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Conveyancing in St Albans Q & A's

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Ask Lorraine a question lorraine@homewardlegal.co.uk

Updated: 18/01/18

Transport and public service information if you’re buying or selling residential property in St. Albans -

By road: St. Albans is served by the M1, A1(M) and A414. By rail: The nearest train station is St. Albans City. By air: St. Albans has easy access to a number of airports, including: Elstree Aerodrome (8 miles), London Luton Airport (12 miles), Northolt Jet Centre (18 miles), London Heathrow Airport (26 miles), London Heliport (29 miles), Wycombe Air Park (33 miles), London Stansted Airport (37 miles), and London City Airport (39 miles).

Hospital: St. Albans City, Waverley Road, St. Albans, AL3 5PN. Council: St. Albans City and District Council (www.stalbans.gov.uk).

Attractions: St. Albans Cathedral, St. Albans Organ Museum, Verulamium Park, Roman Wall, Watercress Wildlife Site, and Kingsbury Watermill.

Q.

We have had a conveyancing quote from Homeward Legal for a maisonette in St. Albans. Are there any additional fees that we are unaware of?

No. Homeward Legal never hide any extra costs for conveyancing in their quotes. You should be aware that some firms only provide estimates disguised as quotes, with details of disbursements and other costs hidden in the small print of the terms of engagement. The final bill you receive may be much more than you thought you were going to pay. Homeward Legal’s quotes provide clear statements of your legal fees and disbursements for a standard conveyancing transaction. Try our quote calculator, or call our team of conveyancing experts on 0800 038 6699 to discuss your needs.

Q.

If I am buying in St. Albans, is it recommended to get a search for chancel liability?

At the beginning of the millennium, the Law Lords reaffirmed that, in hearing a case brought by a Parochial Church Council, 'lay rectors' of property must contribute towards church repairs. Home-owners who bought property prior to 2003 may be totally unaware that a liability exists if a chancel search was not carried out. A solicitor will be able to advise you further, along with any recommendations for indemnity insurance. St. Albans ecclesiastical properties include:

  • St. Peter’s, St. Peter’s Street, St. Albans, AL1 3HG
  • Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban, St. Albans, AL1 1BY
  • St. Saviour’s, 25 Sandpit Lane, St. Albans, AL1 4DF
Q.

Are there any conservation areas in St. Albans that are likely to constrain our plans?

Conservation areas are established to protect regions designated as being of architectural or historical merit. Living in a conservation area can give you a sense of security that the surroundings are unlikely to change, but equally the restrictions could add to maintenance costs. A conveyancing solicitor will be happy to discuss the relevant responsibilities for prospective properties located in a conservation area.

Q.

The house we are hoping to buy in St. Albans isn’t really that old, so is a building survey necessary?

Homeward Legal highly recommends that all buyers in St. Albans arrange a building survey, whether you are purchasing a new-build or an older property. Several structural concerns (e.g. missing roof tiles, rotten woodwork, failing double-glazing, etc.) can negatively affect a property, and issues such as these are not within the remit of the conveyancing itself.

Q.

I’m going to need a mortgage for my mid-terrace house in St. Albans and, as you work with lenders in the city, which ones are they?

The Homeward Legal partnership has worked in St. Albans alongside most of the lenders and brokers, approved by the Council of Mortgage Lenders. A number of mortgage specialists operate in and around St. Albans, such as:

  • Lloyds Bank PLC, The Maltings, 36 Chequer Street, St. Albans, AL1 3YQ
  • Independent Mortgage Advice Bureau, 24 Holywell Hill, St. Albans, AL1 1BZ
  • JC Independent Financial Centre, Investment House, 113 London Road, St. Albans, AL1 1LR
Q.

How much is the council tax on a Sixties, detached, Band G house in St. Albans?

Your solicitor will, as part of the conveyancing work, contact the council and establish the precise band and rate of tax for your property, which will then be detailed in the title report. The amount that you will be charged for the current tax year will be on a pro rata basis. For the 2016/2017 tax year, St. Albans council tax charges were:

  • Band A - £1,009.74
  • Band B - £1,178.03
  • Band C - £1,346.32
  • Band D - £1,514.61
  • Band E - £1,851.19
  • Band F - £2,187.76
  • Band G - £2,524.35
  • Band H - £3,029.22

Retrieved on 1 March 2017

Q.

