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Conveyancing issues after he left, stamp duty and incompetence.

(12 Posts)
pizzaeatingmonkey Sun 24-Jul-16 14:01:34

I'll try to be brief:
My partner and I bought a house together 8 years ago, we had a Declaration of Trust written up by our solicitor to reflect the investment we had put towards the purchase. I already owned my own house and had cleared the mortgage, he had no money so we raised a mortgage ( which had to be in joint names as the house is in joint names) to cover his share.
I own 90% therefore his share is 10%.
He left and doesn't expect anything from the house as long as I take him off the mortgage and deeds (obviously). This is fine by me. I am now in a position to be able to pay off the mortgage and 'buy him out'.
Contacted recommended Legal Executive who says I will need to pay Stamp Duty and searches will need to be done on the deeds, also she will need the Declaration of Trust. She's quoted me £650, not including Stamp Duty or search fees.
This sounds quite expensive?
I've now discovered that the original ( and now retired) solicitor seems to have 'mislaid' the Declaration of Trust, although the office is still 'looking into it', after a week.
The mortgage is only £17k.
Any thoughts?

pizzaeatingmonkey Sun 24-Jul-16 18:16:54


HelenF35 Sun 24-Jul-16 18:21:43

I paid about £450 for a similar transaction using a paralegal. Sounds about right.

Iamdazedandconfused Sun 24-Jul-16 18:23:01

Have you obtained any other quotes? I'm from up north and that kind of transaction would cost about £350+VAT where I am, although I imagine I'm probably in a cheaper region.

Also check with your lender if they would accept "no search insurance" - many allow this rather than paying for a new set of searches. I think this costs around £30ish depending on the value of the property.

DelphiniumBlue Sun 24-Jul-16 18:43:38

I can't see why you would need to pay Stamp Duty, unless his 10% share is worth more than the current threshold. I think there is a form which you both sign which covers this, but it's a few years since I did any conveyancing.
As far searches are concerned,if you are repaying the old mortgage and not getting a new one, then you wouldn't need the (expensive) local search, but only the Land Registry and Bankruptcy ones, the costs of which are minimal. You will also need to pay Land Registry fees, which are calculated on the value transferred, to remove his name from the property.
You'd also be looking at the solicitor's costs, and they should be able to give you a written quote for this.
If your ex is not arguing about any of this and will deal with everything promptly, I can't see why the fees should be anything like £650.
If you are getting a new mortgage, or transferring the old one, then the situation would be different, and your first step would be to contact your lender and ask what their procedure would be.
Btw, If your ex is effectively gifting you 10% of the value of the property, then he should have independent legal advice.

pizzaeatingmonkey Sun 24-Jul-16 22:30:10

Thank you Delph dazed and Helen.
I will be clearing the mortgage as soon as the house is in my name, why would they need to do bankruptcy searches?
What do you think of the fact that the Declaration of Trust has been lost?

DelphiniumBlue Mon 25-Jul-16 17:02:38

As far as the Declaration of Trust is concerned, even if the original had been lost, there must be evidence of what was in it - eg a copy on the solicitor's file, a letter detailing it's contents, a note of your original instructions. It might even be registered or noted at the Land Registry. If Ex isn't arguing the contents, it probably doesn't matter anyway, unless HMRC require proof of the size of his share. In which case solicitor's confirmatory letter would probably do, or maybe a statement from Ex.
As far as the Bankruptcy search is concerned ( very minimal cost), I think your conveyancer would want evidence that Ex is not bankrupt - so that the share being transferred to you is not subject to anyone else's interest.
But, as I said, is some years since I did any conveyancing, so check all this with your conveyancer.

DelphiniumBlue Mon 25-Jul-16 17:11:26

Another thought, you say "I will be clearing the mortgage as soon as the house is in my name ".
If you do it that way round, the mortgage lender will have to transfer the mortgage to you, which involves load of extra paperwork and expense, maybe even a new offer.
So you need to arrange with your solicitor that completion of the redemption and the transfer are simaltaneous.

pizzaeatingmonkey Tue 26-Jul-16 08:59:03

Thanks Delph, great advice. I've found an online conveyancer and been given the phone number of another: the online person phoned me and sounded very knowledgeable but is it save to do it online, in your opinion?

ChocChocPorridge Tue 26-Jul-16 09:08:35

I haven't had good luck with online conveyancers personally.

Deed of trust aside, and since you're paying the mortgage off anyway, do you have the time (or would it justify the money) to just do this yourself?

DelphiniumBlue Tue 26-Jul-16 19:15:53

My experience with online conveyancers has been that whilst they are as competent as any other conveyancers, it is quite difficult to get to speak to the person in charge of your case, even for the other side's solicitor.
Many of the online companies are set up for bulk buying and selling, and your case is not something they will necessarily have had much experience of.
So you need to ask specific questions about their experience with this type of work, and make sure your instructions ate clearly written down, along with a request for them to advise you as to timing, procedure and costs.
It might be best to use a firm which also deals with family matters, so that they understand the issues which might not normally arise with straightforward sales and purchases.

pizzaeatingmonkey Wed 27-Jul-16 10:54:20

Thank you both. I had a telephone call from the firm of solicitors admitting they'd lost the deed of trust and to cut a long short short they are going to do my conveyancing for half of what I've been quoted, so I'm hoping that's a happy ending!

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