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Transfer of Ownership

Transfer of ownership allows you to transfer part or all of your property to another person. This can be vital for a number of reasons, but most commonly it’s due to a relationship breakdown.

In addition, you may be seeking ownership of a freehold, as part of a collective tenant’s group. This could be because you are unhappy with how your apartment block is being managed. 

The two main options for transferring ownership of a property are:

To help assist you we have outlined the reasons you may require these services and how much we charge, where possible we always offer fixed fees. 

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Transfer of Equity 

Are you currently asking the question, how can I remove this person from my title deeds or how can I add this person to my title deeds?

If so, then a Transfer of Equity may be what you are looking for. 

A Transfer of Equity is the process by which a party is either added or removed from the property title deeds, leaving at least one of the original owners in place. 

If no original owner is remaining on the title deeds, then this would be a sale or a purchase rather than a Transfer of Equity, even if no money changes hands.

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Our Private Client Department are often called upon to add people to the title on marriage, moving in together or for tax planning reasons. We are also often asked to remove names from title documents where there is a relationship breakdown or a death of the owner. 

Even though there may be agreement as to what needs to happen to the property, it is often difficult to know how to put this into practice. 

This is where Attwells are able to assist. A Transfer of Equity is often much simpler than a sale or purchase and often does not require any searches or enquiries.

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Transfer of Equities in Colchester, Ipswich & London

Q) What is the process to change the name on a property deed?

1) Title documents are downloaded from the Land Registry.  

What are we looking for?

  1. Is there a mortgage?
  2. Who are the current registered owners?
  3. If more than one person, how do they own the property?
  4. Re there any other restrictions that would prevent the names to be changed?

2) Draft the deed (transfer deed) to add or remove the relevant people.

All parties to the deed need to sign it.

If anyone is not represented by a solicitor or conveyancer they will need to complete a form to verify their identity.

3) If you own a leasehold property, we most likely will need to contact the freeholder to see what their requirements are for the change of ownership and, if there is to be a change of mortgage lender, to check that insurance is in place and any ground rent and service charges payable are paid up to date.

4) If there is a mortgage on the title, we will either need the lender to consent to the transfer or you will need to get a new mortgage offer in the names of the new owners and we will need this in order to complete the change of names.

If there is no mortgage on the title, we can date the deed (this will be the date that the ownership of the property changes) and get this registered for you with Land Registry.

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Q) Transferring my Property Deeds When I have a Mortgage

This all depends on what you want to do about the mortgage.

  • Do you want to repay it in full and have no further mortgage obligations?
  • Do you want to keep the existing mortgage and just have someone removed from the mortgage or added to it?
  • Do you want to take out a new mortgage in the new owners names?

No ongoing mortgage

If you just want to repay the existing mortgage, we will need to have the details of you existing mortgage account with your lender so we can arrange for the mortgage to be paid off as part of the transfer.

Keep your existing mortgage

If someone is being removed from the title, the lender will need to satisfy themselves that those remaining on the title documents can afford the mortgage repayments.

If someone is being added to the title, they will need to assume an equal responsibility to the mortgage as those already on the title (those that already own the property).  The lender is likely to want to ascertain whether the incoming person can equally afford the mortgage repayments – just like if they were obtaining a new mortgage.

In both instances, the lender would need to provide their consent in writing to the addition or removal of someone from the ownership of the property. The consent can be either the lender’s signature on the transfer deed, or a letter confirming their consent.  This will depend on the specific lender.

Getting a new mortgage

If the current mortgage is being paid off and you are taking a new mortgage, this is known as a re-mortgage.

This is essentially a second element to the transaction.

We will need to report to the new owners on the new mortgage that is being taken out and you will all need to sign new mortgage documents.  These will need to be returned before the new mortgage funds can be ordered and the change in name can take place.

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Q) Will I have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on transferring my property deeds?

Much the same as when a property is purchased from the previous owner, when you transfer your property deed, SDLT needs to be considered. 

We need to look at what the “consideration” for the transfer is.  The consideration is anything of monetary value that is provided to the owner of the property to effect that transfer.  For example, this may be cash, the repayment of the mortgage, credit cards etc.

SDLT is calculated on the total consideration for the transfer.

We then have to work out if the standard SDLT rates apply or if the 3% surcharge may apply.  This will depend on whether the person or people staying on the title to the property own any other property.

If the consideration for the transfer is over £40,000 but no SDLT is payable, HMRC still need to be notified of the transaction.  This is something Attwells would take care of for you.

