Q: I want to sell a rental property I own to long-term tenants who live in it. As these tenants have never owned a property, they have no idea about appointing solicitors or how to get a mortgage. I have passed on details of a mortgage broker but was unable to tell them whether we could all use the same solicitor. Please can you advise?
A: The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) which sets the standards for law firms and solicitors, states that one solicitor acting for both buyer and seller on a transfer of land for value is “indicative” of a potential conflict of interest.
It does however state that a law firm, provided it is satisfied there is no potential conflict of interest and there would be no other risk of non-compliance with the Principles or SRA Code, may act for both seller and buyer, if it is for their joint benefit. If the Buyer has a mortgage, then the Buyer’s mortgage provider would also need to consent to a single law firm acting on behalf of both seller and buyer in a particular transaction.
The Law firm must act with integrity, not allow its independence to be compromised and be able to provide a proper standard of service to each of the seller and buyer (and mortgage provider).
The advantage of all parties using the same law firm is that it may speed up the transaction as there is no need for correspondence and documents to be passed between two different firms. The seller, buyer (and any mortgage provider) must independently consent to a Law Firm acting on behalf of the parties. Consideration is on a case-by-case basis, so do discuss your specific situation with solicitors before assuming anything.
Where a law firm does agree to act on behalf of both parties in a conveyancing transaction, it is usual for a different solicitor, working in different offices within the practice, to act for each party.
This question has been answered by Wendy Marles, a Senior Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194