You can use this guide to understand any quotation we may have given to you.
What are disbursements?
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Land Registry registration fees*, or the fees payable to a management company (if applicable) in order for it to provide information about service charges or to process a change of ownership on its accounting records, fees payable to the local authority to obtain a copy of a document you don’t hold, or the cost of an indemnity policy arranged in place of a search or to resolve a title defect query. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
For leasehold properties, please see below for details of some additional disbursements which might apply but which cannot be quantified at the outset.
If we provide a conveyancing quotation, the list of disbursements is not necessarily exhaustive. Much depends on the circumstances of your individual property transaction. For instance, if your property is freehold but it is on an estate where there is an estate service charge, many of the anticipated disbursements listed below for leasehold properties could apply. We will be able to update you on the specific additional disbursements that will apply when we have considered the title records.
If you are only mortgaging or remortgaging an existing property, your new lender may permit us to arrange search indemnity insurance rather than asking us to arrange full searches (which would be required if you were purchasing a property with a mortgage, by contrast). The cost of search indemnity varies depending on the value of the property or the loan amount but is typically between £20 and £50 for most cases. Please also budget for this on appropriate cases.
*Note for Land Registry registration fees: We use the Business E-Services Portal to submit most of our Land Registry applications, which means we ensure you benefit from the 50% discounted fee rate wherever this is possible. Most transactions do qualify and for that reason, we quote the discounted rate in our costs estimates. However, if your property is unregistered, is brand new (newly built) or involves the grant of a new lease, the full registration fee will apply. Please bear in mind that sometimes we do not find out which rate will be applicable until we receive the seller’s paperwork, and we will update you if our estimate changes.
Disbursements specific to leasehold properties
There are certain additional disbursements which sometimes apply to leasehold properties. If applicable these will often be mentioned in the individual lease relating to the Property, although not always. They might include for instance:
• Notice of Transfer fee – This fee if chargeable is sometimes set out in the lease. Often the fee is between £100 – £250.
• Notice of Charge fee (only if the property is to be mortgaged – purchases/remortgages) – This fee is also sometimes set out in the lease. Often the fee is between £50 – £250.
• Deed of Covenant fee (sales/purchases) – This fee is provided by the management company for the property and can be difficult to estimate. Often it is between £150 – £250.
• Certificate of Compliance fee (purchases/remortgages) – To be confirmed upon receipt of the lease, and this can range between £150 – £250.
• Landlord’s Consent to Assignment fee (sales) – This fee if chargeable is sometimes set out in the lease. Often the fee is between £100 – £250.
• Landlord’s Leasehold Property Enquiries fee* (sales / remortgages) – This fee is provided by the landlord for the property and can be difficult to estimate. This is the fee the company charges to provide a standard pack of information for you to pass on to the purchaser, including service charge accounting information and details of its administrative requirements. Often the fee is between £150 – £250.
• Management Company Leasehold Property Enquiries fee* (sales/remortgages) – This fee is provided by the management company for the property and can be difficult to estimate. This is the fee the company charges to provide a standard pack of information for you to pass on to the purchaser, including service charge accounting information and details of its administrative requirements. Often the fee is between £150 – £250.
*Sometimes only one of these two fees apply. We will not know until we check the lease and/or contact the appropriate parties. This sentence needs to stay in italics.
This list is not exhaustive. We will update you on the specific fees upon receipt and review of the lease. These fees also vary from property to property and can on occasion be significantly more than the ranges given above. We can give you an accurate figure once we have sight of your specific documents.
You should also be aware that ground rent and service charge are likely to apply throughout your ownership of a leasehold property. For purchases, we will confirm the ground rent and the anticipated service charge once we receive this information. For sales and remortgages, you should also be aware that ground rent and service charge arrears may need to be paid off. For sales and purchases, apportionments of these charges between the relevant parties are agreed once a completion date is set.
For a leasehold property, you should definitely budget to pay for some of the Anticipated Leasehold Disbursements mentioned above. If you wish to check which ones might apply in your case, please contact us to discuss this.
Search Pack explained
If we have provided for a Search Pack in our conveyancing quotation, this covers the cost of a pack of three searches, which are recommended as standard by the Law Society; a regulated local authority search, a drainage search and an environmental search. It is assumed that for an average purchase transaction, most purchasers will want all three searches to be conducted, or that their mortgage lender will expect these to be obtained.
Not all purchase properties and purchasers are the same. In some cases there is flexibility to not conduct any searches, or to conduct fewer searches. For instance, a cash buyer has the option to choose what investigations they require us to make, or to instruct us to proceed without any search investigations. We do not however advise a purchaser to proceed without these minimum recommended searches.