To give you an idea of how this works, we have set out an example below;

Ms A and Mr B have lived together for 15 years although they are not married or in a civil partnership. They are separating and wish to deal with the division of their home. The property has been valued at £300,000 and they have an outstanding mortgage of £50,000 over the property.

Ms A has decided to stay in the property and buy Mr B out of the property.

The equity in the property (the value less the outstanding debt) is £250,000 therefore Ms A will pay Mr B half of this being £125,000.

Ms A will be getting the consent of the existing lender to remove Mr B from his obligations under the mortgage and therefore she will take over Mr B’s half of the outstanding Mortgage being £25,000.

The consideration Ms A is paying is therefore the cash that is changing hands (£125,000) plus half of the existing mortgage debt (£25,000) totalling £150,000

The transfer of title is completed on the 30th June 2019 and based on the rates for SDT that applied on that date, Ms A will be liable for SDLT of £500.  This assumes that she does not own any other property and is not subject to higher rates of SDLT. 

Q) How much will it cost me to change the names on my property deeds?

Our legal fee depends on whether you have an existing mortgage or not and if the property is leasehold or freehold. 

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The costs are as follows:

Our Legal Fees

No mortgage or repaying existing mortgage

£450 + VAT

Lender’s consent required to change of name

£550 + VAT

New mortgage being obtained

£650 + VAT

Leasehold properties (additional fee)*

£250 + VAT

There are some additional fees as follows:

Complete and file the SDLT return

£75 + VAT

If consideration under £40,000 this is not needed - see our article: Will I have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on transferring my property deeds? To see if this will apply to you

Electronic Funds Transfer Deed

£40 + VAT for each transfer needed

Electronic ID check fee 

£10 + VAT for each person

In addition to legal fees, there will be some third party costs as follows:

SDLT

dependent on consideration

Please see: Will I have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on transferring my property deeds? To see how this may apply to you

Land registry Fee

This is also dependent on the consideration and/or the value of the property.

Title documents

£10 – but dependent on the specific property

*To deal with the requirements of the landlord for the change of name and (where applicable) the change of mortgage.  The landlord may in addition have fees that they charge for their time in dealing with the request.

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What is included in the price?

  • Drawing a Transfer Deed to transfer the ownership of the property
  • Obtaining relevant signatories
  • Registration of the transfer with Land Registry
  • Dealing with your lender’s consent to the transfer (where applicable)
  • Dealing with your re-mortgage (where applicable)
  • Dealing with your landlord’s requirements for the transfer  (where applicable)

What is not included?

  • Tax advice
  • Anything not listed as included above

Collective Enfranchisement

Leaseholders acting together may be able to require the Freeholder to sell the Freehold of the Property to the Leaseholders under the Leasehold Reform Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.

Purchasing the Freehold offers a number of advantages:

  • The Leaseholders can extend the length of their leases to increase the value of their property.
  • New leases can resolve any discrepancies within the old leases e.g. poor drafting, non compliance with the requirements of the Council of Mortgage Lenders.
  • It gives the Leaseholders control of the management of the Building and who the Managing Agent is.

Do the Leaseholders & Building qualify for enfranchisement?

  • There must be at least two flats in the Building containing qualifying tenants i.e. a Leaseholder who was originally granted a lease of over 21 years.
  • At lease two thirds of the total number of flats in the Building must be owned by qualifying tenants.
  • At least 50% of the qualifying tenants must want to proceed with enfranchisement.
  • The Freeholder must not be a resident landlord i.e. a block of four or fewer flats where the Freeholder or an adult member of his family lives there.
  • Is the Building or part of the Building self-contained i.e. structurally detached from other buildings or parts of buildings?
  • No more than 25% of the Building can be used for non-residential purposes e.g. commercial leases.

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Enfranchisement key steps:

  • Initial Review & Valuation - A valuation should be carried out at the outset to get an idea of the price of the Freehold.
  • Participation Agreement - An agreement should be entered into between the Leaseholders so that they know what their rights and responsibilities are during the enfranchisement process.
  • Create a Nominee Purchaser - A Company should be incorporated to act as the entity purchasing the Freehold. A Company enables ownership to remain constant whilst membership of the Company changes with the ownership of the flats.
  • Serve the Initial Notice - The notice sets out the proposed terms of purchase and a date at lease two months away by which the Freeholder must respond by, the “Response Date”.
  • Freeholder serves counter notice - The Freeholder has to serve their notice before the Response Date. This will either accept the right of the Leaseholders to claim enfranchisement, accepts the right and disputes the terms of sale, or disputes the right.
  • Negotiation - The parties then have period of at least two months to negotiate any outstanding issues.
  • Application to Tribunal - If there are outstanding issues which cannot be resolved the parties can apply to the Tribunal within six months of the Counter Notice.

