INFORMED CHOICE – A Guidance Document for our SERVICE, QUALITY, REGULARITY obligations, PRICE & INFORMED CHOICE & COMPLAINTS Process 

The intention of this document is to provide guidance to you, as the consumer, in relation to quality, service and informed choice as to costs and price transparency (as contained in the CLC Regulatory Arrangements) to help you make an informed decision about which legal services provider to choose.

You should read this guidance in conjunction with the CLC Code of Conduct, and our terms of engagement which we will send to you when you request your quote estimate as well as the Estimates and Terms of Engagement Code and the Complaints Code

 

1). SERVICE INFORMATION

A description of the services we provide

We are exclusive conveyancing property lawyers. It means that are pure specialists in our field. It is one of the main reasons we are successful and are able to offer solutions when conveyancing complications arise, because this is what we do, day in and day out. Within that expertise, we deal with both freehold as well as leasehold transactions.

Key stages of your conveyancing service

For conveyancing services, these are broadly divided into the following categories:-

        • Pre-exchange and contract stage
        • Title Investigation stage/ Additional Enquiries
        • Preparation for Exchange Stage (which in Purchase include Reporting on Title).
        • Exchange,
        • Pre Completion,
        • Completion and
        • Post completion

Indicative timescales

The time from instruction to completion of a sale or purchase of a property freehold will depend on various different factors, examples include the speed of the lawyers in the chain, how proactive you are with your own lawyer, if unusual circumstances arise, or other factors with add to delay such as if you have a mortgage lender or if the property is leasehold.

Individual circumstances may change the timescales to completion, but we will continuously update you as and when such delays are encountered. The UK average is 5 to 6 months. Our average is 2 to 3 months.

The time from instruction and full details within the memorandum of sale from the estate agent, to completion of a sale or purchase of a freehold standard property (with no complications or defects) will depend on various different factors, examples include how proactive and fast you are in collaboration with your own conveyancer, with dealing with requests from the other party’s conveyancers, your ability to pass AML, if there is an unusual circumstance or defects arise, or if there is a leasehold and the landlord or management company delay, or if there is a mortgage lender involved and their responses or required steps are delayed or if there is a delay in the chain etc

Who will look after you? Our staff mix, their experience and qualifications

You will be appointed your main conveyancer. In order for you to get a more efficient service, with better communication and more proactivity, they will work within a small team of conveyancing experts. Each person within that team is responsible for looking after you: For talking to you, updating you and working with other parties in the chain. This means for example, if one of them is out, the others will cover and reduce your risk of delays. These teams are made up of a mixture of Solicitors (more general training, but ours are still specialists in conveyancing) and Conveyancers (dedicated conveyancing experts who have been trained exclusively in conveyancing law and practice).

Information on how we deliver our service

        • As clients are busy, the majority want to work by email, text and telephone
        • Opening hours to consumers is between 9.00 am to 5.00 pm as official hours
        • Where clients want to fast track* their case, and your conveyancer has to come before or stay beyond their regular working hours. We offer an out of hours contact chat line, where you can leave a message for the next working day
        • We provide a telephone call surgery where clients can book up a fixed time to speak to their lawyer. These surgeries are held daily at set times, between 10.00 to 11.00 am and 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm. Outside these hours your lawyers will be working on their client files.
        • We have facilities for all clients to ask their lawyer direct questions by email, the more detail your question, the better their reply, by phone or by email.
        • We provide an online 24/7 web portal where you can track your case
        • Your estate agent will be given access to certain parts, so they track progress too.

Who is our typical client?

Our typical clients are buyers and sellers; they include first time buyers. They come from all walks of life, and different parts of the country. Our work mainly comes through word of mouth recommendations. As a result, we have dealt with most situations before and can more easily provide a solution gained from experience.

*for further information please Click here.

 

2). REGULATORY INFORMATION

Who to contact, in the unlikely event that you are unhappy in any aspect of your dealings with AVRillo?

There are two bodies. The Council of Licenced Conveyancers and the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman could help you if you are not happy with your lawyer’s work or service and need to put things right. The Council for Licenced Conveyancers can help you if you think a property lawyer might be dishonest or you have concerns about their behaviour

For your information, the CLC Code of Conduct was made in accordance with s.20 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985; s.53 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990; and s.83 of the Legal Services Act 2007.

AVRillo LLP is regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) under the Practice Licence number 3421.

Our solicitors within AVRillo are regulated by the SRA (the Solicitors Regulatory Authority).

Our Licenced Conveyancers within AVRillo are regulated by the CLC (Council of Licenced Conveyancers).

All our lawyers are specialist conveyancing.

 

3). What should you budget for your overall lawyer costs?

Index to Terms and Conditions

A. Cooling off period for you to cancel

B. Money Laundering Regulations

C. Costs Terms:

  1. C(1) Estimate of Basic Costs for straightforward conveyancing transaction.
  2. C(2). Price/ Costs Menu (but only if you use optional additional services).

D. General Terms – Not relating to costs

E. Miscellaneous Compliance and Financial matters

F. More detailed explanation of Option 1 fuller set of searches

A: COOLING OFF Period:

A.1 Cooling off period.  The standard Statutory cooling off period is 14 days. As an additional benefit for AVRillo clients only, we will extend this to 60 days cooling off period as follows: If you instruct AVRillo without attending our office you are covered by the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations. Notice of Right to Cancel: Under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 you have the right to cancel this contract, in writing, within 14 days of you instructing us. This is called the cancellation period.

If you are offered an additional special 60-day money back guarantee i.e. AVRillo’s extended cooling off period, in your estimate then your statutory 14 days is extended to 60 days.