What will be the stamp duty for a £375,000, semi-detached house we are buying in St. Albans?

The Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) due will primarily depend on the purchase price of your property among a few other factors. It is triggered for any value over £125,000; lower than that, and you will not have to pay any duty. In the example cited, the duty owed would be £8,750 on a property bought for £375,000. Note that the government’s budgeting and housing policies may change the rate or the trigger value. You might wish to use a stamp duty calculator like the one at www.stampdutycalculator.org.uk.

Q.

Bookshops sell several guides to do-it-yourself conveyancing, aimed at saving costs, but is it a wise move?

While you are perfectly within your rights not to appoint a conveyancing solicitor for your house-move, Homeward Legal would advise strongly against doing your own legal work. You are most likely not going to have the experience in the conveyancing process, and you are probably going to make mistakes along the way. This results in two significant problems: first, your conveyancing will inevitably be slower than for an experienced solicitor, thereby introducing delays and potential jeopardy for your move; second, and most important, you will not carry the requisite personal indemnity insurance that the Law Society demands every law firm carries to protect you. Call our conveyancing experts on 0800 038 6699 to discuss your needs further and to obtain a fixed-fee quote, backed up by our ‘No Completion, No Fee’ guarantee.

Q.

Bookshops have abundant resources on the subject of DIY conveyancing such as Bradshaw's Guide to Diy House Buying Selling and Conveyancing . Do I therefore have to use St Albans conveyancer for my move?

A.

There are no arguments why a home buyer cannot decide to reasonably conduct your own conveyancing without solicitor in St Albans. That said, a lawyer typically handles a long list of skilled tasks ranging from chasing deeds and checking for any restrictive covenants many of which require a qualified professional. Essentially do it yourself conveyancers do not have the appropriate insurance cover that every solicitors firm are legally obligated to have.

Q.

How much is the council tax on a Sixties detached Band G house in St Albans?

A.

The relevant band will conventionally be given as part of the report on title along with the local authority. Correct charges for residents of St Albans are set out on the St Albans local authority site. At the time of writing on 04 July 2012 band rates are:

  • Band A - £981.00
  • Band B - £1,145.00
  • Band C - £1,309.00
  • Band D - £1,472.00
  • Band E - £1,799.00
  • Band F - £2,126.00
  • Band G - £2,454.00
  • Band H - £2,944.00

Q.

Is gazumping accepted in St Albans?

A.

Gazumping arises when an offer is, following agreement, later rejected by the house seller, choosing instead a higher offer. The will be a danger of getting gazumped in any transaction, because offers are not binding until exchange of contracts. Instructing your solicitor as soon as possible to handle your transaction should help to reduce the likelihood of gazumping.

Q.

Please suggest how to bypass paying stamp duty in St Albans?

A.

Homeward Legal do not recommend any form of stamp duty scheme. Such schemes are costly and the HMRC can review a scheme up to 6 years after a sale is completed .

Q.

What will the St Albans conveyancing solicitor advise if the flat I hope to buy is situated in a St Albans council conservation area which has out of place stone cladding installed?

A.

St Albans planning authority enquiries conducted by a solicitor during the legal process should find out whether the property is inside a conservation area proof of the appropriate permissions for modifications will be requested.

Q.

How much time can conveyancing to buy a house often need, according to your estimates?

A.

For most residential property, the number of weeks needed to transfer a house can vary. This is dependent on a number of factors. These could include if third parties fail to promptly answer queries. Homeward Legal solicitors ensure your transaction is undertaken as quickly as possible.

Q.

In a few weeks I am looking to move out of our semi detached property on the outskirts of St Albans to a new property in South Oxhey what is the optimum stage to select a home removal company?

A.

The ideal approach is for buyers to avoid a removal firm until after all parties have fixed an absolute home moving date which commonly occurs once contracts are signed. Local information can be sought from Reallymoving.com Ltd, Suite 2 Unit 1/Verulam Ind Est/224 London Rd, St. Albans, AL1 1JB Call: 01727 238010 or Kelly's Self Storage Ltd, 1 Old Parkbury La, Colney Street, St. Albans, AL2 2EB Telephone: 0800 652 0323.