Legal advice from Tim Jordan, Conveyancing Partner at FDR Law’s office in Stockton Heath.
Q: In what situation would a conveyancing solicitor advise against going ahead with a purchase, and do I have to take their advice?
A: A specialist conveyancing solicitor will be experienced to recognise areas of concern with a property and will bring these to your attention and advise accordingly so that you as the client can make the decision whether to progress or not. For example:
- Survey – the outcome of a surveyor’s report is not a legal decision, however it may highlight structural issues or potential problems with the property that could ultimately result in costs that hadn’t been budgeted for, these are likely to be pointed out by your solicitor and the client can then decide to not proceed on that basis.
- Ground Rent – each mortgage provider will have different rules that need to adhered to and these are becoming more stringent. If the terms of the lease do not comply, then the decision not to continue with the loan (and potentially then the purchase) will come from your lender.
- Leasehold – the length of time remaining on the lease is key, the shorter the period is the more likely it is that your solicitor will advise caution on proceeding.
- Leases – your solicitor will review carefully the terms around the monthly or annual maintenance costs associated with buying a flat so you fully understand the current and potential future service charges.
- Planning/Building Regulations – if the property has undergone renovations and alternations but there is little or no evidence of planning documentation or building regulation approval, then your solicitor will ask questions to understand why or how this has happened, and will advise you of the potential consequences.
You are entitled to proceed with a purchase despite the advice provided by your legal representative, however it is highly likely that you will be asked to sign a disclaimer as confirmation. Also if you are relying on a mortgage to assist with your purchase, your lender may refuse to lend if adverse issues arise even if you wish to do so, if it considers that its security may be at risk.