What is the price of purchasing the Freehold?

The price of the Freehold will depending upon several factors: location of the Property, length of the leases, redevelopment value etc. A qualified surveyor will be able to carry out an in depth survey and provide a realistic figure.

What is the cost of purchasing the Freehold?

In addition to the premium the Leaseholders are responsible to pay the Freeholder’s costs for the Enfranchisement process. This includes the cost of:

  • checking whether the participating Leaseholders have the right to acquire the freehold;
  • the conveyance of the freehold; and
  • the cost of a surveyor for advice on the value of the freehold.

The Freeholder cannot recover any costs from Leaseholders in connection with a Tribunal application.

These costs become liable once the Initial Notice is served.

How Attwells can help?

Attwells’ specialist legal team has experience with the enfranchisement process and making successful enfranchisement claims.  We can help you with:

  • Gathering and considering whether an enfranchisement claim is suitable.
  • Setting up the Company.
  • Serving the Initial Notice.
  • Responding to the Freeholder’s counter notice.
  • The conveyance of the Freehold.
  • Amending or extending leases after enfranchisement.

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Fixed Fee Collective Enfranchisement Service Pricing

Checking your entitlement as lessees to join together, form a company and compel your freeholder to sell the freehold of your block to you.

Price:

1. Assessing Entitlement

We will undertake an initial review and establish your eligibility to purchase the freehold on a compulsory basis. Our fee for this initial advice stage is £250 + vat.

2. Set up fee

These projects entail a significant amount of administration because of the number clients involved. To address the associated cost we charge a fixed initial set up fee of £75 + vat per flat.

3. Negotiations

It’s worth producing a participation agreement which each flat owner will sign, this will set out the rights and obligations of each party and should ensure that you both understand what is required of you. My fee for the agreement is £360 + vat. You may decide that – if your flats are of materially different sizes and different values - that the costs of the process ought to be divided between you in ratios which reflect this. The participation agreement would record each person’s liability and commitment to the project, amongst other things.

4. Company Formation

Once all lessees are signed up and on board we would  form a company owned by the  participating lessees – this would be the nominee vehicle which would purchase and hold the freehold. Our fee for the formation of the company  is £950 + vat.

5. Notice of Claim

Once the company is formed the notice of claim can be served. My fee for the preparation and service of the notice is £465 + vat.

Once served the claim notice should be registered against the freehold title to protect the claim. My fee for this is £180 + vat plus a land registry fee of £40.

6. Counter Notice

The freeholder will then serve a counter notice setting out its proposed terms for the purchase. My fee for receipting the notice and advising on the same is £195 + vat.

7. Monitoring Dates and Supplying Information during negotiation stage

There would then be a period of negotiation between surveyors which would hopefully result in an agreement. My fees for this stage (monitoring dates and responding to requests for information) are usually £300 + vat.

8. Tribunal Application

If an application to the tribunal is required for a determination of the premium we would have to review fees for that stage of the process at the time. For indicative purposes however I can say that the costs would be between £1000 + vat and £3000 + vat. Most cases do not involve a tribunal hearing so these costs are usually avoided.

9. Completion

Finally once terms have been agreed or determined by the tribunal I will act for you in the transfer of the freehold to your company and the registration of that transfer at the land registry. My fees for that are £1200 + vat plus a land registry fee of £40.

What is included in the price:

  • Initial telephone conversation
  • Regular updates
  • Answering any questions as they arise

What is excluded from the price:

  • Meeting at your local office with a lawyer (can be arranged at additional cost)
  • Our fees for tribunal applications cover only the making of those applications and preparing the documents for them, representation at the hearing is not included and options will be discussed as and when the need arises
  • Your valuation costs which are payable to your professional valuer are not included
  • Your freeholder’s professional costs are not included within this quotation
  • Legal advice outside of the service requested

Disbursements:

Land Registry fees as stated above.

How long will it take?

From service of the notice to completion of the purchase on average takes about 6- 9  months.

When will I pay?

Attwells Solicitors will ask you for money on account in advance of the reviewing your documents and drafting the advice letter so that work can get underway on your matter immediately.

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