When choosing a property lawyer to act for you, it is likely that you will arrive at a decision after considering criteria such as expertise, location, cost and recommendations from family, friends and colleagues. However, the weight you place on each criterion may not be the same as someone else. As a result, whilst you may be happy with your choice of legal representation, you cannot assume that this will mean that your transaction will proceed in a timely fashion, since if the other party’s choice of representation is based on anything other than expertise, this could cause delay or problems in the transaction.
Our Property Team have compiled the following list of just a few incidents that have cropped up in the last month or so, which probably would not have been encountered had the other party given more consideration to the expertise of the lawyer they instructed.
It doesn’t bode well for the transaction when…….
You are dealing with the sale of a commercial premises and the other party’s solicitors ask you to confirm your CQS number in their initial letter. (CQS stands for Conveyancing Quality Scheme and is a quality standard for residential conveyancing practices awarded by the Law Society. It is not relevant to a commercial property transaction).
The solicitors acting for a seller of a property in his/her capacity as an Attorney do not know how to correctly certify a copy of the Lasting Power of Attorney. (The wording is prescribed by Section 3 of the Powers of Attorney Act 1971 and is different to the words used to certify other documents).
The solicitors acting for a seller inform the estate agent that they have responded to the buyer’s solicitors’ enquiry letter when in fact all they have sent is a letter confirming replies are to follow.
The seller’s solicitors argue that a restrictive covenant affecting a property is no longer relevant due to the age of the covenant. (Whilst the length of time the breach of covenant has subsisted is relevant, the age of the covenant has no bearing on its relevance. If the covenant has not been waived by a Deed registered against the title, it still has effect. Whether the party with the benefit of the covenant is around to enforce the covenant is an entirely different matter).
The other party’s solicitor specialises in another field of law and dabbles in property work every now and again.
The other party’s solicitors cannot spell the word “solicitors” in their own email signature.
The lender’s solicitors ask the borrower’s solicitors to provide planning permission for the construction of a property that was built before the Second World War. (The statutory enforcement period for breach is 4 years, and in some cases 10 years).
The solicitors acting for a seller of a tenanted property provide a contract stating that completion will be with vacant possession, and following exchange of contracts, once it transpires that the tenants will not vacate by the date of completion, they insist that the sale was actually subject to the tenancy because a copy of the tenancy agreement was provided with the contract pack.