A.2 Cooling off period where you obtain a mortgage. When you are buying with a mortgage your lender will need to give you at least 7 days to reflect on the offer before deciding whether you wish to accept it. Your lender or broker will advise you on how long this period is and whether they require you to formally accept the offer. By instructing us you are instructing us to bind you to the offer of the mortgage and to dispense with the reflection period if this is still active. If you do not wish for this risk to happen it is important to you let us know immediately. If your offer of mortgage is allowed to expire you will be required to apply for a new mortgage, as extensions to your existing offer may not be allowed. You should check and monitor the expiry date as we will not accept any liability for loss which may arise from the expiry of the offer.

B. MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS.Like all firms of solicitors, we are required to ask clients to send us their evidence to comply with their obligations under the UK Money Laundering Laws including identification and source of funds documents. If you do not pass then UK law will unfortunately prevent solicitors from continuing to act for their clients. To assist you we will send our guidelines in the very first letter we send you after we open your file.

C. COSTS TERMS | COSTS MENU

Costs are divided into two parts.

  1. – Basic costs and
  2. – Optional costs (but only if you need or use our additional optional services). These exclude 3 rd party disbursements (fees paid to third parties such the land registry and therefore our not our costs). All costs below are exclusive of Government VAT tax of 20% so please allow for additional vat

Firstly, brief INDEX to costs

C.1 Basic Costs estimate for a straightforward freehold transaction:

  1. – Basic Costs -what it includes? see case plan.
  2. – Free ’30 Money Back Guarantee’:
  3. – What to budget for?
  4. – Abortive costs.
  5. – Discount.
  6. – Case plan identified for a straightforward transaction and including in the basic costs

C.2 Optional Services & associated costs menu:

  1. 1. Common to Sale or Purchase
  2. 2. Optional to sales only
  3. 3. Optional to purchase only (including searches)
  4. 4. Hourly Rate

Secondly COSTS section – in more detail (as per the Index):-

C.1 Basic Costs.

  1. – Basic costs. are as estimated for a straightforward conveyancing transaction (which is identified in your case plan in section C.1.5 below). Anything outside is charged as additional optional services at prices set out in the C.2 costs menu. An analogy would be like ordering a basic fixed menu in a restaurant and then ordering additional drinks or food, which is charged as an additional item. In any event, if you want additional services, we will let you know in advance the cost so you can decide whether to use it or not.
  2. – 30 Money Back Guarantee. For free, if within 30 days you change your mind, you will not be charged any of our basic costs. The only liability will be for third party disbursements.
  3. – What you to BUDGET for your overall lawyer costs? If you don’t use additional services, then your budget is fixed in the estimate for basic costs. But no solicitor can predict if complications may or may not arise. If these arise, we divide our additional costs for those complications. Either at discounted fixed rates for those services falling within our C.2 menu of costs list of rates for complications or hourly rate if not within that list. If additional work is needed, we will let you know in advance, and its cost and you can decide. For example, if you have a lender (estimate between an additional £297 to £397); no move no fee (£97) etc. The national average of costs is anywhere from £1200 to £3000 +vat and disbursements, if not straightforward or if you choose some additional services. If leasehold or if it is a freehold Property with management company, as there is significant more work involved, even if the property is of low value, the costs are anywhere between £4000 and £7000 +vat. With leasehold properties and freehold properties with a management company, please expect an additional £1500 of costs that are third party costs. So you could be looking to budget for an additional £2000 to £4000 to allow for contingencies, depending on your personal circumstances, how risk-averse you are or your lender maybe, defects in the title of the property, and any legal defects not known, or you do not tell us or do not explain to us at the start of the case.
  4. – Abortive costs. If your matter falls through you will liable to pay full basic costs unless you have ticked the no move no fee option on your instruction form in which case you a one-off pay £97 plus vat plus disbursements where the other party pulls out on your transaction (through no fault of your own).
  5. – Discount. If you are given a discount if you instruct within 3 days, the discount will be revoked if you instruct late, after 3 days, and will be added back to your basic costs fee.
  6. – Case plan identified for what work is included in basic costs charge.

Purchase CASE PLAN for a straightforward registered freehold conveyancing. This will include the following work as part of your basic fixed costs: Corresponding with the seller solicitors (not third party such as matrimonial solicitor); preparing a letter to the sellers’ solicitors requesting a draft contract, prepare a letter to the estate agents to acknowledge that we are acting on your behalf; calculating searches and requesting search payment, checking deeds when received from the sellers; checking the protocol questionnaires received from the sellers’ solicitors, send a letter to you enclosing the contract and protocol questionnaires; checking the local search; check the water search; send a letter to you advising you that the searches are received; raising additional enquiries under the CQS protocol; liaising with you and the seller solicitors and taking instructions from you regarding these additional enquiries; reporting to you on your documents and deeds and allowing you to take a commercial decision on whether the documents available; arranging for documents required for you to sign to exchange contracts; send a letter to you requesting that you sign the contract, agreeing deposit, requesting and paying this in etc.; receiving your instructions of agreed completion date; exchange of contracts; prepare a letter to the sellers’ solicitors confirming exchange and all relevant parties; prepare our standard requisitions on title; waiting and dealing with one set of replies to our requisitions on title from seller solicitors; prepare and send a draft transfer to the sellers’ solicitors; calculate a completion statement (with any allowances etc.); send a letter to you giving you notice for the funds required to complete; work between exchange and completion to prepare for completion; completion day procedure, sending completion funds to the sellers’ solicitors; send a letter to the sellers’ solicitors to confirm completion; prepare a AP1 form; prepare and send the Land Registry application by post; acknowledge the form of discharge from the sellers’ solicitors when received; send a DS1 to the Land Registry.

Note: Any work outside the case plan is charged as additional costs. If you are not sure then ask your solicitor. So for example if leasehold you should add a leasehold supplement of £597, if you have a lender (and we are on their panel and allowed by them to act) then add £397.