In some cases additional or other searches are requested by purchasers or their lenders. We provide a menu of search options on providing our initial Terms of Business to you, so that you can make decisions about this.
Upon making our legal investigations, we may also have further recommendations for searches that should or need to be made, and if that applies, we will contact you.
Non-Standard conveyancing situations – supplemental fees
When we first provide a conveyancing quotation, we will know very little about your conveyancing transaction and will assume it will be straight forward and will proceed at a normal pace. However, not all cases are simple, and in some cases this means we will charge supplemental fees for the additional time to be spent dealing with complications.
Examples of complications that might occur include:
• Second or Subsequent Mortgages – we charge extra fees for arranging, transferring or redeeming a second secured loan, or otherwise corresponding with a second lender involved. Our charges depend on the type of loan (bank loan, family loan, help to buy loan etc), what type of transaction it is (sale, purchase, remortgage etc), and what work is required.
• Final Staircasing – we charge extra fees for shared ownership properties where final staircasing must take place at the same time as your conveyancing transaction. Our charges depend on the type of transaction it is (sale, purchase, remortgage etc), and what work is required.
• Company Client – we charge additional fees for advising and conducting residential conveyancing for corporate clients, as our advice and legal drafting will extend to cover matters relating to Company Law requirements.
• Expedited Conveyancing – we charge extra fees for processing a property transaction on an expedited basis (quicker than the usual timescale – e.g. within 4 weeks for sales and purchases). The fee depends largely on the speed required, but also on the type of transaction, our existing caseload at the time, and the reason for the urgency.
• Auction Pack – we charge a separate fee for preparing a sale pack for auctioneers, or for advising you on pack for a property you are considering purchasing. Such work is usually required on an urgent basis. Our fees will depend on the projected property price, and the length of time available to prepare. Additional disbursements such as property search costs will also apply if we are preparing a sale pack.
• Self-Build Land Purchases – our standard residential purchase quotations are designed for the purchase of existing properties or for the purchase from a developer of a new build property in the course of construction. If you are purchasing land with the intention to build on it yourself, our fee for the purchase conveyancing will be bespoke to your circumstances and will depend on the investigations and extent of the legal services you require.
• Equity Release – due to the additional requirements of the mortgage lenders involved (who will appoint their own independent legal representation to correspond with us), we charge different fees for dealing with any property transaction which involves an Equity Release type mortgage (sometimes also known as a Lifetime Mortgage).
• Non-Standard Finance – we charge extra fees for dealing with arrangements which involve finance for your property transaction which is not a traditional mortgage arrangement with an institutional lender like a bank or building society, or for banks with more complex requirements. This includes but is not limited to bridging finance, loans made with guarantors, security required over more than one property, loans from family members or other individuals, and gifts from family members. Our fee will depend on the circumstances and the likely complexity.
• Legal problems arising from conveyancing enquiries – sometimes unforeseeable problems come to light in the course of the conveyancing we do for you. When that happens, we may have to charge you for the additional work required to advise you and/or to investigate and implement a solution.
In some cases, we will simply charge you a fixed supplemental fee (in addition to your existing conveyancing quotation) for the extra work involved, based on how much work we know will be required. Where we are unable to estimate exactly how much additional work will be required to conduct your transaction, we will discuss the complexities with you, clarify what extra work might be required, discuss any constraints on your budget and advise of the potential range of the additional costs, based on our hourly charging rates, before you decide to proceed further.
Hourly charging rates
These are rarely applicable for conveyancing matters, as most of our work will be done for a fixed fee. In the rare cases where hourly rates do apply, we will advise which conveyancer will be able to conduct this work for you, estimate how many hours of work will be required, and thus provide you with an estimate of the likely total charges.
We can only provide details of hourly charging rates upon enquiry, as this will depend on the complication encountered and the work required, and thus also the conveyancer with the necessary expertise and experience to assist you.
Our hourly charging rates typically range from £115 to £210 plus VAT for work conducted by solicitors, and other qualified or experienced conveyancers. Our hourly charging rates are reviewed annually on 1st January in each year. At certain times a secretary or clerk will carry out work on your conveyancing transaction. The hourly charging rate for this is £50 plus VAT. Charges for a secretary or clerk will not however be applied to routine work such as arranging appointments, taking messages for the return of telephone calls and typing. Such charges will only be applied if the work undertaken is work which would otherwise have been carried out by the conveyancer responsible for your transaction.