Attwells Solicitors are leading property law experts specialising in property law.
We excel in supporting property professionals by offering legal services designed to greatly improve your pipeline and overall business.
Our services include:
- Acquisitions and Company Law
- HR and Employment Law
- Anti-Money Laundering
- Consultation and Letter of Advice
Attwells deal with matters around incorporation, setting up new businesses or joint ventures with other property people and the form of agreement they should be using.
Some of our larger clients are embarking upon an acquisition strategy and Attwells are therefore a key partner in undertaking the legal due diligence of the Target and drafting and negotiating the purchase agreement.
Recent work we have undertaken for property professionals has included:
- Shareholders Agreement and associated private client advice for a large firm of local accountants.
- Acquisition of a letting business.
- Shareholders documentation and Executive Service Agreements for a new property joint venture.
- Share Acquisition of an Agency.
On acquisitions advice is often needed around whether to undertake a share or asset sale, due diligence on any leasehold premises, securing the lettings book, review of T&Cs of the Target, TUPE and employee issues and suitable warranty and indemnity protection.
We also do the following other company work for our property professionals:
- Company incorporation.
- Companies House compliance.
- Company Books and Board minutes.
Employment disputes can be costly, distracting and time consuming. They can interfere with and damage your business and in the event that they do arise, you must deal with them quickly and in the most efficient manner available.
From day one, an employee has in excess of 80 legal rights and the ever-changing nature of employment law makes it more and more difficult for employers to stay on the right side of the law. Our Employment and HR Team can provide you with all the advice that you need to stay compliant and to be able to focus on your core business of making deals and growing your business.
We can advise you on the whole employment cycle from advertising for positions, job descriptions, interviewing, terms and conditions and employment contracts, through to promotion, sickness, holiday, disability, maternity, performance management and finally grievance, disciplinary, dismissal, appeal, enforcement of restrictive covenants and the defence of Employment Tribunal proceedings.
We have within our team an ACAS qualified mediator who can help to resolve disputes quickly and cost effectively.
The Government has launched a consultation on the draft Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds regulations 2017. These will replace the Money Laundering Regulations 2007.
The consultation is covering a wide range of measures aimed at preventing money laundering, but what will it mean for estate agents?
The current Money Laundering Regulations apply to estate agency work such as commercial and residential estate agency services, the new regulations will not change this.
The 2017 regulations have been used to clarify who estate agents need to carry out customer due diligence on.
What is included in carrying out customer due diligence?
- Obtaining the customer’s name
- Photograph on an official document which confirms their identity
- Residential address and date of birth
The best way to do this is to ask for a Government issued document like a passport, along with utility bills, bank statements and other official documents. Other sources of customer information include the electoral register and information held by credit reference agencies such as Experian and Equifax.
Who does Customer Due Diligence need to be Carried out on?
As estate agents tend to act only for one party, it is normal for the agent to only carry out checks on one of the parties in the transaction normally the seller. The Government has received comments that this is a weakness in the current regulations.
Therefore the new regulations clarify that estate agents will have to carry out customer due diligence on buyers, not just the seller for whom they are acting. This is following comments that estate agents are well-positioned to act as ‘’gatekeepers’’ for both parties and they encounter the buyer at an early stage in the transaction.
Attwells lawyers attend training provided by the National Federation of Property Professionals and approved by both the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) so you can rest assured the advice you receive is specific, up to date and entirely in sync with the industry in which you operate.
Our estate agent clients value our expert commercial advice delivered with a can do attitude. We can help you to avoid problems and, in the event that they should arise, resolve problems quickly and in particular we can help you with:
- Data Protection - policies, subject access requests and understanding disclosure obligations.
- Understanding your obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations.
- The preparation of robust terms and conditions that will give you the commercial advantage.
- Understanding your obligations in relation to compliance with the Estate Agents Act 1979.
- Viewings and advertising a property to the public – what you can and cannot say or disclose.
- How to deal with a property that may have been mis-described.
- Commission disputes – both with vendors and competing agents.
- Advice on the regulations concerning for sale and to let boards and their size, placement and number.
- Commercial and regulatory advice in relation to setting up and operating an estate agency.
- Compliance with the Bribery Act.
- Complaints handling and advertising standards.
- Consumer rights.
Our offer is to provide you with a unique one-stop shop for any legal issues that you might encounter in the conduct of your business, providing you with the support that you need to operate confidently and to grow your business.
Attwells Solicitors are property law expert supporting property professionals with legal issues ranging from planning to HR. Our Estate Agent law services also include ALM, disputes, commercial law and consumer rights.
We are aware the high street estate agent maybe feeling the pinch with the birth of online conveyancing platforms and the Government’s recent crack downs, however Attwells also understand the importance of following processors correctly to protect business. In light of these factors Attwells Solicitors have created a retainer package for estate agents. Every item listed below are designed to minimise your risk and give you the best possible chance of growing your business.
- Direct access to a Partner by email and telephone covering advice on Employment Law/HR, GDPR and IR35.
