Updated: October 12, 2018

Kensington conveyancing solicitor fees

No Move, No Fee conveyancing in Kensington

Conveyancing solicitor fees are the amounts you pay to conveyancing solicitors in Kensington for the legal work associated with moving home.

Do Kensington conveyancing solicitors work on a fixed fee basis?

Some conveyancing solicitors in Kensington will work on a price per hour basis. Some solicitors will complete the work on a fixed 'No Move, No Fee' basis. Quittance's conveyancing solicitors work on fixed legal fees (known as 'No Sale, No Fee' or 'No Move, No Fee'), with no nasty surprises in the small print. Your quote will set out all fees and disbursements you will need to pay when your property transaction has completed.

Besides conveyancing fees, what other costs are there?

You will need to budget for 'disbursements', on top of the conveyancing fees.

Disbursements are fees that a property lawyer must pay to other companies during the process of buying or selling your home, such as local authority searches or office copies and title plans.

See: Complete list of conveyancing fees and disbursements

How much will conveyancing in Kensington cost in total?

Kensington conveyancing fees will not vary. However, the costs of certain disbursements can vary. As examples, specific extra searches, e.g. a historic mining search, may be necessary and Local Authority (LA) Search fees will vary.

For a standard sale or purchase, what we quote is the fee you pay. There are no hidden costs or nasty surprises with Quittance Conveyancing. To calculate the conveyancing fees for your move, try our conveyancing fees quote calculator: Click here

Quittance delivered an excellent service at the lowest conveyancing fees we could find

Conveyancing - Buying a property in Kensington

The west London district of Kensington forms part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Its most densely populated and affluent area is South Kensington, home to many museums and other cultural venues. Although it is a vibrant urban area, Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park create green buffer to the north east.

Prime properties in Kensington include large detached mansions and imposing terraced townhouses, mansion blocks and apartments, as well as smaller mews houses.

Being highly sought-after, property prices are high, with Holland Park and Kensington Palace Gardens the most exclusive areas.

Attracting people from all over the world, Kensington has vibrant and eclectic mix of residents.

Conveyancing for buyers

The conveyancing for a home purchase will require a conveyancing solicitor in Kensington to consider a wide range of issues. Examples of such factors can range from problems with the property's title (e.g. no 'absolute' title) to the future saleability of the property.

The solicitor will report their findings back to the buyer and their lender, make practical suggestions and register the title in the new owner's name.

This section of the article provides assistance for people searching for conveyancing solicitors in Kensington for a purchase.

Your Kensington conveyancing solicitor must be lender-approved

Before selecting a Kensington conveyancing solicitor, you need to check that they are on the approved panel of your mortgage lender, whether you are getting a mortgage from NatWest, Topaz Finance or any other lender.

Your lawyer may be unable to act for your mortgage lender, because some mortgage lenders only accept a select panel of law firms.

Should this be the case, the lender will likely require an alternative firm to complete the legal work, and you will be expected to pay this alternate solicitor's fees. This can frustrate or delay the process.

Your property purchase can be seriously delayed if you fail to confirm your property lawyer's lender panel status.

Our conveyancing solicitors can carry out the legal work for all major and minor banks and building societies.

Kensington & Chelsea Borough Council searches and other searches

Residential property searches are applied for by Kensington conveyancing solicitors to help identify issues that could reduce the value of the property you are purchasing.

Lenders also usually require searches (as set out in the CML Handbook) to be carried out. Required searches will include:

  • Local Authority (LA) search - includes the LLC1 and CON29 which includes road proposals
  • Environmental search - reveals contaminated land, landfill sites and flooding or subsidence within 500m of the property.
  • Drainage & Water search - identifies water mains and sewers. This search also addresses whether the maintenance for these is the owner's responsibility.
  • Chancel repair liability - describes the insurance to protect against any liability owed by Kensington properties for local parish repairs.

You will be informed if your chosen lender insists on any more searches, e.g. a highways search or a commons registration search.

Property purchasers can expect a lead time of approximately 8 weeks for conveyancing searches supplied by The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. Your lawyer could instead use faster personal searches.

Ensuring planning permission is in place

Official Entries (or 'office copies') will also be obtained from the Land Registry by the conveyancing solicitor acting for the buyer. This will help to identify any planning issues, for example right of access issues or discrepancies between the property boundaries and the title plan.

Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council Tax

The council tax paid by a homeowner is based on a variety of factors that include the size and layout of the property and the value of the property. For example, for an average Band B property in Kensington, the amount due would be £886.

Conveyancing solicitors in Kensington will inform a purchaser of the home's council tax band once this is confirmed by the searches.

If the property is unoccupied for 2 years or more, an additional premium of 50% may be applied to the council tax. Single person discount reduces the tax due to 75% which would equal £665.

Other discounts and exemptions may also apply, for example if the property is uninhabited (for the first 60 days) or where an occupation is prohibited by law such as a compulsory purchase order. More recently-constructed homes are assessed by the Valuation Office Agency and allocated a band.

Band Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Tax (2018)
A £760
B £886
C £1,013
D £1,139
E £1,393
F £1,646
G £1,899
H £2,279

Could you be overpaying?

