UK conveyancing solicitors are British lawyers who specialise in the legal requirements of transferring the ownership of land and buildings. Many of these lawyers also deal with rental agreements for domestic property and a further specialty concerns commercial leases and the transfer of interests in commercial property. This area of law can be extremely complex and lawyers who deal with property transactions must be trained specialists due to the value of the transactions they deal with which frequently run into millions of pounds. At the other end of the legal scale are mortgage repossession solicitors who represent lenders including banks and building societies to reclaim property in the event of default by borrowers.

The basic legal work necessary to transfer the ownership of land and property requires UK conveyancing solicitors to ensure that the person selling the property owns that which is being sold and has the right to do so. A buyer will expect to obtain ‘good title’ which means that once the property has been transferred there should be no nasty surprises that haven’t been revealed at an earlier stage.

It is the buyers lawyer who is responsible for making all necessary enquiries to ensure that the buyer is not cheated and actually receives what he thought that he had paid for, without any unexpected restrictions on the use of the land or any onerous responsibilities imposed on the owner of the land that had not been outlined in advance of the deal being done. Clearly most of the responsibility in any property transaction usually falls on the lawyer acting for the purchaser of land and property and for this reason legal costs in a purchase usually exceed those of a sale.

The sellers solicitor or more usually his client provides as much information about the property as the buyer requires, in the form of providing answers to questions on a standard form, the accuracy of which the seller is personally responsible for, and in addition to this source of information the buyers solicitor makes independent enquiries, referred to as ‘searches’ from publicly available sources of information in order to check the current and past status of the property and any future plans that may apply to the property or the area in which the property is situated.

In addition, the buyers lawyer will check the ‘deeds’ of the property or more usually nowadays will check the information held at the land registry. Electronic information about the ownership of land and property has now mainly replaced the information that used to be contained in paper deeds. The information contained in the deeds or on the land registry files will usually confirm ownership of the property and will outline any responsibilities or restrictions imposed on the property known as ‘covenants’.

Once the conveyancing solicitors have carried out all the necessary checks the transfer of ownership can proceed. Most specialists in the law of land and property can give extremely competitive quotations for buying or selling, re-mortgages or transfer of equity. Mortgage repossession solicitors will also act on behalf of the borrower in the case where a lender attempts to recover the property in the event of default.


Mortgage Compensation Claims

Most buyers of land property borrow money to facilitate the transfer which is usually secured against the asset and is known as a mortgage and appears as a charge entered on the land register. In cases where the repayments are not kept up in accordance with the loan agreement, mortgage repossession solicitors may take legal action on behalf of the lenders. Many mortgages have in the past been miss-sold by unscrupulous or negligent mortgage brokers leading to claims for compensation. If you believe that you may be a victim you should make an initial complaint providing as much information as possible including the grounds of the claim should be made to the seller of the policy either in writing or on the telephone. The insurers will consider all of the information and send a decision in writing as to whether or not they accept liability. In the event of liability being disputed or an inadequate offer of settlement being made the claim can be referred for review to the Financial Ombudsman Service. If the seller of the policy is bankrupt or no longer in existence an application for compensation can be made to The Financial Services Compensation Scheme which is a fund of last resort. In the event of a sale by a solicitor an application for compensation can be made to the Solicitors Regulation Authority if the claim is refused. The Financial Ombudsman Service’s decision is binding on the insurance company but not on the individual until that decision is accepted by the individual. If the individual is not satisfied with the decision of the Financial Ombudsman Service then the individual still has the right to take legal action in a court of law.


Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) was set up as a legal entity by government to assist in settling individual disputes between consumers of financial products and businesses in the financial sector. The FOS does not give endowment mortgage shortfall advice however it does deal in disputes involving insurance but it is not the financial regulator and is totally independent of all parties involved in any dispute. The FOS, whose service is free to consumers, only becomes involved in settling disputes after an endowment complaint by a member of the public has been made directly to the firm concerned. As an alternative to using the FOS to settle an endowment complaint the parties to an insurance fund dispute are at liberty to take their potential claim to a court of law however once the ombudsman’s decision has been accepted it is binding on both parties thereby precluding further action in court.

The Financial Ombudsman Service gives the consumers of financial products a free, independent service for resolving endowment mortgage shortfall disputes with financial firms and must consider the situation impartially prior to making a fair and balanced decision, based on the facts of each individual case. Following receipt of a formal endowment complaint the FOS can order financial firms to put right any wrong which is usually done by the payment of compensation to rectify any shortfall of funds and the decision of the FOS is usually binding on the financial firm.