Sale CASE PLAN for a straightforward registered freehold conveyancing. This will include the following work as part of your basic fixed costs:- Corresponding with the seller solicitors (not third party such as matrimonial solicitor); We will order your land registry documents online from the land registry; we will prepare your protocol CQS (conveyancing protocol forms) including:- property information form, we will prepare fixtures form and overriding interest form; we will draft the formal contract of sale to be sent to the buyer solicitors; we will prepare a ‘draft TR1’ and deal with Requisitions on Title as well as Replies; we will send all contract papers to the buyer solicitors with official copies from the land registry. We will collect and forward on to you additional enquiries and pass on your replies for free. If however your replies to the additional enquiries are not satisfactory for the buyer solicitors because you have missing documents or information such that they consider the title is defective and their client does not accept these, then we will charge an additional hourly rate or a fixed £149 to correspond with the seller solicitors.

Note: Any work outside the case plan is charged as additional work and therefore additional costs. If you are not sure then ask your solicitor. So for example if leasehold you should add a leasehold supplement of £597.00. Other examples include if you have lender (and we are on their panel and AVRillo are prepared to act for that lender-see list below for discounted additional costs or if not including in discounted list, how calculated).

C.2. Optional costs for optional additional work.

C.2(1) OPTIONAL- COMMON to Sale or Purchase (but only if required, no charge otherwise)

  1. – No Move No fee protection: £97.00 No Move No Fee Protection-covers all your basic solicitor costs if the other party pulls out through no fault of your own. It does not cover you if you pull out or if your mortgage offer is not to your liking or your survey is insufficient.
  2. – Fast track: £97.00 Priority/Fast Track (24 working hours for a review by your lawyer). Where the average solicitor can take up to between 5 to 10 days to consider each piece of correspondence, our Priority Fast Track takes less than 24 working hours to consider each piece of correspondence. This reduces delays and increases your chance of moving from 63% to 91%. If you have not opted for Fast track, whilst we cannot guarantee that we will consider each piece of correspondence within 24 working hours, we will consider the correspondence within a reasonable timeframe.
  3. – Lender work: On your sale , £297 acting for any one lender or registered charge or restriction (if any) registered on your land registry office title, prior to completion, preventing you selling that property i.e., which without that additional work being done to release you, the buyer solicitors will refuse to advise their client to purchase; £397 acting for your individual lender if you are obtaining one on your purchase (failing which they will not lend to you). If you do not want us to work for your lender separately, then on your sale you need to discharge your mortgage and provide proof to the buyer, prior to exchange of contracts or appoint another lawyer to do this separate work for you. On your purchase, you need to appoint a separate lawyer to act for your lender. In each case, you need to notify us upon appointment so we can liaise with them whilst we are carrying out your actual conveyancing on your behalf (separate work from that of your lender). Note: Lender work is more onerous and has more obligations and work as it also needs that lawyer to not only comply with your instructions but also additional work for your lender who has to consider not only the mortgage offer etc but also the CML (Council of Mortgage Lender) special conditions which attach to their loan and for you to ensure these are discharged separately by your lawyer separate representation. Note: This work is only carried out if you ask us to either by ticking the box (or after by on a purchase naming us on your mortgage application as your lawyer, and we your mortgage offer posted to us and AVRillo down as your lawyers. Or you do not appoint a separate lawyer, and we have to give a personal promise to pay off your mortgage on a sale (called an undertaking required by a buyer solicitor, without which the buyer will not buy). Plus note, even if we do agree to take on your lender separate work, we cannot do it if we are not on their lender panel (no one lawyer is on lender panels, but we are on most of the major high street ones because of our expertise in this field). If not, you need to appoint a separate lawyer to act for your lender, and we will deal with your conveyancing part and liaise with them).
  4. – Expedited outside the Law Society timing between exchange and completion: The Expedited Completion is charged but only if you leave less than 15 working days (The Law Society is even longer with 20 working days) between exchange and completion. The actual fee depends on the number of working days you leave between exchange and completion 0 days – £227, 1-5 days – £197, 6-10 days – £127, 11-14 days – £47. That means the greater the difference between the 20 working days in the Law Society contract the greater the charge. These charges are applied where you ask us to arrange the completion date, for example of you instruct us to arrange a completion date of zero days between exchange and completion but you do not actually move on that day. We reserve the right to charge you for that (because we will have done work to arrange at completion on the day you originally requested) and again for the arranging a new date. Furthermore, where the time between exchange and completion change, we reserve the right to charge you at a rate relevant for the period of time which was expected to be left between exchange and completion.
  5. – Unusual Instruction Declarations: These are chargeable at £87.00 plus vat per Declaration we draft on your behalf. These are for any unusual circumstances that are outside of normal instructions in a transaction and require additional Declarations to be drafted to protect your interests. Examples include, but are not limited to, requesting the unequal distribution of funds, payment of the proceeds for a joint sale into one party’s sole account, transferring the proceeds from a joint sale to a purchase in one party’s sole name, bankruptcy/insolvency declarations.
  6. – Arranging indemnity insurance if there is defective which prevents sale and purchase (limited to £90 per policy)
  7. – Leasehold: £597.00 Leasehold supplement for straightforward additional lease documents. Where the property is such that it may be impacted by the Building Safety Act then we reserve the right to not act for you but if we do there will be an additional charge which will depend on a number of factors including the building your property is situated in and your lender ( if you are obtaining a mortgage)
    Exception to straightforward leasehold includes examples such as: Off plan/ New Build; Variation of a lease; Grant of a new lease, multiple Management Packs or a Lease Extension or a Retention for example (*as to a ‘Retention.’ If this is suggested by the other lawyer, most of our clients prefer the cheaper time cost of agreeing an ‘Allowance’ which is free of charge rather than being charged for additional time to deal with the retention (we advice not to spend that £397 for additional work, but just agree an allowance). If you are unsure, ask your conveyancer to explain.
  8. – Building Safety Act. Building Safety Act 2022. Does AVRillo still act on leasehold blocks on a purchase potentially at risk of being affected by the Building Safety Act 2022? If we decide to do this additional work for you, what is the additional complexity of the work and the cost to you? See explanation and terms below:
    1. – Like other lawyers, AVRillo will no longer automatically take on a purchase in a leasehold block. If we do take this on, it will be to assist existing clients and only those buying in exceptional circumstances as set out below. The reason for UK lawyers stopping this work automatically is because of the changes in the law since Grenfell are so ambiguous and onerous on lawyers, that many lawyers are simply turning this work away due to the high risk of them being sued, which in turn leads to them being uninsurable, and closing down.
    2. – Why is it such a high risk? Since the tragedy of Grenfell, the government has spent years considering the severe consequences and risks to health and safety for owners of leasehold flats in apartment blocks. As a result, they passed the complex Building Safety Act 2022. Because the Act is so fresh, so full of risk of different interpretations and ambiguities as relating to conveyancing transactions and documentation to be obtained (which may not even exist or is missing), many lawyers are refusing to act on purchases of flats in any size of an apartment block.
    3. – Risk to lawyers and why lawyers prefer not to take on Building Safety Act work. Some lawyers are waiting until potentially a lawyer is sued, i.e., taken to the High Court by a client or their lender regarding their interpretation and application of this new untested Act. This is how legislation is often clarified in the English legal system. This process could take years, potentially until 2026 or later, unless, e.g., the government potentially issue further guidelines and therefore will cost the lawyer, taken to Court, its reputation and ability to practice as it did.
    4. – Will AVRillo act on leasehold blocks because of the risk under the Building Safety Act? We are no different to other lawyers, so we too, prefer not to act on leasehold apartment blocks because of the new government legislation, complexity, additional work required, and high risk of getting sued. There are legal firms who are deciding refusing to carry this out.
    5. – Exception of where our firm decide to act on a one to one basis, for purchase leaseholds at risk of the Building Safety Act 2022, and associated costs: As goodwill, we may make an exception for our existing clients only by dealing with leasehold flats in blocks of specific sizes (as set out below), or buyers with certain lenders (as set out below). Note lawyers have different additional charges for this additional work and risk, if they decide to do it.
    6. – Our own costs for Building Safety Act work are set out below (but note: this work will be done as an exception, only at our discretion, and clients cannot force us to take on this work if we decide not to deal with that work:

