Property solicitors specialise in the complex area of property law. Legal issues can arise within property law frequently and property solicitors are essential in resolving these issues correctly. Property solicitors have a wealth of professional experience in the different areas of property law.
One main job of property solicitors is the act of conveyance. Conveyance is the legal process of selling or buying a property. A property solicitor can conduct this process for you and handle everything from:
- Communicating with the other party’s solicitors
- Instructing an independent surveyor
The principle of caveat emptor exists in property law when purchasing a property. It literally means ‘buyer beware’, and its application means that when you buy a property, the onus is on you to ensure that you are buying what you think you are.
There are, however, some things that do need to be disclosed by the selling party; a solicitor can explain the difference to you. However, generally, if there are any major problems with the property you need to address them before committing to buy the property, for example:
- Structural issues
- Disputes over boundaries
You are likely to have limited avenues for legal redress if you fail to identify and address such issues before committing to buy the property.
There are many people involved in a property transaction, including:
- The Land Registry
- Other financial institutions
- The other party to the transaction
A property solicitor’s job is to liaise with all the different bodies involved and ensure that everything is ready to complete the purchase by the agreed date, and that the transfer of title in the property is legal.
Property solicitors are frequently used to resolve property disputes. These occur for many reasons, including boundary disputes or someone enforcing their rights over another person’s land.
For example, if a neighbour wants to cross your property in order to reach part of their property, they may need to consult a property solicitor. Property disputes can also occur when a person has contributed to the purchase price of a house or the mortgage repayments, but is not the legal owner and they want to enforce their rights on the property.
Landlords and tenants
Property solicitors are also experts in the law between landlords and tenants. They can draft leases and enforce them when necessary. The law on leases is quite complex and a property solicitor should be consulted if you are experiencing problems with your landlord or your tenant.
Using a solicitor
A property lawyer must adhere to what is known as the solicitors’ code of conduct. This involves avoiding conflicts of interest and keeping their clients’ matters confidential. A property lawyer can often act for a buyer of a property and a person lending money to the buyer. Although this may appear to give rise to a conflict of interests, there are exceptions in the code of practice which allow this to happen.
If a conflict of interests does arise, then the solicitor must usually stop acting for both parties. A conflict can occur where the terms of the mortgage are unfair to the borrower or where the solicitor knows that the buyer intends to breach one of the terms of the mortgage offer.
If you are buying or selling a property, entering into a lease or have any other property-related matter, it is highly advisable to instruct a property solicitor. Some people opt not to and choose to handle a conveyancing or property matter themselves. Whilst this may appear attractive, it is a high-risk strategy and legal advice is always recommended.
For more advice on conveyancing, see our general information page on using a conveyancer.
We have award-winning lawyers throughout the UK, ready to assist with your case. Fill in the form and we'll be in touch.