Diary of a high street conveyancer: 25th March 2024

I often think about the ‘good old days’ of conveyancing but this week, I had cause to reflect on something which does illustrate that processes were so much easier in the old days.

I have just completed the purchase of a leasehold apartment. I have served the notice on the managing agents and as is so often the case nowadays, I also served a notice on the freeholders’ solicitor. The total cost of doing so to the client was £1,050.00 plus VAT. How have we arrived at a time whereby the fees for serving notices could potentially outweigh the costs that some firms make for the entire transaction (put your fees up!!!)

You all know what was needed – Certificate of Compliance; Deed of Covenant; etc… these are the costs that we do not know at the start of the transaction, and I always tell potential clients that there will be fees charged by a management company that will not be known until the Leasehold Information Pack is received. Without wishing to be controversial, I believe that there should be some standardisation of these fees , especially when we all know that in many transactions, a separate Deed of Covenant may not in fact be needed.

So the old days… well I remember learning what a guinea was because that was the standard charge for receipting a notice for many leasehold properties in the area where I was based . It was so straightforward – the notice was sent with a cheque (remember those!) for the fee. No Certificate of Compliance was needed; no Deed of Covenant was needed. We may have needed a share certificate and a stock transfer form but it was not as convoluted as it now is. Who does this benefit? Clearly not the client…

So who remembers how much a guinea was? Who else is that old?


This is written by a real high street conveyancer who wishes to remain anonymous. Read more in Today’s Conveyancer every week.

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