Four storeys (i.e. floors) or under 11 metres, £0 additional costs. This work carries extra work and potential risks, but no charge is made as goodwill to an existing client. Between 5 to 6 storeys (i.e. floors) or 11 metres or above, £1397 plus vat, because of the additional work, complexities and risk so high, that many lawyers are not taking on this work at all. From 7 storeys (i.e. floors) or 18 metres or above, £1997 but note, our default position is that AVRillo will not do this work at all, except by prior arrangement, at our discretion because of what lawyers consider to be even more of a risk than the other two categories. If we do act, but we. Note: If your lender is Nationwide, Barclays, Mortgage Works, HSBC, First Direct because of the further additional risk, and further additional work, and requirements by these lenders, many lawyers, including us, will not act, for any blocks with 5 storeys plus or above 11 metres. We will only do so as an exception, at our discretion, and if we do, our additional charge will be limited to £1997 as a goodwill exception, but only by prior arrangement with us. We may not act for certain lenders where we consider their UK Finance Instructions too onerous.

    1. – Limits of our retainer if we do act for properties potentially affected by Building Safety Act 2022. Where you are buying with a mortgage, as there are over 78 different lenders in the property lending market, with different conditions to pass for them to advance the mortgage borrowing, each has different requirements regarding the Building Safety Act. These are always subject to future changes by lenders, including changes in their specific requirements, as in the UK Finance Mortgage Lenders Handbook. Suppose you require mortgage funding to purchase the property. In that case, there is a risk that your lawyer, e.g., us, will be unable to comply with or satisfy your specific lender’s requirements under the Building Safety Act, as each lender’s requirements differ. If this is the case, your lender may refuse to lend on the property, or we may need to terminate our retainer. We also reserve the right to terminate our retainer in the event that we consider the risk of taking this on will impact our ability to get or our premium for our Professional Indemnity Insurers; or we deem the transaction too high risk for example where we have acted for another client in the same block. Note, like many lawyers, we do not act for certain lenders for Building Safety Act work, e.g., Nationwide, Barclays, Mortgage Works, HSBC, First Direct but when you notify us of your lender, we can notify you. Our retainer in respect of our work and liability in respect of the Building Safety Act is limited to the following: requesting copies of any Leaseholder or Landlord Certificate or certificates that may exist; requesting confirmation as to whether the property has or will be remediated pursuant to the Building Safety Act 2022. Note. If building safety remediation works are required (whether pursuant to the Building Safety Act 2022 or otherwise), this will likely incur substantial expenditure, which you could be liable to pay.
    2. – However, you need to discuss with your surveyor and any other additional suitably qualified expert, e.g., recommended by your surveyor, before you proceed to an exchange of contracts, the following. This is because, as conveyancing lawyers, we are neither landlord and tenant experts nor surveyors, so we do not carry out a physical inspection of the property, which you need to ask your surveyor to do, which means we cannot and do not verify or advise you on any of the following: a) the building owner’s obligations and whether they have been complied with, b) whether the property is a relevant building, higher risk building or otherwise affected by the Building Safety Act 2022, c) any potential risk of remediation works and any associated costs involved, d) whether Landlord or Leaseholder certificates should be provided and the nature or effect of any that are, e) whether the form and content of any completed certificates are correct and whether the information can be relied upon, or f) whether the lease is a qualifying lease to which leaseholder protections apply, g) any information supplied by the seller and their solicitor, landlord/management company or agent h) building and fire safety and any associated remediation works are something that you should discuss with your surveyor, i) you should ensure you have checked with your surveyor that the building owner/responsible person/accountable and/or principle accountable person has or will have complied with their legal obligations in relation to the safety of the building in all aspects, whether or not you will be a qualifying leaseholder, what protections (if any) under the Building Safety Act 2022 you will qualify for, what building safety costs (if any) you will be liable for and whether this is likely to affect the value and/or marketability of the property in the future.
    3. – Our work and liability in respect of the Building Safety Act is limited to the following: requesting copies of any Leaseholder or Landlord Certificates that may exist; requesting confirmation as to whether the property has or will be remediated pursuant to the Building Safety Act 2022. Note. If building safety remediation works are required (whether pursuant to the Building Safety Act 2022 or otherwise), this will likely incur substantial expenditure, which you could be liable to pay. It is important that from the outset of our instructions, you understand that we are unable to confirm whether your property is protected by the BSA 2022 because we
      1. 1. Are unable to confirm whether the building within which your flat or apartment is situated is more than 11 metres in height or exceeds 5 storeys or for higher risk buildings whether the building within which your flat or apartment is situated is more than 18 metres in height or exceeds 7 storeys.
      2. 2. Are unable to confirm whether the landlord certificate or the leaseholder deed of certificate that has been provided contains information which can be safely relied upon by you.
      3. 3. In any event, we are unable as part of the conveyancing process to advise you as to what your liability will be in connection with the future annual service charge which you are obliged to pay as a leaseholder. A surveyor or valuer might be able to provide an opinion as to future service charge costs, whether the state or condition of the building in which your flat or apartment is situated is likely to lead to additional service charge costs or whether remediation works and costs are likely to be incurred which could be subject to the BSA 2022.
