Conveyancing Glossary

It may seem impossible to understand all the terms, please have a look here at our glossary of conveyancing terms:

Agreement – often interchanged with the word contract. The legal binding agreement setting out the details of the property purchase.

Assent – the legal document used to transfer ownership of property to beneficiary following the death of previous owner.

Breach of Contract – is not honouring the terms of the agreement once contracts are exchange. The non-defaulting party can seek reparations.

Boundaries – the perimeter of the property usually marked by fences, hedges or walls. They can be found on the deeds plan.

Buildings insurance – the insurance policy covering damage to the property. It should cover the cost of re-build rather than the property value.

Chain – where one purchase depends on the sale of another property. The chain can continue through several links and be extremely complicated.

Chattels – personal items, such as furniture and art often covered by the fixtures and fittings in conveyancing process.

Client care letter – is the formal contract between you and your solicitor. It details the services, breakdown of costs and complaints procedure.

Completion date – the date at which the full payment is made in exchange for the title deeds and handing over of the keys.

Completion statement – the breakdown of costs sent out after exchange and prior to completion.

Conservation area – an area of historic or environmental interest, protected by law. If the property lies in a conservation area it is usually subject to planning restrictions.

Contract – the legal binding agreement setting out the details of the property purchase.

Conveyance – the common name for the legal document that officially confirms the purchase of a property or land. Modern day transactions use a transfer deed or document instead of a conveyance.

Conveyancing – the legal and administrative process of purchasing a property and transferring title from the seller to the buyer.

Conveyancer – the person undertaking the conveyancing process. They are traditionally solicitors but can be licenced property experts solely conducting conveyancing.

Covenant – the obligations and restrictions attached to a property. Often known as positive and negative covenants. Obligations require you to maintain something and restrictions prevent you from doing something, usually regards building.

Deeds – the official documents outlining ownership of a property. The possession of the deed is with the owner or lender (if mortgaged).

Deposit – a sum payable as a first instalment usually paid via the conveyancer on exchange of contracts. It is usually between 5-20% of the purchase price, but can be negotiable.

Disbursements – these are fixed costs incurred by our conveyancers during transaction on your behalf. The costs are set out in our quote. Examples include Local Authority and Bankruptcy Searches.

Easement – the right of access across another person’s piece of land.

Equity – the ownership built up in the home that represents the current property value less than the mortgaged owed.

Exchange of contracts – the contracts are executed and exchanged through the solicitors. At this point the transaction is legally binding and there are financial and legal repercussions for pulling out.

Freehold – is the absolute and permanent tenure of land or property.

Ground rent – if property is owned leasehold, rent is paid to the owner of the freehold usually in yearly amount.

Land certificate – the official certificate detailing ownership and interest in the property issued by the Land Registry once property is registered by the solicitor.

Land Registry – the government body that is responsible for ownerships of land and property in England and Wales.

Law Society – the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales.

Leasehold – the purchase of the right to use and occupy land for a given length of time. It may be extended with the freehold owner.

Local authority search – searches conducted by the solicitor with the local council to check the history of the property or land and protect against any future council plans that may affect your decision to purchase.

Negative equity – this is when the value of the property is less than the mortgage owed to the lender.

Occupier’s consent – legally required when a person lives in the property but is not a named owner. When a mortgage is involved, lender may want the occupier to agree to move out if the owner defaults on mortgage payments.

Office Copies – the legally permissible duplicate documents outlining ownership of the property. They are requested from the Land Registry.

Pre-completion searches – also known as priority searches. They are searches conducted prior to exchange of contracts by the conveyancer. They check that property is legally owned by the seller, seller’s conveyancer is real and bankruptcy searches.

Property Information Form – the seller is required to complete this form regarding boundaries, disputes, relationships with neighbours, restrictions, legal rights and other important information. It is an offense to provide inaccurate information on this form.

Redemption settlement – this is the money transferred to your lender if decide to pay your mortgage early. It includes the outstanding amount plus the penalty charge to cover the interest lost on the loan.

Reparations – the amount of compensation or remuneration if there is a breach of contract.

Reservation fee – is the administration fee charged to reserve a property.

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) – an independent regulatory body, regulating law firms and lawyers in England and Wales. They set the principles and code of conduct for legal service providers.

Stamp Duty – the tax levied on the legal documents involved in the purchase of a property. It is a percentage of the property value. Our quotes work out the stamp duty applicable on your property purchase.

Subsidence – the downward movement of a property due to inadequate foundations or change in the ground. The property sinks and the result is the instability of the structure. Properties with subsidence are usually uninsurable.

Third party rights – someone has right to use or control the property but is not the legal owner.

Title deeds – the legal document proving ownership of a property. If you have a mortgage then the lender will hold the deeds until mortgage is paid back. It can take up to three weeks to retrieve deeds from a lender when selling.

Transfer deed – the document that legally transfers the property in to your name. It must be signed in the presence of a witness.

Transfer of equity – the legal document transferring ownership of a share or interest in a particular property from you to someone else, a business or trust.

Wayleave agreement – the formal agreement with the current freehold owner enabling you to install piping or cabling in the property.

Key Contacts

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