Client Care Letter - This is the formal contract that your conveyancer will send to you to sign and return, before they start work on your conveyancing. It is important that you read it thoroughly, and check you are happy with all the costs and potential additional costs.
Completion - The legal end of the conveyancing process and the point at which ownership of a property passes from one party to another.
Exchange - The point at which contracts relating to a property are exchanged between parties. It is at this point that the process becomes legally binding, and as such beyond this point neither the buyer or seller can pull out of the property transaction without legal consequences.
Land Registry - the government body for England and Wales that deals with the ownership of land and property.
Management Company - The organisation that fulfills a landlord's obligations under a lease, most commonly the case with leasehold flats.
Unregistered Property - Properties that have not been registered at the Land Registry are known as unregistered properties. In order to prove the title of the property, the owner will need the title deeds. Your conveyancer will check through the properties documentation for the past fifteen years in order to certify it and register the property with the Land Registry. Completing this process can create long delays in a conveyancing transaction.
Telegraphic Transfer (TT) Fee / Bank Transfer Fee / CHAPS Fee – Your solicitor will have to send the payment you are making to the property seller's conveyancer on the day of completion of your purchase. They may charge a fee to set up and complete the transfer. This fee usually includes the cost levied by the bank to the solicitor to use the CHAPs (Clearing House Automated Payment System) service to make the payment.
Arranging Searches Fee - Your conveyancer may charge a fee for identifying which property searches are required for your property and ordering them.
Mortgage Admin Fee – Your conveyancer may charge a fee to review your mortgage offer and register the lenders charge against the property at the Land Registry.
Acting for Lender – When you take out a mortgage on a property, your conveyancer has to complete some work on behalf of the mortgage lender, which usually involves reporting to the lender and overseeing the registration of their mortgage against the property at the Land Registry. The lender will usually specify how much the fee will be (often around £150 + VAT). Because the fee varies between mortgage lenders, your conveyancer will not usually be able to quote this fee upfront. Some conveyancers charge extra for this, and sometimes the charge is set according to what the lender instructs.
Leasehold Fee – Properties are either freehold or leasehold. As leasehold conveyancing transactions are typically more complicated, some conveyancers charge extra for this.
Newbuild Fee – If you are buying a newbuild property there is often additional work that is required and some conveyancers charge an additional fee to complete this work.
SDLT Form Fee - The conveyancer may charge you for preparing and submitting a Land Transaction Return Form in respect to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). If this is going to be charged separately then the charge must be made clear in all publicity and cost information.
Unregistered Property Fee - Properties that have not been registered at the Land Registry are known as unregistered properties. In order to prove the title of the property, the owner will need the title deeds. Your conveyancer will check through the properties documentation for the past fifteen years in order to certify it and register the property with the Land Registry. Completing this process is extra work for the conveyancer, and as such they will usually charge extra.
Telegraphic Transfer (TT) / Bank Transfer / CHAPs – Your solicitor will have to send the payment you are making to the property seller's conveyancer on the day of completion of your purchase. In order to do this they will usually use a fast same day transfer service known as CHAPS (Clearing House Automated Payment System). The conveyancers bank charges them a fee to use this service, and they may choose to pass this cost on to you as a disbursement.
Identity Checks - These checks are carried out against national (or international) databases to confirm that you exist and that you are who you say you are.
Bankruptcy Search (purchase, transfer of equity and remortgage transactions involving a mortgage) - This search is required by the mortgage lender to ensure that the potential borrower has not been made bankrupt. The standard cost is £2 per person buying the property.
Priority Search / Land Registry Search (purchases only) - This is carried out to ensure that the property you wish to purchase is legally owned by the seller. The standard cost is £3.
Searches (purchase only, mandatory when you are obtaining a mortgage) - A number of searches are carried out to find out more about the property you wish to purchase. These include a Local Authority Search, Environmental Search and Drainage and Water Search, and may also include additional searches that your conveyancer identifies are needed (such as HS2, Mining or Chancel). Searches can cost anything from £200 to £500 in total (find out more about searches).
Land Registration Fee - see current Land Registry Fees.
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) - see current Stamp Duty Rates.
Office Copies / Official Copies - This is a copy of the document from the land registry that details who owns the property. The standard cost is £6, but can be as much as £20 depending on what’s needed by the buyers solicitor.
Official copy of lease (only relevant in a leasehold sale) - A copy of the lease which details the terms, rent payable and other obligations affecting the property.
File Storage - Your conveyancer may charge you a fee to store your conveyancing paperwork in a safe place, until you need it again (next time you move). They may also charge you a fee to retrieve it from storage later.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority advises that a firm's overheads should not be described as disbursements in their advertisements (see the Publicising Charges practice note for more details). These elements should not be included as additional charges that are passed on to customers. Examples include:
annual subscription costs and transaction fees for using online solutions to manage business processes. This would not preclude such costs being passed on to clients, for example through an administration charge (as opposed to as a disbursement)
petty charges such as postage, photocopying and faxes, and professional indemnity insurance
the costs of undertaking client due diligence, including identification checks for anti-money laundering purposes. However, if the costs is particularly high (eg overseas company search), this cost may be charged to the client with client consent and explanation to the client of the likely cost