Following completion of a residential property transaction comes the post completion stage. The conveyancer will then deal with post completion formalities. These formalities will differ depending on whether the conveyancer is acting for the buyer or seller.
If you missed Parts 1-5 of our in-depth look at the Conveyancing Process, you can catch up here.
When Acting for the Buyer
Stamp Duty Land Tax
Within 30 days of the completion of a Transfer, Assignment or Lease, a Land Transaction Return must be completed and sent to HMRC along with payment of the SLDT at the applicable rate.
Submitting the SDLT is an express duty on the buyer and is usually completed by the conveyancer acting on their behalf. Prior to submitting the Land Transaction Return the conveyancer must obtain the buyer’s authority to the declaration that is to be submitted. Upon receipt of the return the HMRC will issue a Revenue Certificate which will be supplied to the Land Registry as part of the registration process.
Activation of Indemnity Policies
If the seller has agreed to make an allowance from off the purchase price to account for the cost in the buyer obtaining an indemnity policy to cover any defects with the property then the buyer’s conveyancer will activate the policy to ensure that the cover comes into force on the day of completion, protecting the buyer and any lender financially against issues that may arise out of the defect.
Leasehold property: Serving Post Completion Notices
If the property being purchased is Leasehold, then under the terms of Lease the buyer is obliged to ensure that the Landlord or the Managing Agent acting on their behalf is updated with the new owner’s details. This is called a Notice of Assignment.
If the buyer is mortgaging the property, then the Landlord or the Managing Agent acting on their behalf will need to be notified of the Lender so that they can update the buildings insurance provider and their own records that there is a third-party interest registered over the property. This information is provided by way of a Notice of Charge.
When serving the Notice of Assignment and Charge the buyer’s conveyancer will request an acknowledgment on return from the Landlord or the Managing Agent acting as proof that the obligations within the Lease have been complied with.
In some cases, there may be Restrictions placed on the title prohibiting the sale of the property until certain conditions have been complied with. On completion, evidence of compliance with the conditions contained within the restriction will be sent to the proprietor of the Restriction or who in turn will supply a certificate of compliance that acts as evidence to the Land Registry that the restriction has been complied with.
The buyer’s conveyancer will lodge an application to the Land Registry to register the buyer’s new interest in the property. They will ensure that all supporting documents to the application, such as the Transfer form, restriction consents, mortgage charges, grants of probates and the SDLT revenue certificate are sent over to the Land Registry to support the application.
The Land Registry may ask questions about the application that will require the conveyancer to respond to.
Once the application has been approved, the Land Registry will either amend the current title to reflect the change of ownership, or in the case of a new build or unregistered property supply a fresh title showing the new owner’s name registered within. The registration process can be lengthy especially if the application is a first registration.
Receipt of the Registered Title
Once the buyer’s new interest has been successfully registered, their conveyancer will inform them that registration has completed and that their matter will be closed. At this point the buyer will be advised that the file is going to be placed in archive storage for a certain amount of years and be supplied with deeds and documents that have been collected throughout the transaction.
The conveyancer will also make any lender aware that registration has completed and supply evidence that their charge has been registered.
This concludes the conveyancing procedure for the buyer’s conveyancer.
When Acting for the Seller
Sending Post-Completion Documents to the Buyer’s Solicitor
On the day of completion, the Transfer form that has been signed by the seller will be dated and sent to the buyer’s conveyancer along with any deed and documents that are relevant to the transaction. This will allow the buyer’s conveyancer to submit their application for registration at the Land Registry.
Activation of Indemnity Policies
If the seller has agreed to pay for the cost and arranging an indemnity policy to cover any defects with the property, then the seller’s conveyancer will activate the policy to ensure that the cover comes into force on the day of completion, protecting the buyer and any lender financially against issues that may arise out of the defect. The indemnity policy will then be sent to the buyer’s conveyancer along with the post-completion documentation.
Redeeming charges on title
The conveyancer will redeem any charges that have been registered against the title in favor of a mortgage lender, private individual or any other third party and will arrange for evidence of discharge to be handed over to the buyer who will then pass on to the Land Registry so that they can remove the charge from off the title. This is very important step to complete as the seller’s conveyancer would have provided a legal undertaking to the buyer’s conveyancer that one completion they will to remove the charges registered against the title.
Settling the Estate Agents invoice
On Completion, the Estate Agents commission for dealing with the marketing of the property will be due. The Estate Agent will usually pass their invoice over to the seller’s conveyancer to ensure that payment is made directly out of the sale proceeds, avoiding them from having to chase the seller for payment direct.
Settling Service Charge and Ground Rent arrears
If the property is Leasehold and there are arrears in the seller’s service charge or ground rent account, the conveyancer will settle the balance out of the sale proceeds, allowing the buyer to take ownership of the property free from any outstanding balances.
Accounting to the seller for any sale proceeds and closing the matter
This is the part that the seller has been waiting for since the start of the process… payment!
The seller’s conveyancer will check with the seller as to how they would like the net proceeds of sale to be returned to them. The payment will either be made by way of a bank transfer or a cheque made payable directly to the seller. At this point the seller’s conveyancer will inform the seller that their matter will be closed and that the file is going to be placed in archive storage for a certain number of years.
This concludes the conveyancing procedure for the seller’s conveyancer.
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