1. TREATING CLIENTS FAIRLY POLICY

At Carr Richards Solicitors we are fully committed to providing the highest standards of advice and service to our clients by working in partnership with them.
Our clients are our most valuable asset and our aim is to ensure that we deliver a client-friendly, robust, reliable and cost-effective legal service to them.
The fee-earners at Carr Richards Solicitors have a strong reputation in the legal market and we strive to build long-standing, trusted relationships with all of our clients. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and our Treating Clients Fairly Policy is designed to ensure that we consistently deliver fair outcomes to our clients; in line with the SRA’s Code of Conduct.

We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all our dealings with clients, third parties and employees.

Our services

In delivering our commitment to Treat Clients Fairly, Carr Richards Solicitors makes every effort to ensure that our clients are totally satisfied with the legal service they receive and we endeavour to:
• make any and all possible accommodations for clients with individual needs so as that they are not at any disadvantage
• ensure that clients are able to read any documents sent to them that require their understanding. We facilitate this by proactively providing large type documents for our clients with visual impairment
• communicate with our clients in a way that they will understand, by using ‘plain’ and not ‘legalese’ language
• update our clients regularly on the progress of their matter, especially with updates as to costs, ensuring they understand any potential outlays or fees that may arise
• provide our clients with a high quality legal service by offering highly experienced lawyers who are experts in their particular area of work
• work with our clients in an empathetic and personable way, particularly when the matter is emotionally delicate, such as when working on a probate with relatives of the recently deceased
• operate our Complaints Handling Procedure in an open and fair way, whereby clients are aware of their right to complain to either the firm or Legal Ombudsmen
• ensure that a client or prospective client is treated in a non-discriminatory way that respects diversity
• be flexible in our approach, explore options and be open to new ideas
• inspire and empower our clients for whom we act
• provide practical solutions explained in straightforward language and ‘jargon free’
• passionate about what we do and the clients that we serve
• work continually as to how we can enhance and improve our services
• ensure timely responses and communication at every level in the organisation
• understand the importance of the client’s matter to them
• respect clients’ wishes and beliefs.

Our approach

Our priority is to provide our clients with an excellent service underpinned by the quality of our advice. We are committed to ensuring that our clients want to use our services, stay with us and recommend us to their families, friends and colleagues.
Our service is shaped by listening to our clients’ needs and understanding what is important to them. We take responsibility for meeting the needs of our clients and always look for way to improve the quality of our service. We operate a rigorous file review system as part of our internal audit procedures as well as regularly conducting client surveys to ensure that we consistently enhance the service levels for the client.
We recognise that our employees are critical to delivering a positive client experience and ensuring our clients are treated fairly. All of our employees are fully trained in dealing with our clients and in treating them fairly.

2. CONCERNS AND COMPLAINTS

We seek to provide you with the highest standard of service, however, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we have provided, then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem.
In the first instance, it may be helpful to contact David Richards to discuss your concerns and he will do his best to resolve any issues at this stage. If, however, you would like to make a formal complaint, then you can read our full complaints procedure click here for link to policy which sets out the steps that you will need to take. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.

What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint

The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves through our own rigorous complaint process. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case.
Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have and we have not been able to reach a resolve, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman:

• Within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint
and
• No more than six years from the date of act/omission; or
• No more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was a cause for complaint
The contact details for the Legal Ombudsman are:
Visit: http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk
Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9am and 5pm
Email: enquiries@legalombudsman.org.uk
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help you if you are concerned about any aspect of our professional behaviours, which could include discriminating against you because of your age, disability or other characteristic or not accounting to you for monies provided to us for the conduct of your matter.

3. FEES

CONVEYANCING: FIXED FEE

When you make an enquiry for us to conduct work on your behalf we will provide you with a detailed estimate of costs and timeframes and as part of our Treating Clients Fairly Policy and update you if there are any changes. Below are some worked examples to demonstrate how our fees are calculated. You will appreciate that there are many variables and so it is important that you discuss the specifics of your matter with us and only take these worked examples as a guide.

EXAMPLES

PURCHASE OF A FREEHOLD RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IN THE PRICE BAND OF £200,000 to £500,000

[Prices on application relating to other price bands]

Our fees cover all of the work required to complete the purchase of your new home, including dealing with registration at the Land Registry and dealing with the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (Stamp Duty) if the property is in England, or Land Transaction Tax (Land Tax) if the property you wish to buy is in Wales.

