Personal Legal Services | Residential Property
Our goal is to make your life easier when it comes to buying, selling, leasing and auctioning residential property. With extensive experience dealing with property matters throughout England and Wales, we take the legal burden off your shoulders so you can focus on the other aspects of moving house. You will have a dedicated point of contact that’s always around to answer any question – no matter how small. And if you live far away or are unable to attend face-to-face meetings we provide a full legal report in plain English that highlights the important points of the transaction – so there are no surprises.
Our residential property services include:
- Sales & purchases
- Equity releases
- Deeds of gift
- Transfers of equity
- Deeds of easement
- Extensions & variations to leases
We also have dedicated specialists that provide comprehensive assistance in handling property-related disputes. See our Disputes & Litigation section for more information on these services.
Our client was a grammar school trust, a charitable organisation selling two properties by auction. Special rules apply to sales by charities, which have to be strictly adhered to as such a client usually decides to sell a property by auction because of underlying legal problems. This case involved both that we summarise briefly below:
Our client had never sold a property before and had no knowledge of sale procedures or even the type of charity that it was. Our research revealed the following:
- We had to establish whether or not our client was exempt or non exempt from registration with and regulation by the Charity Commission in England and Wales. Our research confirmed that our client was non exempt. This means that the consent of the Charity Commission is required for the sale of land unless certain rules are complied with, this involves the following:
1.obtaining a surveyor’s report
2.advertising the properties
3.being satisfied that the best prices for the properties are being obtained.
Our client duly attended to all of this thereby avoiding the need for the consent of the Charity Commission.
- The title to the two properties was vested in the Official Custodian for Charities. We had to explain to our client that the Official Custodian is a corporation created by statute to hold land on behalf of unincorporated charities and avoids the land being vested in individual charitable trustees who move on, die or become untraceable. We further advised our client on how to correctly sign the sale documentation.
We were, as a consequence, able to draft the appropriate documentation and the minutes of our client’s meeting prior to the sale proceeding and provide our client with all relevant advice.
Auction Matters and Legal Problems
We prepared the auction pack and were careful to disclose all matters affecting the properties to prospective buyers. Sometimes adverse legal matters can frighten buyers even attending an auction and so it was our job to allay their fears. We had to advise our client and deal with the following potentially detrimental problems:
- The two properties for sale were semi-detached. Our client informed us that the first floor bedroom of property one overlapped into property two thereby creating a flying freehold. We were careful to include in the sale transfers appropriate rights to alleviate the problem and a surveyor was instructed to prepare plans showing this overlap for Land Registry purposes.
- We were informed that property one had always used the driveway of property two to gain access to its rear garden. We considered that this could put a buyer off purchasing or even devalue property two and so we advised our client that property one should no longer be able to do this and instead needed to gain access to its rear via the back door of the property.
- During an inspection of the property it was noted that the neighbour to property one had recently replaced a party fence in the rear garden and had put a gate into it which would have suggested to a prospective buyer that the neighbour had a right of access over property one. We advised our client that this was not acceptable and so prior to auction wrote a suitable letter to the neighbour requesting that he remove the gate and replace it with fencing instead which he duly did.
Prior to the sale we were able to satisfactorily answer queries received from prospective buyers and their solicitors and our client was pleased that both properties were successfully sold in the auction process.
Meet our Residential Property Team
Amanda Oakes – Solicitor
Nancy Hai – Solicitor