In the financial year 2016/17, 20 council tax challenges were made, and 10 saw a subsequent reduction. Contact the VOA for more information on how to challenge your tax band:

Valuation Office Agency
Wingate House
93-107 Shaftesbury Avenue
London
W1D 5BU

Stamp Duty on Kensington properties

SDLT is a tax payable on all UK properties where the purchase price exceeds £125,000 (£145,000 in Scotland). Stamp Duty Land Tax is paid to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by completing an SDLT1 form. The form is lengthy and complex.

Quittance Conveyancing use the latest case management integration with HMRC to avoid errors and ensure there are no late-filing penalties.

See stamp duty examples for homes in London:

  Average sale price (2017) Stamp Duty
Average price £1,028,020 £46,552.00
Average price (detached) £1,209,120 £64,662.00
Average new build £854,797 £32,739.85

Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers in Kensington

As from 11/17, first-time buyers will not have to pay any stamp duty if the purchase price is below £300,000. If you own another property (including outside the UK)you will be subject to a higher SDLT rate of 3%. E.g. if a second home was bought for £1,028,020 then the stamp duty including the surcharge would be £133,642.60. .

Kensington conveyancing solicitors should confirm the right tax is paid.

Buying a flat? Leasehold conveyancing in Kensington

New build site

The risks associated with buying a leasehold property in the UK are under increasing media scrutiny. There are any number of legal technicalities that could be lying in wait for an uninformed buyer, including ground rent multipliers and overpriced managing agent packs.

Severe consequences can result from a solicitor's bad leasehold advice.

A experienced conveyancing solicitor in Kensington will investigate aspects of the leasehold purchase, e.g. :

  • reviewing the lease itself (some documents can be centuries old)
  • dealing with landlords
  • current-year service charge estimates
  • plans to collectively purchase the freehold
  • unexpired lease terms

Our specialist leasehold conveyancing solicitors will make sure that you are fully-informed regarding your planned purchase.

Buying a 'New Build' property in Kensington?

Building site

The average cost of a new build property in Kensington is £449,784. 450 brand new homes have been bought in Kensington in 2018 so far.

A new-build conveyancing solicitor in Kensington must be familiar with Kensington-specific factors and new build's additional complexities, like working to builders' exchange timelines and investigating developer incentives.

Our team of new build conveyancers deliver an impartial view of the legal title of the house or apartment, paying close attention to issues like the home's subsequent mortgageability and likely freehold acquisition traps.

London conservation areas

If you are purchasing a property in a conservation area in Kensington, the property must not breach any conservation area restrictions. These building controls, referred to as Article 4 Directions, can include:

  • Limits on roof terraces
  • Restrictions on dormer windows
  • Needing consent to alter doors and guttering

If a property is in breach, the local council could order the owner to pay for the work needed to make the home compliant, even if the changes were made by the previous owner.

Parts of Kensington lie within a Kensington and Chelsea LPA-governed conservation area. Your Quittance conveyancing solicitor will confirm if the property you are purchasing is located in a conservation area in Kensington.

Conveyancing - Selling a property in Kensington

The legal work involved in a sale of a house or flat is simpler than when purchasing. When property changes hands, the onus is on the buyer to verify that the property is mortgageable and is (or can be) registered at the Land Registry.

Conversely, with a sale, conveyancing solicitors in Kensington acting for the current owner for the most part just answer the buyer's solicitor's formal enquiries.

What could put the sale of your property at risk?

A house or flat can face complex issues (such as Japanese Knotweed or not having permission for alterations when in a conservation area) that have the capacity to delay a sale for weeks (or worse).

It is better not to hide from the issue, trusting that the issue won't be discovered. Instead, you should seek out professional help and tackle it as quickly as possible.

Further reading:

Read more helpful advice for sellers here.

Leasehold flats

Conveyancing for a leasehold flat is much more complex than for a freehold house.

Conveyancing solicitors in Kensington must usually carry out further legal work, for example sourcing an up-to-date service charge statement, through to the memorandum of articles of association (if applicable).

Given the complexities of leasehold property, it is strongly advised that you contact leasehold-specialist property lawyer as early in the process as possible, ideally before putting the property on the market,.

What if your conveyancing solicitors are acting for the other side?

Conveyancers regulated by the CLC can act for both the buyer and the seller. However, SRA rules prevent a single conveyancing solicitor from working on behalf of both sides in a property sale and purchase.

If you are buying or selling a property in Kensington, and we are carrying out the legal work for the other side, you could instruct a property solicitor firm in Kensington to undertake your conveyancing.

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Conveyancing - Remortgaging a property in Kensington

The main reason people remortgage a home is to get a more affordable interest rate. Other reasons to consider remortgaging include consolidating debts, or wanting to overpay when the lender refuses.

You would typically benefit from a lower rate sooner by using a more proactive conveyancing solicitor in Kensington. They will work to reduce the processing time of the conveyancing. With future interest rate changes hard to predict, fast conveyancing can play a key role in getting the mortgage rate you want.

To make sure that the lender's interests are safeguarded, the property lawyer handling your remortgage will act for both you and the bank or building society.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert

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