- A sector specific knowledge around estate agency law, TPO complaints, referral fees, AML, recovery of sales commission and pursuit former employees for breaches of restrictive covenants (such as non-compete and non-solicitation).
- Provision of a full HR package.
- Full legal indemnity cover on Employment Tribunal Claims, from as early as the ACAS early conciliation notification all the way through to the final hearing, covering legal costs, representation at Tribunal, Tribunal awards and settlements. Competitors only cover from the stage that an employer receives a claim, meaning that the opportunity to settle a matter or deter a claimant from making a claim in the first place is missed. Insurance is limited to £50k for any one claim / £500k aggregate per annum. This can be increased to £100k/£1m aggregate per annum for further cost.
- Provision of all bespoke employment documentation e.g. contracts of employment, self-employed contracts, staff handbooks, appraisal forms, holiday requests forms, induction checklists, interview assessments forms, job adverts etc.
- All supporting advice, documentation and correspondence covering grievance and disciplinary hearings on behalf of the Company.
- Attendance at board meetings.
- Document drafting e.g. settlement agreements, letters of dismissal, warning letters etc.
- Quarterly management training on topics such as dealing with underperforming employees, AML, referral fees, sickness absence etc.
The main benefits over and above what Peninsula currently offer for Estate Agents
- Breadth of expertise – Peninsula’s packages are limited to employment/HR in the most part and do not cover any of the additional legal areas provided for under the retainer GDPR, IR35, AML, estate agency law, TPO complaints etc..
- Personal service is at the core of what we do – I will personally deal with all matters each and every time guaranteeing continuity of advice and service.
- You will receive advice from legal experts, including Partners of the firm.
- The legal insurance we provide covers you from ACAS early conciliation, not from receipt of Employment Tribunal claim, which represents 4-8 weeks earlier coverage and allows me to get involved and hopefully resolve the dispute before an Employment Tribunal claim commences, drastically reducing the time and costs incurred in dealing with the same. The chances of an employee withdrawing a claim once commenced are much slimmer.
- You will be provided with bespoke, tailored contracts, not ‘one size fits all’ precedents.
- Our retainer’s standard term is 12 months, with a 6-month notice period, not a rolling 5-year term as offered by Peninsula meaning you are not locked in for a significant period of time.
- Industry expertise and advice on sector-specific areas such as TPO complaints, referral fees etc. – given Attwellscurrent position as a long-term partner of Chancellors, our knowledge in the property sector.
- Aggressive approach – my approach to matters is, as you will see, aggressive and I will proactively place pressure on our opponents and deal with each matter forthrightly, aimed at achieving the possible result and serving to put the message out to current employees that Chancellors are not to be messed around.
- The indemnity aspect of the retainer is based industry, payroll figure (p/a), number of employees and any claims in previous years.
- Can offer package with or without indemnity.
If you would like to discuss our estate agent retainer package more please call Lloyd Clarke on 01206 239761 or your local office. A senior member of our property professionals’ team will be more than happy to meet with you to discuss your options. Bespoke packages are available on request.
Price: £300.00 plus VAT
What is included in the price:
- Initial telephone conversation
- Brief review of documentation in advance of meeting (subject to reasonable number)
- Meeting at your local office with a lawyer who has specialist knowledge of the property sector
- Summary of advice at conclusion of meeting setting out the legal position
- Letter of advice
What is excluded from the price:
- Subsequent letter of advice
- Meeting at your business premises (can be arranged at additional cost)
- Legal advice outside of the service requested
None are anticipated
How long will it take?
The meeting itself will last around 1 hour and, subject to your availability, we would aim to hold the meeting with you, within 48 hours of your initial call or earlier if required. Same day appointments can be made.
What can we cover in the meeting?
We can provide advice to you on all areas, including but not limited to:
- All aspects of employment law / HR
- Estate Agency law e.g. Estate Agents Act 1979, property misdescriptions, consumer rights
- Terms of business
- Contractual and commission disputes
- In house Complaints handling
- Referrals to the TPO or other redress scheme
- Anti-Money Laundering Regulations
- Breach of restrictive covenants by ex-employees e.g. non-compete, non-solicitation
- Landlord & Tenant issues
- Block and estate management
- Possession proceedings
- Acquisitions and company law
- Training on money laundering and SDLT, possession claims, speeding up your conveyancing pipeline and making the agent/solicitor relationship more effective
- GDPR and data protection
- Debt recovery
- Business disputes
- Shareholder / Director disputes
- Shareholder agreements
- Self-employed contracts including IR35
When will I pay?
Attwells Solicitors will ask you for money on account in advance of the meeting so that work can get underway on your matter. In the event that the meeting is cancelled more than 24 hours in advance, a refund of money on account can be made to you.
How to instruct Attwells Solicitors?
Instructing us is simple. You can either click on the instruct button below to register your interest or you can call your local office. We have offices in Ipswich, Colchester and London. When instructing us please inform us of the office you would like to use.