Conveyancer’s fees and disbursements

• Legal fee £895 + VAT
• * For acting on behalf of the mortgage lender £150 + VAT
• Search fees £250 + VAT
• HM Land Registry fee £135 (no VAT payable)
• Electronic money transfer fee £35 + VAT
• VAT payable £266
• Subtotal inclusive of VAT £1731
* Not chargeable on cash purchases

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Land Registry fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Stamp Duty or Land Tax (on purchase)

This depends on the purchase price of your property and a number of other variables. For example:- ownership of other properties anywhere in the world; reliefs such as First Time Buyer Relief or Principal Main Residence Relief. You can calculate the amount you will need to pay by using HMRC’s website or if the property is located in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority’s website. There are different rates for Non-Residential Properties and Corporate Purchases.

For example:

Purchase of Principal Main Residence at £500,000 £15,000
First time buyer at £200,000 £0
Investment purchase at £350,000 £18,000

How long will my house purchase take?

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move in to your house will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 6-8 weeks.

It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in the chain. For example, if you are a buyer with a long chain purchasing a new build property with a mortgage, it could take 12-16 weeks. However, if you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this can take significantly longer, between 3 and 4 months. In such, a situation additional charges would apply.

Stages of the process

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, below we have suggested some key stages that you may wish to record:
• 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 documentation if required
• Make any necessary enquiries of seller’s solicitor
• Give you advice on all documents and information received
• Go through conditions of mortgage offer with you
• Send final contract to you for signature
• 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
• Deal with application for registration at Land Registry

PURCHASE OF A LEASEHOLD RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IN THE PRICE BAND OF £200,000 TO £500,000

[Prices on application for other price bands]

Our fees cover all the work required to complete the purchase of your new apartment, including dealing with registration at the Land Registry and dealing with the payment of Stamp Duty Land Tax (Stamp Duty) if the property is in England, or Land Transaction Tax (Land Tax) if the property is in Wales.

Conveyancer’s fees and disbursements

The same as for the purchase of a freehold property plus a supplemental fee of £195 + VAT for additional leasehold work.
Total inclusive of VAT £1,965

Anticipated Additional Disbursements for Leasehold Purchases

•Notice of Transfer fee – This fee if chargeable is set out in the lease. The fee is between £50 – £200 usually.
•Notice of Charge fee (if the property is to be mortgaged) – This fee is set out in the lease. Often the fee is between £50 – £200.
•Deed of Covenant fee – This fee is provided by the management company for the property and can be difficult to estimate. Often it is between £100 – £300.
•Certificate of Compliance fee – To be confirmed upon receipt of the lease, as can range between £100 – £300.

These fees vary from property to property and can on occasion be significantly more than the ranges given above. We can give you an accurate figure once we have sight of your specific documents especially the lease in question.
You should also be aware that ground rent and service charge are likely to apply throughout your ownership of the property. We will confirm the ground rent and the anticipated service charge as soon as this we receive this information.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

This depends on the purchase price of your property. You can calculate the amount you will need to pay by using HMRC’s website or if the property is located in Wales by using the Welsh Revenue Authority’s website. The earlier examples given hold true for leasehold property purchases within the band.

Stages of the process

The precise stages involved in the purchase of a residential leasehold property vary according to the circumstances. However, below we have suggested some key stages that you may wish to include:

• 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 documentation if required
• Make any necessary enquiries of seller’s solicitor
• Give you advice on all documents and information received
• Go through conditions of mortgage offer
• 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 and satisfy Landlord’s Notice requirements
• Deal with payment of Stamp Duty/Land Tax
• Deal with application for registration at Land Registry and satisfy any
compliance requirements on purchase

How long will my house purchase take?

How long it will take from your offer being accepted until you can move in to your house will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 6-8 weeks. It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in the chain. For example, if you are a buyer, purchasing a new build property with a long chain and a mortgage, it could take 12-16 weeks. However, if you are buying a leasehold property that requires an extension of the lease, this can take significantly longer, between 3 and 6 months. In such, a situation additional charges would apply.

Our fees for both freehold and leasehold purchase assume:

a) 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

b) in leasehold cases this is the assignment of an existing lease and is not the grant of a new lease or involves an extension of a lease whether by consent or under statute

c) the transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complication arise

d) all parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from third parties providing documentation

e) no indemnity policies are required. Additional fees may apply if indemnity policies are required.

SALE OF A FREEHOLD RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IN THE PRICE BAND OF £200,000 to £500,000

[Prices on application relating to other price bands]

Our fees cover all of the work required to complete the sale of your home, together with redeeming mortgages (if any) and work in association with this.

