We know that sometimes legal terms can be confusing or someone might mention something you don't fully understand. To help you out, we've listed some common terms used in conveyancing and their meanings.
Set the standard for all building work carried out in England and Wales. Even if building work does not require Planning Permission it must comply with the standards set out in the Building Regulations. The local authority is responsible for inspecting and issuing Building Regulation approval, although the responsibility may be delegated, for example, to the National House-Building Council (NHBC) in the case of a new house which is being built with the benefit of an NHBC guarantee. If work has been done on a property that would normally require Building Regulation consent, you will have to provide evidence of this consent when the property is sold (including a Completion Certificate confirming that the work has been inspected and has been completed to the satisfaction of the local authority building inspector). Certain electrical/gas installations and replacement windows also require Building Regulation Approval (unless carried out by appropriately certificated tradesmen)
The legal rule which states that a buyer must rely upon their own investigations regarding the condition of a property and any matters affecting the legal title using surveys, searches and solicitors enquiries. Literally translated from Latin it means 'Let the buyer beware'.
The Bank account which holds money belonging to our clients. In order to safeguard clients' money it is kept separately from funds belonging to the firm. We will use money an individual has paid 'on account' when ordering searches etc.
Coal Mining Search
A search required in certain areas to ascertain whether any coal mining issues might affect a property or the land it stands on. The Coal Authority can provide information as to whether a property is likely to need a Coal Mining search as part of the purchase process. http://www.coal.gov.uk/services/miningreports/index.cfm
Completion/ Completion Date
This is the date that the buyer becomes the formal legal owner of the property as ownership passes from the seller to them. In most residential matters this is the date when the seller moves out of the property and the buyer moves in.
This date can only be set with any certainty when contracts are exchanged (and even then some unusual circumstances could delay completion beyond the date set). It is not advisable to give notice on a rented property or to book removal firms until after exchange of contracts.
This is a list of all of the financial aspects of the transaction that we have dealt with on the clients behalf. It will give details of all of the monies that we have paid to others (to redeem a mortgage or pay Land Registry fees etc). It will also show whether there is a balance of money from the transaction that is to be paid to the client, or whether there is a shortfall that the client will need to make up before we can complete the transaction
This is the agreement between the buyer and the seller. It sets out the main terms of what has been agreed such as the property, the price and the names of the parties. It also deals with the process if something goes wrong. Rather than making the buyer and the seller meet to sign the same contract, the seller's solicitor draws up two copies of the same contract, and each party signs their own copy. When both parties are ready to legally commit, the two contracts are exchanged.
An agreement contained in a contract or a deed, where someone agrees to do, or not to do something
A formal document that is 'executed' by signature, with the signature being formally witnessed.
On exchange of contracts the seller can insist on receiving from the buyer a 10% deposit of the purchase price. However as many people are not contributing as much as 10% to the purchase, reduced deposits are often agreed. You should be aware, however, that if you are a buyer and you pay a reduced deposit then fail to complete the purchase through no fault of the seller, you will, under the terms of the contract, be required to make the deposit up to the full 10%. You may also have to pay compensation to the seller if the seller loses out through your failure to complete.
Fees that must be paid to third parties such as Local Authorities (for searches) and Land Registries.
The right to use a piece of land that you do not own. If you have a right of way over a path or driveway that is owned by a neighbour, that is an easement.
Energy Performance Certificates
They provide an energy efficiency rating with 'A' being the most energy efficient and 'G' the least. They also provide practical recommendations for increasing the property's energy efficiency. The Certificate is a required element of the Home Information Pack
There is a public register of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) that is searchable by postcode. Click here to find the EPC for your property.
This is carried out to check if there are any known environmental issues affecting the property, these include matters such as landfill or waste disposal sites in the area, if the property has been built on an old industrial site and whether there are any risks from contaminated land, toxic emissions, flooding, subsidence etc.
Exchange of Contracts
Once contracts have been exchanged, both parties are legally committed to the transaction. This is a very important moment. From the minute contracts are exchanged, the matter becomes binding. From that moment on, the seller must sell, the buyer must buy, it must be done at the price stated in the contract. Until contracts are exchanged NOTHING is binding - either party can walk away from the transaction with no penalty.
Fittings are items that are not attached to the building or land and are not subject to the sale unless they are specifically included, e.g. carpets and curtains would normally be thought of as fittings.
Fixtures are items on a building or land that have become part of the building or land and are therefore included in the sale. They are items that are usually physically fixed to the building such as shelves or fitted wardrobes.
A type of land ownership which in effect, runs forever. Where the vendor owns the freehold, they own both the property itself and the land it stands upon.
Full Title Guarantee
Where land or property is sold with a full title guarantee, the seller is confirming that he has the authority to sell it and that it is free from any charges or adverse rights other than those that he has previously disclosed to the buyer