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Conveyancing in St Albans Q & A's

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Ask Lorraine a question lorraine@homewardlegal.co.uk

Updated: 12/10/17

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 Move, No Fee’ guarantee.

    Q.

    How is Stamp Duty Land Tax calculated and what should we pay on a £60000 residence?

    A.

    Stamp Duty in St Albans will depend on the purchase price. Stamp duty will be £0 on a £60000 house.

    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 type of local searches about the risk and history of local flooding in Hertfordshire will my conveyancing solicitor in St Albans do on a Regency building I am going to buy?

    A.

    Your conveyancing solicitor makes an application for property environmental searches, which include St Albans area flood risk information. A more thorough dedicated flood risk search, such as the Landmark search, may be advocated by a qualified St Albans property solicitor if in the event that the initial conveyancing searches show that there is a flood risk.

    Q.

    Monmouthshire Building Society is going to be our mortgage lender - what will I need to know?

    A.

    In some cases, lenders have opted to reduce the size of their 'solicitor panel'. For purchasers, this can result in significantly greater conveyancing costs. Homeward Legal are able to act on behalf of many mortgage lenders.

    Q.

    Is St Albans soil likely to remain contaminated by vanadium?

    A.

    Though the dangers are usually minor, an plot will be marked as 'contaminated land' if the risk to human life is unacceptable. Other sources of contaminated land include groundwater contamination and food-processing waste.

    Q.

    What can searches be?

    A.

    The cost of searches can vary, subject to the searches your lender requires. Searches are charged at cost.

    Q.

    Which St Albans lender panels are you on?

    A.

    The Homeward Legal partnership have worked alongside most lenders approved by the CML. A number of mortgage specialists operate in St Albans, like Commercial Property Finance, 77 Oakwood Rd, Bricket Wood, St. Albans, AL2 3QB, Independent Mortgage Advice Bureau, 24 Holywell Hill, St. Albans, AL1 1BZ, and JC Independent Financial Centre, Investment House/113 London Rd, St. Albans, AL1 1LR.