      4. 4. Where you are concerned as to future remediation costs and the impact of those costs on a service charge, we may be able to undertake further investigative work or to provide advice relating to investigative work undertaken by you or a third party on your behalf, but this is not part of our current work and retainer. It would warrant additional fees to be paid to us and would require us to expressly agree to do that work and for our retainer to be extended for that purpose.
      5. 5. It is extremely important that you are aware that our firm is unable to advise you on the Building Safety Act, which is a complex and evolving piece of legislation. The above is given on an information basis only and cannot be relied upon as legal advice. The provisions of the BSA 2022 (including the relevant certificates) extend beyond the scope of our retainer. This means we are not instructed to advise you on this aspect of your purchase, and you must therefore seek specialist advice.
      6. 6. Where you, independently of this firm, obtain additional information or external advice on any of the issues specified above and provide this to us, we will consider it however, we will not be able to provide you with any advice upon it. If you have any questions or queries arising from the additional information or advice you will need to raise it with the advisor who provided it.
      7. You need to discuss with your surveyor and any other additional suitably qualified expert, e.g anyone recommended by your surveyor, and/or building safety/fire expert and a Landlord and Tenant solicitor ( not AVrillo as we deal with conveyancing), before you proceed to an exchange of contracts the following below. In the event that you do not instruct a surveyor we may ask you to sign a disclaimer and if you refuse to sign a disclaimer in connection with the Building Safety Act please advise as we reserve the right to cease acting for you. This is because, as conveyancing lawyers, we are neither landlord and tenant experts nor surveyors, so we do not carry out a physical inspection of the property, which you need to ask your surveyor to do, which means we cannot and do not, advise you on any of the included but not limited to any of the following;
      8. 7. Whether there is a building safety risk
      9. 8. Whether any building safety defects exist at the property (as this may not be covered by your survey),
      10. 9. Whether the building in which your new property is situated has remediation work required or identified requires or to what extent and at what cost remediation work is required. Where we have been informed by the any party such as seller/landlord/your surveyor or valuer that the building in which your new property is situated requires remediation work we are not qualified to advise you as to whether this is the case or not and cannot advise you on the information presented to us whether these costs can be included in the future service charge and the impact of the Building Safety Act 2022 on that service charge
      11. 10. Have remedial works been identified , If yes:
        1. – Who will pay for the remedial works?
        2. – When will the works be done?
        3. – Will the works be disruptive to the leaseholder?
        4. – Are there additional safety measures required until the work is complete eg waking watch.
      12. 11. the building owner/responsible person has or will have complied with their legal obligations in relation to the safety of the building in all aspects
      13. 12. whether or not you will be a qualifying leaseholder,
      14. 13. what protections (if any) under the Building Safety Act 2022 you will qualify for,
      15. 14. what building safety costs (if any) you will be liable for
      16. 15. The implications on the ability to sell and or mortgage the property
      17. 16. Whether the conditions are met for you to qualify for protection under the Building Safety Act including protection against the cost of remediation ( including but not limited to the whether the property is a relevant property)
      18. 17. Is the property greater than 5 storeys or 11m? If no, other fire safety regulations may apply, see below.
        1. If yes: a. Has a Leaseholder Deed of Certificate been served detailing the qualification of the leaseholder on 14 02 22?
        2. b. has the property had a building safety assessment, to the Publicly Available Specification: PAS9980 standard, in the last 5 years?
      19. 18. Will the incoming Leaseholder be the Responsible Person under the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 and own common parts the use of which would be necessary when escaping from a fire?
      20. 19. If no, the responsible person should be in touch after they take up occupation to identify to them the relevant fire safety information eg how to escape from fire and the correct maintenance of fire doors etc.
      21. 20. If Yes, have the Regulations been complied with and, in particular:- a. Have the occupants of the dwellings in the building been provided with the required information? b. When were the inspections last made to the fire doors to the flats and to the communal areas?
      22. 21. Whether the procedures and formalities required to qualify for protection have been complied with and/or dealt with correctly
      23. 22. Carry out any checks to verify if the information provided to AVRillo is correct and can be relied on.
      24. 23. The information that we receive is made available on the portal during the case and you are advised to download this as originals will not be retained
      25. 24. On cladding and other less obvious fire safety defects
      26. 25. Obligations and liabilities of the Responsible Person under the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022
      27. 26. Obligations and liabilities of the Accountable Person or Principal Accountable Person under the Building Safety Act 2022
      28. 27. Implications of the Building Safety Act on the value of the property and your ability to sell and or mortgage the property that the building owner/responsible person has or will have complied with their legal obligations in relation to the safety of the building in all aspects, whether or not you will be a qualifying leaseholder, what protections (if any) under the Building Safety Act 2022 you will qualify for, what building safety costs (if any) you will be liable for and whether this is likely to affect the marketability of the property in the future.

