Residential Property

At Protopapas LLP, we are residential property specialist solicitors and we are routinely instructed in all aspects of residential property matters. Our dedicated and experienced team has the necessary knowledge and expertise to deal with and advise on a wide range of transactions and property issues – and has been doing so since 1990.
 
In addition to sales and purchases, we undertake all other work relating to residential property, both transactional and contentious. Other popular areas include: leasehold enfranchisement matters; licences for alterations, assignment, subletting; preparing and dealing with Assured Shorthold Tenancies and related issues; conducting and defending evictions; and more, as outlined below. We also have specialist property litigation solicitors on hand to deal with any contentious matters relating to residential property.
 
We also work closely with various estate agents dealing in residential property. This includes: the preparation of terms and conditions of business for the letting and sales of property; preparing multi use Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements; preparing multi use commercial letting agreements for residential lettings falling outside the cope of Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements; preparing deeds ogf guarantee for guarantors; and preparing other bespoke documents as required. We are also regularly instructed to deal with tenant problems including the non payment of rent and evictions.
 
Whilst our residential property specialist solicitors are most regularly involved in the sale and purchase of residential properties, we do not lose sight of the fact that for most people buying or selling a home is the single most important transaction of their lives. We will always take the time and care to ensure that our clients are familiar with the process and the costs involved. We will also always be upfront and realistic with timescales. Indeed, we are accustomed to working quickly and diligently, however, we will never give a client an unrealistic timescale as we understand that managing our clients’ expectations is as important as the transaction at hand. We will also never cut any corners and do not intend to leave any stone unturned. Especially when purchasing a property, it is imperative that all necessary investigations are conducted property and thoroughly so that all relevant details relating to the property can be  explained to the client; and we will always do just that.

HOW CAN WE ASSIST YOU?

We can advise you on:

  • Sales and Purchases of Freehold and Leasehold Properties
  • Grant of New Leases / New Build Properties
  • Lease Renewals and Extensions
  • Right to Buy Purchases
  • Help to Buy Scheme Purchases
  • Mortgages and Re-mortgages
  • Declarations of Trust for Jointly Owned Properties
  • Licences for Alterations, Assignment, Subletting
  • Transfers of Equity
  • Leasehold Enfranchisement
  • Right to Manage Companies
  • Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements
  • Squatters Problems
  • Section 8 and 21 Notices to Quit
  • Service Charges
  • Disrepair Charges
THE CONVEYANCING PROCESS

The conveyancing process can be somewhat complex but you must not let that worry you. We will ensure that appropriate and thorough legal investigations are carried out and all relevant legal requirements are complied with. We will guide you through every step handling each matter with speed, care and professionalism. We will take the time to explain matters and keep you informed of all important developments in the transaction, thereby minimising anxiety and apprehension.

Whether you are buying or selling we will take all necessary steps to ensure that the transaction runs as smoothly as possible to your required timescale. We will also frequently correspond with the other side’s solicitors and work closely with any estate agent to progress the transaction as quickly and as efficiently as possible. If you are buying and selling at the same time we will ensure that the two transactions are synchronised so that you do not end up without a home or with one too many!

BUYING

As soon as you instruct us on a purchase we will make immediate contact with the seller’s solicitors requesting evidence of the seller’s title to the property and all other relevant information about the property.

We will then commission a number of searches and raise enquiries with the seller in order to ascertain whether anything onerous is registered against the property at the Land Registry or any other public registers.

If you are taking out a mortgage or other loan to assist with your purchase, we will liaise with your lender and deal with their requirements.  We will negotiate the contract and ensure that, so far as it is dependent on us, it is exchanged and completed on the dates that suit you.

Once our investigations are completed, we will prepare a comprehensive Report, setting out all matters revealed in our investigations together with any specific advice relating to your purchase.

We will advise you not to proceed to exchange of contracts, thereby committing yourself to buying the property, unless you:

  1. Are happy with all aspects of the property and our Report
  2. Have had a satisfactory survey and valuation of the property and
  3. Have made arrangements for sufficient funds to be available on the date fixed for exchange and completion of your purchase to pay the balance of the purchase price and all taxes, duties and costs relating to the purchase.
SELLING

If you are selling your property we will prepare, negotiate and agree the sale contract with the buyer’s solicitors. We will also collect and submit to the buyer’s solicitors all deeds and documents relevant to the property. We will take your instructions in relation to any enquiries raised by the buyer and answer them on your behalf. 

If you are selling a leasehold property, you may require a licence to assign from the freeholder of the property in order to proceed with the sale; we will liaise with the freeholder on your behalf and obtain the necessary licence; you will most likely be liable for the freeholder’s legal costs. In addition, when selling a leasehold property, you also almost always require what is known as a ‘management pack’ from the freeholder/managing agent which we will obtain at the outset of any transaction; the seller is usually liable for the cost of the same. 

We will arrange for exchange of contracts and following completion of your sale, we will make arrangements to pay off your mortgage (if you have one). Once completed, we will send all deeds and documents to the buyer. 

EXCHANGE IS KEY

Until contracts are actually exchanged no purchase or sale is secure. Up until that point, your seller or buyer can simply change his mind without having to compensate you for the loss of bargain or wasted costs. Similarly, you can change your mind without any liability. A deposit of 10% of the purchase price is usually payable on exchange of contracts however this may vary depending on the terms of the sale. If you are buying a property we advise that no “preliminary”, “holding”, “refundable” or “non refundable” deposit is paid before exchange of contracts. Once contracts have been exchanged, both parties must make preparations towards completion on the date specified in the contract.

COMPLETION

Completion is the last stage of the conveyancing process. The time during exchange and completion is often used for parties to arrange their affairs and ensure that all funds are in place to complete the purchase. Once contracts are exchanged the parties must complete the transaction on the date and time fixed for completion, otherwise the defaulting party will incur penalties. 

If you are the buyer, when your purchase is completed, we will prepare and submit your Stamp Duty Land Tax return to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and register the property in your name and any mortgage in favour of your mortgagee. 

If you are the seller, we will use the funds received for the sale to pay off any mortgages, other charges and costs such as estate agent’s fees. Solicitors on both sides will also work together to discharge (i.e. remove) any previously registered mortgage against the title of the property registered at the Land Registry.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

We will not offer valuation or investment advice as this is outside our expertise. You should take advice from a surveyor as to the state and condition of the property you are buying. A valuer will advise you on whether the price you are paying or receiving for the property is the market price for it. 

If you are buying a residential property as an investment, the same legal investigations will be carried out. Additionally we will consider and advise you on any tenancy to which the property may be subject and you must take a valuer’s or estate agent’s advice as to the market rent for the property and the ease with which you will be able to let or re-let the property if it became vacant. 

There may be tax implications to consider in relation to your sale or purchase. We will guide you as to what is required and what further expert advice you should seek.

ENFRANCHISEMENT AND LEASE EXTENSION

If you are buying a flat we will investigate the service charge position and your obligations under the lease. Our specialist team will also offer advice on Enfranchisement, that is, your right to join up with other flat owners in the block to force the landlord to sell you the freehold. We will also advise you on the possibility of extending the term of years granted by the lease and how to take advantage of the Right to Manage Process that would transfer the responsibility and decision making in relation to the block to the flat owners.

LEAVE IT TO US

Property transactions can be stressful. We are here to minimise that stress for you and to make sure that all legal aspects of your acquisition or sale are dealt with as efficiently and diligently as possible – we will not make a drama out of a crisis!

For further information please contact our Real Estate department today.