I then sent two letters and countless emails and finally they gave the contact details at the leasehold management company.
Their charges are for the following:

• Checking the sellers account – payments, security deposit
• Responding to solicitors enquiries
• Retrieve the original Deed from archive
• Produce the new Deed of Covenant for the buyer
• Calculate the apportionment due from the seller
• Raise invoice for our fee
• Produce the Consent Certificate for the Land Registry
• File, consent and signed Deeds passed to senior management for checking and signing off
• Issue one copy of the Deed and our consent providing all fees and charges have been received and management have signed the file off.

So this is just to sign the paperwork off.

After this I then need to pay £150 for a security deposit and then around £100 per year for the service.

I’ve gone back to the solicitors and said I’m not happy as this wasn’t included in their bill despite asking and it was confirmed that all fees were paid and nothing else was due.
So Basically I’m in a position where after living in my house for 6 months a bill to pay around £550 I’m not happy.

Where do I stand with the law with this?

I will pay if I must but I feel that the solicitors are to blame here for not raising this bill earlier.

I can anonymise the deed of covenant for some of you legal eagles to cast your expert eye over.

I think I will have to pay and then complain through the relevant authorities in due course.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

These costs are usually provided for in the lease.

Are they in the lease and if so did the solicitor simply not tell you about these charges?

Have you asked the solicitor that direct question? Ie as him to show where, in any previous paperwork he sent, he told you about these charges?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,

I send our solicitors a fax, email and letter for this when paying their requested fees in order to complete, this was before the moving out date. The solicitor said they would give us this cost when it was available.


I received the information in January 2014 6 months after moving into the property.


A copy of the deed of covenant is below:


It was mentioned in the TA6 form in 9.1 but just the company name, no costs and no costs to transfer this to us.


I think I have received a poor service from the solicitor as many people were dealing with this across two different branches of the company.


I have everything on email for reference.

When you sent the fax and email asking for the total amount and the solicitors said they would give you that when available: are you saying that they did not include this or they included it but did not say how much it was?

What I need to ascertain is whether they overlooked it completely
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They did not include anything to do with this deed of covenant fee. I asked after paying as well and they said that this would be given in due course.


Also I'm concerned that the deed of covenant was not date signed as instructed by the solicitor and they have backdated their copy as they missed this from the conveyancy tasks on our property

It appears that you paid their bill and raised the issue of the deed of covenant charge afterwards to which they then replied that they would tell you about this in due course.
That is not good enough.
They should have told you about it with the rest of the money and even if at that stage they did not know what the amount was they should have told you that there will be an amount of money in respect of the Deed of Covenant which could be as much as £XXX but told you that they could not ascertain it at the time.
However there is another issue and that is that they should have asked the management company how much they should be otherwise it basically gives them an open-ended licence to charge as much as they like.

They should not even have told you that there will be an amount but we don't know how much it is.

And you have a legitimate complaint to make to the firm's complaints partner and if the matter is not resolved satisfactorily, to make a complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. This is breach of the service standard that you would reasonably have expected.

The dating of the deed of covenant to match the date of the lease is not unusual and causes no problem although if it was an omission it can be added into your complaint letter as a cause for concern.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much. Just one last question. The complaints partner is this internal to the company ? I'll send a recorded delivery letter and take it from there.

That is correct.

The name of the complaints partner should be in the very first letter that you got from the company enclosing their terms of business.

If you cannot find that letter, just ring the firm's reception and ask who the complaints partner is.

The correct procedure is that you must exhaust the firm's internal complaints procedure before making an external complaint.
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