– Recovery of service charge payments when acting on a sale – as AVRillo are neither surveyors nor landlord and tenants experts we will not be advising you on the potential recovery of any service charge payments that may already have been made for remediation costs for building safety works you will need to take independent, expert, advice in this regard.

– In agreeing for this firm to act on your behalf in this transaction you acknowledge that our firm cannot be held liable for any loss, diminution, or inconvenience that you may experience as a result of –

  1. – This retainer in connection with the explanation provided by this firm or information given concerning the application and implications of the BSA 2022.
  2. – Not obtaining the survey, valuation or other specialist advice that might be necessary to determine whether the building where your new flat or apartment is situated requires remediation work to which the BSA 2022 applies.
  3. – Relying on where appropriate the leaseholder deed of certificate and any information within it provided by the seller or the landlord or the landlord certificate and any information within it provided by the seller or the landlord as we are unable to warrant or verify that the information provided in either is correct or accurate.

By agreeing our terms you are declaring that you understand the above information and waive your right to bring about any action for professional negligence or breach of contract against this firm should you experience any loss or detriment of any kind resulting from or relating to the BSA 2022 or any information, explanation or advice from this firm on the BSA 2022 (including but not limited remediation costs) following completion of your purchase. It is important that you understand and acknowledge that this firm does not owe you a duty of care and that there can be no contractual liability arising from this retainer from any loss or damage you sustain concerning the application of the BSA 2022 to your acquisition or any service charge liability arising from your acquisition. You proceed on you at your own risk with regard to future remediation costs or additional service charge costs arising from the BSA 2022 or due to the lack of protection afforded to you by the BSA 2022.

  1. – £39.00 Telegraphic bank transfer admin time for making a TT or BACS payment. For the time in taking details, coding these into banking, checking, asking a partner to personally log in and send the transfer.
  2. – £49.97 Money laundering admin time for the Online check to avoid client coming into the office (i.e. time spent in online research and entry and reviewing these online documents).
    x. Archive fee £45

C.2(2). OPTIONAL- UNIQUE to SALES. In addition to C.2(1)-(but only if required, no charge otherwise )
£227.00 Additional enquiries only if seller has inadequate information or missing documents such that the buyer cannot buy. Note. The first two sets of enquiries are not charged. Subsequent charged at one off discounted fee of £227.00.

C2(3). OPTIONAL- UNIQUE to PURCHASE. In addition in C.2.(1). No charge if not required.

  1. I. Tax form .£187.00. If you want us to complete and submit your Stamp Duty Land Tax form and take liability if we get it wrong.
  2. II. Cash Gifts from third parties: £180 Cash Gift solicitors work (needed by your lender, if any, to allow them to lend to you).
  3. III. Only if applicable if leasehold:
    1. (a).£67 Notice/s to be filed but only applicable for leases and only if your Landlord requires these to be served for them to recognise you as the owner on the deeds. We will not know if they require a notice (or what they charge) for each notice) until after they send their leasehold management pack to us. Our fee for drafting and serving the notice is free for a Notice of Assignment as we will only charge for subsequent notices, if any, at £67 per notice, such as for a Notice of a Deed of Covenant (if applicable); Certificate of Compliance (if applicable); Share Certificate (if applicable). If you have a Management Company, they may also charge separately for them to accept service of your notices and our charge will be £67 per notice if applicable.
    2. (b.) £97. Interest in freehold purchase (but only if the freeholder allows you to buy a share in the freehold title in addition to your leasehold purchase.
  1. IV. Searches. Option 1 (circa £463.80) * (full benefits explained below & further in section F, below) or option 2 (circa £250).

Searches Option 1: A fuller personal 5 searches pack: see section for conditions to qualify and benefits to you.

Conditions: You can only purchase this at the start as it has discounted costs and attached benefits. Plus, a) Property must be under £909,000.00 for block indemnity insurance cover and b) Must be under £100,000,000 for personal searches,

Benefits and Costs: Rather than just the mandatory 2 searches (*which means you are probably at risk of not only limiting your investigation, and discovery of expensive issues/ defects until later but also lead you to having to order the 3 other searches later at a higher non discounted costs). The benefits of the 5 pack search includes: The 5 searches (not 2); a block indemnity insurance policy (worth up to £500); a free 2nd set of the 5 searches (worth up to £463.80) plus our costs for facilitating all five searches:

What are the 5 searches? Contamination Search (AVR fee £60.73 + vat + Conveyancing Data search company cost of £36.60; total £109.47); Chancel Search (AVR fee £70.17 + vat + Conveyancing Data cost of £24.66 disbursement; total £108.86);

Flooding Search (AVR fee £66.57 +vat + Conveyancing Data cost of £29.28 disbursement; total £109.16);

Local Authority search (AVR fee of £26.34 + £5.27 vat + 46.80 for the Conveyancing Data disbursement; total £78.41);

Water Drainage search (AVR fee of 30.25 + £6.05 vat + 21.60 Conveyancing Data disbursement; total £57.90). If you need any other searches, such as tin if you are in Cornwall or Coal in the midlands areas, then we will let you know after we know, and open your case. Some times we will not even know unless other risks are revealed that need an additional search.

