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).
- Pre Completion,
- Completion and
- Post completion
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. The time to completion could be anywhere up to three to five months. Say on average four months.
Individual circumstances may change the timescales involved but we will continuously update you as and when any such delays are encountered.
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.
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). COSTS INFORMATION:
These are set out in guidance format but please call us for a bespoke estimate.
To help avoid misunderstanding on costs, please take into consideration that this section is for website use, and is a general guidance only because individual circumstances may vary from property to property. Also, worth considering that no two consumers are the same when it comes to deciding whether they want additional work or not. Some may be more cautious than others. So, where one may take a view, the other may not and will want additional services. The final cost therefore may change depending on what happens during your case where individual circumstances may or may not increase the cost and which circumstance may only be discovered as the matter progresses and therefore might not be known at the outset.
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 protection box on your instruction form in which case you only pay £97 for your basic costs plus vat and disbursements where the other party pulls out on your transaction (through no fault of your own) and any additional services required. this will save you the whole basic costs you would otherwise pay with lawyers, without this protection
Conveyancers charge differently, but most adopt an estimate of basic cost for their own charges for a straightforward transaction (identified in your case plan) and an hourly rate for additional work, if any is needed (outside the case plan), plus disbursements and VAT at 20%.
Discounted fixed price menu for additional services/ hourly rate. Our difference is that rather than reverting immediately to an expensive hourly rate, we have included a menu of potential additional work (where needed). There we have identified a list of optional services, where we have discounted our additional services costs as per the menu.
Hourly rate: It is only if additional work is not within the discounted menu, that we rever to charging an hourly rate. If you need additional work outside your case plan, we will notify you in advance you have freedom of choice if you want us to carry out that additional work or not.
Please read below to see the differences between basic costs (as per the estimate); discounted costs for any work within the additional services menu, an hourly rate for any additional service, not including in the discounted additional services list.
Disbursements. We take this opportunity to explain what ‘disbursements’ mean. These are essentially charges payable to third-parties that are needed in your transaction for you to move. Examples include: Land Registry Office Copy Deeds, Stamp Duty Tax payment as well as searches and other land registry charges, such as registration fee, etc when you are buying a house. On a leasehold transaction, third-party payments will include your management company charges for supplying their leasehold pack if you are selling, and management notices they need you to file if you are buying. All of these are outside our control. Where the actual cost of a disbursement is known, a range of the likely cost of that disbursement will be shown in the estimate. If not, we will notify you if, and when, these are needed in your case. As to referral arrangements with third parties, if any. This will not affect your costs or disbursements you pay because, if paid, these will be an overhead expense paid by us, i.e., out of our own pocket. An analogy of basic and additional costs would be like ordering from the fixed menu of the day and then ordering additional drinks or food, charged as an additional item.
Case plan for a SALE 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 forms, under the Conveyancing Association protocol) including: preparing your property information form, preparing your fixtures 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 a fixed discounted fee set out in the menu. If leasehold, this will also attract a fixed additional supplement, discounted in the menu.
Case plan for a PURCHASE 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 Conveyancing Association 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, this will also attract a fixed additional supplement, discounted in the menu.
What should you budget? If you don’t use additional services, then your budget for our basic costs are fixed as per the estimate we email you. If additional work is needed, we will let you know in advance, and its cost and you can decide whether you want to proceed with that additional service. As example, if you have a lender or if you have a leasehold or if you want the no move no fee protection, or you want to fast track, then you may want to budget for an additional £500 costs plus vat but this will depend firstly on whether you need any additional services at all, depending on complexities, if any, and if so how many.
Price Menu for optional additional services and time spent on these, but only if any are needed. Otherwise no cost.
Note. Optional services and costs will not charged if you do not need them
a.1): Menu. Optional services, if you need them, relating to SALES only plus vat (Note. Not charged if not used):
No charge is made for the first set and second set of additional enquiries, unless there is defective title or missing documentation which requires us to be involved in dealing with issues either the seller or their previous lawyers have sorted out, in which case we reserve the right to charge a one-off discounted goodwill cost £149 or less, which is much cheaper than charging you an hourly rate).
a.2): Menu. Optional services, if you need them, relating to PURCHASE only plus vat (Note. Not charged if not used):
Stamp Duty Land Tax Form completed and submitted (£87 to £187 depending on value and complexity); Donor gift work (needed by your lender, if any (£147); Searches: Option 1 – ‘Fuller’ personal five searches pack option at around £437.70 (if available to you). It will include five searches (Local Authority; Water/Drainage; Flood; Contamination as well as a Chancel search) plus a second set of searches (if your first purchase falls through) plus a block indemnity insurance policy as well as our admin costs for facilitating all of these, all including in the discounted full pack or option 2, basic official Local and Water searches only (circa £250) but limited protection.
