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Purchase of a Leasehold Property

VAT, currently 20%, will be payable on all our fees and some disbursements, and we will clearly confirm which disbursements carry VAT in our quote generator and formal quotation or as we advise you to incur them.


There are certain categories of residential property work which we do not undertake (see below).The provision of this outline is for guidance purposes and our ability to act for you will be subject to our requirements as to terms and conditions, identification, source of funds and any related requirements being satisfied. We have 3 members of the team who may work on your matter and collectively they have over 70 years of experience in delivering high quality work. The team are:

Rupert Morton-Curtis – Solicitor (Head of Department)

Clare Dove – Solicitor

Verity Lees – Licensed Conveyancer

Should your matter/transaction not reach its conclusion, we reserve the right to charge for the work done. Our fees are designed to cover all work required to complete the purchase subject to the qualifications mentioned below, since all transactions are not standard.

Our fees* and disbursements:

  • Legal fees from £2,000.00 plus VAT (£2,400.00 inc VAT) (We do not operate a scale fee).
  • If you require a (one) mortgage to purchase from an institutional mortgage lender who also instructs us to act on its behalf where it is appropriate to do so: £0.00. (No extra charge)
  • Fee for bank transfer: £35.00 plus VAT (£42.00 inc VAT) for each transfer required. (One assumed)
  • Fee per anti-money laundering search per client involved: Est £5.00 plus VAT for each (£12.00 inc VAT) (two assumed).
  • VAT payable: £409.00 estimated assuming two buyers.

Estimated total: £2,045.00 plus VAT (£2,454.00 inc VAT) in this example

Anticipated other fees:

There may be circumstances where additional work is required of us which we could not have anticipated at the outset and, if those arise, we will advise of the position, any estimate and if further fees are payable.

Examples include:

  • Drafting/settling or approving licence to assign/deed of covenant. Fees can be in the range of £100.00 plus VAT (£120.00 inc VAT) per document.
  • Statutory declaration (to inform something about a property e.g. access that may be clarified). Fees can be from £100.00 plus VAT (£120.00 inc VAT)
  • Arranging and advising on indemnity insurance.Fees can be from £150.00 plus VAT (£180.00 inc VAT)
  • Liaising with the lender’s conveyancers where we are not acting for your lender and you. Fees may be up to £300.00 plus VAT (£360.00 inc VAT).
  • Where you buy with a Help to Buy ISA. Fees of £50.00 plus VAT (£60 inc VAT).

Fees do vary and can be higher or lower depending on the exact circumstances.

Disbursements (or related expenses)

These are additional costs related to your purchase that are payable to other parties and which we arrange the payment of as part of the purchase process.Certain related expenses will be set out in the Lease or title or specified by the third parties and over which we have no control, but would advise you of.We anticipate certain disbursements which are set out separately below but the list is not necessarily complete and other expenses may apply depending on a variety of factors.These will be notified to you from time to time as your matter proceeds.

  • HM Land Registry fees depend on the value of the property and the type of transaction and will be: from £20.00 to £500.00 (from the cheapest to the most expensive property) assuming the purchase of an existing whole registered title or from £45.00 to £1,105.00 where you are buying an unregistered title or part of a registered title.
  • Search fees: budget from about £750.00.
  • Estimated VAT on searches in a standard case: around £90.00.

Anticipated disbursements

  • Notice of your purchase to freeholder or other party as required – can be set out in the lease but otherwise may be what is “reasonable”.The fee can be between £10.00 to £100.00 and, in some cases more, plus VAT.
  • Notice of mortgage fee to freeholder or other required party, and again this can be specified or such as is “reasonable” – the fee can be between £10.00 to £100.00 and, in some cases more, plus VAT.
  • Deed of Covenant (promise) and/or Licence to Assign (permission to purchase) – these can be fees which can be validly requested by the freeholder, Management Company or other authorised party as the case may be and are clearly difficult to estimate. These fees will probably be in the range of £100.00 to £300.00 plus VAT (£120.00 to £360.00 inc VAT) where applicable for each document required.
  • Certificate of Compliance fee – this may also be required as specified by the lease or a title (for example if there is a provision in the title that registration of your purchase can only occur if a certificate is given that you have entered into the correct documentation in order to purchase, e.g. a Deed of Covenant or Licence to Assign etc. (see above) and there may be an additional fee in this respect. That fee may range between £100.00 to £150.00 plus VAT (£120.00 to £180.00 inc VAT), if applicable.
  • Specialist purchase searches – sometimes mining, verderer’s, underground and other additional searches are needed and the cost is search specific. These can range from £30.00 upwards and VAT may also be payable.