Searches Option 2: Basic mandatory only: Official Local Authority and Water searches only (circa £250) but limited protection as they only search the water drainage, which has limited content and the Local Authority Register. If you require other searches in option 2, then you will need to pay for them separately, You also do not get Block policy as in option 1 nor do you get a free set of searches (as per option 1).

Disclaimer if you choose option 2: Sometimes a lender or the area or an additional risk, will need a further search to be required by you to purchase (often those being set out in option 1. However, if you are buying these separately they will cost you more than option 1). Also note, in respect of option 2, AVRillo has to exclude liability for any loss you suffer as a result of not picking up defects, etc which would have been picked up or protected against if you had taken out the option 1 option of the 5 search pack and other benefits.

Note: If you are unsure, or want a cost price for anything outside the basic and fixed discounted additional options, ask your lawyer, they will explain your options and your choices.

C.2.4: Hourly Rate: OPTIONAL Only if you need additional work not listed in the discounted lists in c.2.3 (i.e. such as a trust deed or a lease extension or new build) in which case such additional work is charged hourly rate of the conveyancer who looks after you as follows: – £135 (under 1 years’ conveyancing experience); £175 (1-4years’experience); £195 (5-10 years); £215 (11-15 years’); £245 (Partner or Conveyancer with over 17 years’ experience).

 

4).  COMPLAINT PROCESS

In the unlikely event that something goes wrong we want to reassure you that we want you to notify us immediately. We would rather hear if something goes wrong as early as possible because we then have the opportunity to find out what happened, clarify and put right. It also gives us the best opportunity to ensure things run smoother in the future.

The first thing we ask you to please do is notify both your individual lawyer, and the partner. We do not want anything left until the end, where memories fade. If done immediately, it also gives us the best chance of a full investigation and the best chance of putting it right.

Please do not feel that a complaint will risk a breakdown in our relationship. It will not. It will help that relationship as it will help us better understand how you feel, and give us a chance to explain.

The best way to notify us is in writing, and preferably by copying your own lawyer, but and sending a copy to the reporting partner at the same time.

As AVRillo is regulated by the Council of Licenced Conveyancers (CLC) we want to mention that the ‘ Reporting Problems’ section of the CLC website provides more information about the complaints process.

For your information, The Legal Ombudsman is unable to investigate a complaint if you haven’t already complained to your service provider, ie AVRillo. That you will only review the complaint after you and AVRillo have gone through our internal complaints procedure.

Our Complaints Policy/Procedure

AVRillo is committed to providing a high-quality legal service to all our clients, and whilst we aim to provide the highest standards of service, we recognise that, as with any other service provider, misunderstandings can sometimes arise. If you have a complaint, please notify us immediately. Rest assured, we won’t get offended, and it will not compromise your case but may help progress it. We prefer to know about any issues as soon as possible, as it will help to better resolve them. The longer you take to make a complaint, the harder it becomes for us to resolve this to your satisfaction.  

AVRillo is a legal firm regulated by the CLC – Council of Licenced Conveyancers.  As such we follow the Licenced Conveyancers code and also cooperate fully with the Legal Ombudsman if appointed. We will comply with Outcome Focused procedure in respect of complaints. That means we investigate your complaint and deal with the required steps if the service we provided is not expected of a reasonable conveyancer and/or a reasonable conveyancing firm, and we will provide appropriate redress steps.

We will treat complaints seriously and provide appropriate options, and we aim to deal with your complaint to your satisfaction, but if not, you have a right to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman. 

However, before the Legal Ombudsman will accept a complaint for investigation they will check with you that that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. 

The complaint procedure below describes the stages and processes to follow before the Ombudsman accepts your complaint.  Note. Please take the contents of this document as the document setting our complaint procedure.

How do you notify us of your complaint?

Notify your conveyancer by email and send a copy of your complaint to our Compliance Office for Legal Practice (“COLP”), Mr A V Piccirillo  avp@avrillo.co.uk.  

In writing: Please set out your complaint in writing so a record is kept of the evidence and information you submit in support of your complaint so your complaint can be more accurately investigated, and a written and transparent record kept for future consideration, including for the Ombudsman if the complaint is not settled to your satisfaction and the matter proceeds for their adjudication. 

Note. We comply with equality legislation and make reasonable adjustments to prevent persons with vulnerabilities or disabilities from being placed at a substantial disadvantage, meaning we may be able to adjust the in-writing need, but only as a last resort because not being in writing does not allow for as accurate and contemporaneous historical recording of the complaint process.   

 

Below are the complaint procedure and timescales for dealing with the complaint. 

Note. All days are referred to as ‘working days’.  They exclude a Saturday or a Sunday and bank holidays. They will start from the working day following receipt of correspondence (letter or email). So e.g. if a correspondence is received on Monday afternoon, 1st May, the working days time frame commences on Tuesday 2nd May, and 3 working days means the expiry of the 3rd working day will be by Thursday 4th May.  

We aim to provide you with an initial outcome following the end of the investigation within 28 working days unless time is extended for any delay in you providing any further clarification, information or evidence to allow the investigation actually to commence and for any delay or forwarding the same during the investigation.  

Timeframes and Stages.

Stage 1: Within 2 to 3 working days following receipt of your complaint.

We aim to contact you within 2 to 3  working days following receipt of your complaint to acknowledge receipt. 

Stage 2: Within 4 to 7 working days following the end of stage 1. 

During this period, a senior member of staff (who may or may not be the final investigating officer) will read your complaint and write to you with:

Either 

2.1 A request as part of our ‘information, clarification and evidence gathering stage’. 

This will be requested if more information, clarification and evidence is required from you for a considered investigation of your complaint.  This means that clarification, information or evidence will be needed before the investigation can actually commence to give a fair and impartial decision based on evidence; after the investigation is concluded, evidence is provided in full to allow that investigation to be concluded. If the clarification, information or evidence provided is still insufficient to carry out a full investigation, then for due diligence to ensure you have a detailed consideration of your complaint, we will raise further requests for clarification, information or evidence until your replies are fully set out sufficient clarification, information or evidence to move onto the investigation. 