b): Menu Optional services, if you need them, relating to both SALE and PURCHASE plus vat (Note. Not charged if not used):
Only applicable if you need additional work or services:- No Move No Fee Protection (£97) covers all your basic solicitor costs if the other party pulls out through no fault of your own; Priority/ Fast Track to exchange of contracts (£97); Lender costs depending on whether we are on their panel and they will allow us to act (different lawyers are on different panels) and depending whether you are selling (£297) or buying (£397); Expedited completion (£150); Declaration (£87) for unusual circumstances; Arranging an indemnity insurance policy (£49) if there is defect which prevents sale or purchase (limited to £49 per policy); leasehold supplement for lease paperwork/ bundles, £149 (not including new build; off plan; grant of new lease; lease extension, retentions, for which you need a price on application); drafting and serving the notice is free for a Notice of Assignment, and no charge will be made. Only additional notices, if required will be charged, and these could range for example from a Notice of a Deed of Covenant (if applicable); Certificate of Compliance (if applicable); Share Certificate (if applicable) and charged at £67 for per notice. On a sale, the Landlord may or may not charge a disbursement to you, but again we will not know until we are notified by the seller’s Landlord and/or management company, after the case is started; Telegraphic bank transfer admin time for making TT or BACS (£39) and £25.97 online money laundering admin time for online check to avoid client coming into the office.
c): Hourly rate. OPTIONAL as it only applies if a). You require additional work (such a trust deed or a lease extension or new build), and b). That additional work is not listed in the fixed discounted options above. In which case such additional work is charged hourly rate of the conveyancer who looks after you as follows: – £125 (under 1 years’ conveyancing experience); £155 (1- 4 years’ experience); £175 (5-10 years); £195 (11-15 years’); £225 (Partner or Conveyancer with over 17 years’ experience). Please be assured, this will only be charged if additional services not covered by our fixed menu of costs and we will let you know in advance so you choose to use them or not.
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.
AVRillo’s internal complaint procedure
If you have a complaint, please contact Mr. AV Piccirillo at Gor-ray House, 758 Great Cambridge Road, Enfield, Middx, EN1 3PN, our client care partner. If we have to change any of the timescales set out below, we will let you know and explain why.
Next Steps – What will happen next?
- We will send you a letter acknowledging your initial complaint.We will send out this letter within four working days of receiving your initial complaint.
In that letter:-
- We will ask you to explain the full details of your complaint so that we can fully investigate your complaint.
- We will also let you know the name of the person who will be dealing with your complaint.
- We will record your initial complaint on our central register and keep a record on our separate report database for your complaint.This record will be made within four working days of receiving your initial complaint
- Within four working days of receipt of your full written complaint letter we send out a message to acknowledge receipt of your written complaint.We will then take steps 4 and 5 below.
- Within four working days of receipt of your full written complaint we will commence taking steps to investigate your written complaint. This will normally involve the following:
- Within four working days of receiving your full written complaint, this will be passed to [Mr. AV Piccirillo-for conveyancing or Mr. AA Piccirillo for Litigation]
- Mr. A. V. Piccirillo will ask the conveyancer who acted for you, to prepare a full report for him to consider. He will ask your conveyancer to prepare that report within five working days of the partner being passed over your complaint
- Upon receipt of this report (by close business on the 5th working day) Mr. AV Piccirillo then start his process of examining this, which can take between 3 to 5 working days. During this team, he will also ask to make arrangements to speak to your conveyancer as part of his examination.
- After expiry of the 3-5 working days in step 4 above (this being an overall total of 20 working days (counted steps 3. 4 and 5) Mr. AV Piccirillo will commence preparation of his reply in respect of his findings. Depending on the complexity of the response (and whether it is written or verbal) the response can take between 2 to 4 working days to be sent out to you. This takes you to upto 24 working days from receipt of your full written complaint.
Note. As explained, this period is needed for him to have an opportunity to fully investigate your complaint and prepare his findings and response.
- When Mr. Piccirillo writes or calls you (as in step 5) he will confirm the outcome of his investigation and put forward suggestions for resolving the matter, if available.
- If at receipt of those suggestions you wish to speak to Mr. Piccirillo by telephone or by a formal telephone meeting or a meeting then within two working days of you making known to him that you wish that meeting to take place he will write to you invite formal arrangements for mutually convenient time and date [agreeable by both parties] for a meeting either by telephone or in person to take place at our offices.
- Appeal. After the mutually agreed meeting in step 7 has been arranged and taken place, if you are still not satisfied you can write to us again stating your full written reasons for your appeal, referring to our findings.
- Within 4 working days of receipt of your appeal, we will appoint another partner to review your decision.
- That partner then has 10 working days to review your appeal against Mr. AV Piccirillo’s.
- They then have 5 working days to send out to you their findings on your appeal. They will explain their reasons for their findings. They will also give you the name and the address of the Legal Ombudsman. If you are still not satisfied, you can contact them about your complaint.
- If we have to change any of the timescales above, we will let you know and explain why.
- For your ease, details for Legal Ombudsman are:
Telephone: 0208 3859 0904
- For your information, The Legal Ombudsman is unable to investigate a complaint if you haven’t already complained to your service provider.
Miscellaneous Information for complaints information.
Who to contact, the Council of Licenced Conveyancers or 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
The Legal Ombudsman: https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/
Reporting your complaint to the Council for Licenced Conveyancers: https://www.clc-uk.org/consumers/reporting-problems/. The actual complaint form to CLC can be found at: https://www.clc-uk.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Complaints-Form-Fillable-Sep-2018.pdf. by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to: CLC WeWork 131 Finsbury Pavement London EC2A 1NT
If you have any questions concerning this guidance document please do not hesitate to contact us.