These fees do vary from property to property and on occasions can be of a lesser amount but on other occasions can be significantly more than the ranges given above. At this stage, it is not possible to give any accurate figures but it is important you are aware that these anticipated fees or disbursements can apply.

You should also be aware that Ground Rent and/or Service (maintenance) Charges are likely to apply throughout your ownership of the property and these figures will not be able to be confirmed until later in the transaction, but will be reported on as relevant as the matter progresses if we are ultimately acting for you.

There may be other categories of work leading to other anticipated disbursements.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (England) or Land Transaction Tax (Wales)

The relevant tax will depend not only on the purchase price (and in some cases the ground rent) of your property but whether it is in England or Wales.

You can look to calculate the amount by using the HMRC’s website if the property is in England, or if the property is in Wales, by using the Welsh Revenue Authority’s website .

The level of tax depends upon the relevant regime, but will differ and sometimes dramatically depending on whether you are a first time buyer entitled to a reduced amount of tax, a party who is able to claim a normal rate of tax or if this is an investment purchase by an individual who is not entitled to claim the normal rate of tax (for example this is an investment purchase or you already own a residential property and your purchase is not a purchase of a replacement main residence) or if the property is being purchased by a company, trust or other vehicle.

In more complex cases, a specific written report from a third party may be suggested if the property, for example, contains a number of residential dwellings or is of mixed use or a relief may be available to reduce or mitigate the amount of tax and/or where there may be a choice of tax treatment.Such reports can cost upwards from £2,000.00 plus VAT (£2,400.00 inc VAT) in more complicated cases.

Please note that we do not accept instructions where there is a Stamp Duty Land Tax or Transaction Land Tax saving scheme.

Stages of the process

These are the key stages of the process:

  • take your instructions and give you initial advice;
  • check finances are in place to fund purchase and contact lender’s solicitors if needed;
  • receive and advise on contract documents;
  • carry out searches;
  • obtain further planning documents if required;
  • make any necessary enquiries of seller’s solicitors;
  • give you advice on all documents and information received;
  • go through conditions of mortgage offer with you;
  • send final contract to you for signature;
  • draft Transfer;
  • advise you on joint ownership;
  • obtain pre-completion searches;
  • agree completion date (date from which you own the property);
  • exchange contracts and notify you that this has happened;
  • arrange for all monies needed to be received from lender and you;
  • complete purchase;
  • deal with payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax/Land Transaction Tax;
  • deal with application for registration at Land Registry.

How long will my house purchase take?

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move into your house will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 6-12 weeks. It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in the chain. However, if you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this can take significantly longer, between 3-6 months. In such a situation, additional charges would apply.

*Our fees assume that:

  • this is a standard transaction and that no unforeseen matters arise including for example (but not limited to) a defect in title which requires remedying prior to completion or the preparation of additional documents ancillary to the main transaction;
  • this is the assignment (transfer) of an existing lease and is not the grant of a new lease;
  • the transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complications arise;
  • all parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from the parties providing documentation;
  • no indemnity policies are required. Additional disbursements may apply if indemnity policies are required.

Work type we do not undertake

We are not able to act on purchases involving:

  • Help to Buy Mortgages.
  • Shared ownership transactions.
  • Right to Buy.
  • Statutory lease term extension and enfranchisement matters.
  • Back to back/sub-sale transactions.
  • Transactions to be structured as a Stamp Duty Land Tax or Transaction Land Tax Scheme.

Reviewed March 2024