Therefore, until the said information, clarification and evidence are returned by you, the timescales of the said  4 to 7 days, as referred to in this stage, will be suspended (frozen). That time frame will start again when all the information, clarification and evidence is provided in full to allow the investigation to commence.

Note.  “Information, clarification and evidence” stage 

As part of the information, clarification and evidence stage, we will send your comments to the person you have complained about. This will ensure transparency and allow us to gather their comments on your complaint and their version of the events. We may send it to you and ask you to reply to those comments. These will be sent to them, and the same cycle will repeated until we have a set of agreed versions or disputed events. This will then conclude this “information, clarification and evidence” stage, following which the investigation will formally commence and the investigator appointed.  During this period, one of the partners or another senior member may assist in the information, clarification and evidence stage needed before an investigator is appointed. 

Or 

2.2 The name of the investigator appointed to investigate your complaint will be set out to you if we feel there is no need for further information, clarification and evidence as in 2.1.

Note. The “Investigator” we appoint will be a senior member of staff to review your complaint (“the investigator”). The reason why this investigator is only appointed at conclusion of information, clarification and evidence stage, is because we will appoint the investigator available at that time. If appointed earlier, that earlier person may not be subsequently available. Furthermore, these times may be extended if the investigator is subsequently indisposed, e.g., sick or out of office. If that person is indisposed by more than a 7 working days delay, you can wait or ask for another investigator to be appointed but allow them a reasonable time to come up to speed with the investigation within 7 days unless complexities or other circumstances reasonably warrant more. 

Stage 3. Within 3 working days following the conclusion of stage 2, the investigator will review your complaint, and they will request a full report for the conveyancer that acted for you.

Stage 4•: Within 5 working days following the conclusion of stage 3, the acting conveyancer or person you have complained about, if different, will provide the necessary information to the investigator.

Stage 5. Within 7 working days following the conclusion of stage 4, the investigator will review the report provided by the conveyancer and provide an outcome response to you of their investigation. They will, if appropriate, possible suggestions for resolving the matter.

What to do after the conclusion of stage 5.  

Within 7 working days following conclusion of stage 5, receipt of those suggestions, you wish to comment or accept the outcome report, please write to the investigator. 

Note: Timescales. Occasionally, depending on the complexity of the matter, we may request an extension to the timescales quoted above. But we will notify you in writing if that is the case. 

What if I am still not satisfied with the outcome?

If you are dissatisfied with our handling of the complaint and would like us to review how we have dealt with it, In that case, we offer you the right to request that a Partner (or a different Partner, in the event the original complaint was investigated by a Partner) be asked to review the response to your complaint. 

A Partner (or a different Partner) will be appointed to conduct a review within 5 working days of your request. The appointed Partner will then have 15 working days to investigate and provide a complete response to you, including an explanation of the reasons behind their decision.

Occasionally, depending on the complexity of the matter, we may request an extension to the timescales quoted above. But we will notify you in writing if that is the case. 

If, following the review by a Partner, you are still not content with our response, you can refer the matter either to the Legal Ombudsman or the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, depending on the nature of your complaint (please see below). 

Who is the Legal Ombudsmen, and what do they do?

The Legal Ombudsman was established to help resolve disputes between consumers and legal service providers.

 

The Legal Ombudsman deals with complaints about poor service, some examples of which would be:

•      Delays;

•      Failure to advise you of significant issues;

•      Not responding to e-mails, letters or calls;

•      Giving unclear advice;

•      Charging an amount you are not happy with;

•      Not doing work within the timescale; it should have been done. 

 

Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. 

 

If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

•      No more than one year from the date of the act or omission being complained about or

•      No more than one year from the date when you should have realised that there was cause for complaint;

        And Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint.

 

The Legal Ombudsman can be contacted as follows: 

Visit www.legalombudsman.org.uk

Call 0300 555 0333 between 10 am to 4 pm.

Relay UK: 18001 0300 555 0333

Email enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk

Legal Ombudsman PO BOX 6167, Slough, SL1 0EH

 

Who is the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (“CLC), and what does it do?

The CLC regulate specialist conveyancing and probate lawyers to protect consumers. The CLC will NOT consider complaints about poor service. They will, however, consider complaints about a lawyer’s honesty or ethics, which may breach their code of conduct. Examples of this will include:

•      Losing your money;

•      Acting dishonestly in giving you advice;

•      Continuing to act for you when your interests conflict with those of your conveyancer or another client;

•      Discriminating against you.

 

A complaint can be made using this form: https://www.clc-uk.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/CLC-Complaint-Form-2021.pdf 

 

The CLC can be contacted as follows:

 

Tel: 020 3859 0904

Email: clc@clc-uk.org

Postal address:

Council for Licensed Conveyancers

WeWork

120 Moorgate

London EC2M 6UR

 

Do I have any other options?

Yes, you can also refer your complaint to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) body under the Alternative dispute resolution directive. You can ask them to mediate and try to resolve the complaint if our internal complaint procedure does not resolve it. 

Alternative complaints bodies include one of the following: Ombudsman Services, ProMediate, and ADR Group, which are competent to deal with complaints about legal services should both you and AVRillo wish to use such a scheme. 

For example, you can address your complaint about ADR mediation to ProMediate Legal Complaints Service. They are competent in dealing with complaints against legal services providers and can be used if you and AVRillo agree to that scheme. 

Their website is http://www.promediate.co.uk/professionals-complaints/consumer-guidance/

You write to us to confirm whether you agree to use ProMediate or not agree to use ProMediate. Their contact details are: 

0203 621 3908 OR 

0782 796 1764 OR

enquiries@promediate.co.uk

 

You can also contact other ADR groups and review their website for similar information