CONVEYANCING GLOSSARY

Conveyancing made easy. Helping customers understand what conveyancing is.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FREEHOLD AND LEASEHOLD?

 

Freehold

This is where you own the property and the land on which it stands, and there is no time limit to the period of ownership

 

Leasehold

This most commonly applies to flats and some houses. You own the property for a fixed term, but not the land on which it stands.

Leasehold properties require an annual ground rent to be paid to the landlord or ‘freeholder'.

 

CONVEYANCING GLOSSARY

Advance – the mortgage money when it is paid by the lender.

Bank Telegraphic Transfer Fee – a fee that is charged by lenders and solicitors for transferring funds by same day CHAPS transfer.

Boundaries – the legal definition of the limits of the property being bought or sold. Boundaries are usually hedges, walls, or fences, and will be marked clearly on the deeds.
 

Bridging Loan – a loan taken over a short period to bridge a gap between the purchase of one property and the sale of another.

Buy to Let – buying a property with the intent of renting it out to tenants rather than living in it.

Certificate of title – the document the conveyancing solicitor gives to the lender to confirm certain statements about the property to request mortgage funds.

Chain – where the purchase of property relies upon the sale and purchase of another, creating a sequence of buyers and sellers all depending upon the successful completion of the previous and successive 'link' in the chain for their own outcome.

Charge – a sum of money for which the property is being used as security. Banks or Building Societies will register a charge against a property if you are buying it using mortgage funds.

 

Contract – this is the agreement which between a buyer and a seller which is legally binding and states the terms and conditions of the property sale or purchase. One copy is signed by the seller and one by the buyer.

Contract Pack – this is prepared by the sellers’ solicitors for the buyers’ solicitors, so they can check that the seller has the legal right to sell. The pack will include a draft contract, Land Registry title documents, Property Information form, Fixtures, and fittings form, building guarantees and any planning consents the seller has been awarded.

Condition of sale – the legal terms of the contract for the purchase of a property.

Completion Date – the day on which property ownership changes hands – the seller receives the sale proceeds, and the buyer collects the keys.

Completion statement – a financial document detailing all the costs associated with the purchase of the property. This is usually sent out after contracts are exchanged, but before the sale completes. This document is particularly important as it sets out the costs due to the conveyancer, including VAT and disbursements.

Conveyancer – a term used for the solicitor or lawyer who is carrying out your conveyancing. Can also be referred to Licenced Conveyancers – those lawyers qualified and regulated by the CLC or regulated by the Chartered Institution of Legal Executives (CILEX).

Conveyancing – the legal process when ownership of a property is transferred from the seller to the purchaser. Whether buying or selling, it is a conveyancing solicitor's legal duty to protect your interests.

Covenants – the legal title to the Property may be subject to positive and negative obligations which must be observed by the owner. Any restrictions and obligations which are associated with the purchase of a property means you are legally obliged to take responsibility for the upkeep of something on the property or a restriction means you are forbidden from erecting certain buildings or undertaking certain renovations.

Declaration of Trust – a legally binding document that sets out who owns what share of a property, along with other conditions such as who can decide when to sell, in arrangements where there is more than one owner.

Deeds – the legal paperwork setting out who owns a property. This is kept by the owner, or by the mortgage company if the property has been bought with a mortgage. This is a historic legal document which deals with the transfer or mortgage of the Property.

Delayed completion – when you agree a purchase price and exchange contracts with an agreed deposit in the usual way, but completion of the sale is delayed for a period – which can be years.

 

Deposit – a percentage of the purchase price, usually 10% of the purchase price which must be paid to the seller upon exchange of contracts. This confirms the buyers’ commitment to the purchase.

 

Disbursements – additional costs paid to third parties during the conveyancing process such as Land Registry fees, Local Authority search fees and Stamp duty.

Easement – legal term for the rights a person has to access or cross another person's land, such as right of way.

Encumbrance – any matter which adversely impacts the legal title to the Property.

EPC – Energy Performance Certificate. a document containing information on a property’s energy use and typical energy costs, along with recommendations on how to reduce energy use and thus save money. In England and Wales, from 2020, all privately rented, domestic properties must have an EPC rating of E or better. Failure to provide an EPC for a property can result in a landlord being unable to evict a tenant.

 

Equity – the difference between the market value of a property, and the amount outstanding on a mortgage.
 

Exchange of Contracts – when the conveyancing solicitors for both parties exchange the contracts, the deposit is paid and the purchase of the Property on a fixed date becomes legally binding. This, in most cases, is now carried out by a telephone call between the solicitors.

 

Fixtures and Fittings – officially known as form TA10. This questionnaire is completed by the seller and states which items in the property are to be included or excluded from the property sale.

Freehold – absolute ownership of a property and the land it is built on and the freehold title owner will be registered at the Land Registry.

Freeholder – person or persons owning a freehold property

 

Gazumping – when the seller goes on to accept a higher offer from somebody else, even though they have previously accepted your offer. Despite the inconvenience and frustration this causes, it is perfectly legal if contracts have not been exchanged.

 

Ground rent – the amount of money which must be paid by a leaseholder to their landlord each year. The amount of ground rent can be found in the lease. However, it is subject to change at certain intervals. Ground rent only applies if you have a leasehold property.

 

Indemnity Insurance – this is a policy taken out to give the owner cover if a defect should be discovered with the legal title. This does not fix the defect; it merely provides financial relief.

 

Joint tenants – if a property is owned by two people who are “joint tenants”, in the event of one’s death the property possession passes automatically to the remaining owner. Join tenancy trumps anything stated in a will.

 

Land Registry  the official government department which keeps records of property ownership in England and Wales.

Land Registry Fees – this is charged by the Land Registry and is payable by you for recording ownership when you buy a property and for carrying out pre-completion searches.

Lease – an agreement between a tenant and freeholder, setting out the deal for the occupation of a property.


Leasehold – the owner has the right to live in a property for the term given on the lease, but never becomes the owner of the land where their property stands.

 

Leaseholder – person or persons owning a leasehold property

Local Authority Search – a request sent by your conveyancing solicitor to the local council for information regarding anything of significance recorded against your prospective property or the land it is built upon, which could affect your decision to buy (planning breaches, financial charges, etc).

Managing Agents – a company appointed by the freeholder to manage the block of flats and collect service charges.

 

Mortgage – the lender takes security over your property in exchange for the grant of a loan to assist you to purchase the property. If you don’t pay, the lender usually has the right to sell the property.

 

Mortgage Indemnity Policy – a lender will take out this policy to cover their losses if a property has to be repossessed. The insurer providing the policy usually has the right to try to recover any losses from the person taking out the mortgage.

 

Mortgagee – the institution lending the money, which is usually a bank or building society.

 

Mortgagor – the person borrowing the money.

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