Conveyancer’s fees and disbursements

• Legal fee £895 + VAT
• * For acting on behalf of the mortgage lender in redemption £150 + VAT
• Provision of official documentation £75 + VAT
• Electronic money transfer fee £35 + VAT
• VAT payable £231
• Subtotal inclusive of VAT £1386
* Not chargeable on mortgage free properties

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as indemnity policies. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

How long will my house sale take?

How long it will take for you to sell your house will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 6-8 weeks.
It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in the chain. For example, if you are at the top of the chain, it could take 12-16 weeks. However, if you are selling a leasehold property that requires dealing with numerous pre-contract enquiries, this can take considerably longer than the average, possibly 12 weeks.

Stages of the process

The precise stages involved in the sale of a residential property vary according to the circumstances. However, below we have suggested some key stages:
• Take your instructions and give you initial advice
• Check finances are in place to enable sale and contact the lender’s
solicitors, if needed
• Prepare and advise on contract documents
• Obtain further planning documentation, building regulation approvals,
FENSA certificates, warranties and so forth
• Submit contract and support documentation to the seller’s solicitors
• Deal with purchaser’s solicitors pre-contract enquiries
• Send final contract to you for signature
• Agree completion date (date at which you sell the property)
• Exchange contracts and notify you that this has happened
• Arrange for all monies needed to be received from the purchaser’s
solicitors
• Complete sale and account to you

SALE OF A LEASEHOLD RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IN THE PRICE BAND OF £200,000 TO £500,000

[Prices on application for other price bands]

Our fees cover all the work required to complete the sale of your home, including the redemption of a mortgage and the apportionment of service charges and ground rent.

Conveyancer’s fees and disbursements

The same as for the sale of a freehold property plus a supplemental fee of £195 + VAT for additional leasehold work.
Total inclusive of VAT £1,620

Stages of the process

The stages involved in the sale of a residential leasehold property are basically the same as a freehold sale but vary according to the circumstances.

How long will my house sale take?

How long it will take from you accepting your offer until you can move out will depend on a number of factors. The average process takes between 6-8 weeks. It can be quicker or slower, depending on the parties in the chain. For example, if you are at the top of the chain, it could take 12-16 weeks. However, if you are selling a leasehold property that requires extensive replies to pre-contract enquiries involving managing agents and freeholders, this can take significantly longer, between 3 and 6 months. In such, a situation additional charges may apply.

Our fees for freehold and leasehold sales assumes that:

a) 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

b) if leasehold, the assignment of an existing lease and is not the grant of a new lease or involves an extension of a lease whether by consent or under statute

c) the transaction is concluded in a timely manner and no unforeseen complication arise

d) all parties to the transaction are co-operative and there is no unreasonable delay from third parties providing documentation

e) no indemnity policies are required. Additional fees may apply if indemnity policies are required.

Remortgage and Transfer of Equity Work

Estimates are provided on application but fall into the range of £495 to £795 plus VAT, appropriate land registry fees and possibly SDLT depending on circumstances.

PROBATE

We are required to publish prices for probate work in relation to uncontested cases, where all the assets are in the UK. This includes both testate and intestate and taxable and non-taxable estates. However, there are a range of variables which could affect the price quoted (e.g. there is a separate cost for preparing tax returns).

APPLYING FOR THE GRANT, COLLECTING AND DISTRIBUTING THE ASSETS (FIXED QUOTE)

Total costs estimated between £750-£1250 + VAT where this is a small estate with no inheritance tax to pay.

The exact costs depend on the individual circumstances of the matter. For example, if there is one beneficiary and no property, costs will be at the lower end of the range. If there are multiple beneficiaries, a property and multiple bank accounts, costs will be at the higher end.

We will handle the full process for you. This quote is for estates where:
• There is a valid will
• There is no more than one property
• There are no more than 2-5 bank or building society accounts
• There are no other intangible assets
• There are 3-4 beneficiaries
• There are no disputes between beneficiaries on division of assets. If disputes arise this is likely to lead to an increase in costs
• There is no inheritance tax payable and the executors do not need to submit a full account to HMRC
• There are no claims made against the estate
Disbursements (not included in the fee):
• Probate application fee of £155
• 10 office copies £5
• £7 Swearing of the oath (per executor)
• £50 Post in The London Gazette and Local Newspaper – Protects against unexpected claims from unknown creditors.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Potential additional costs

• If there is no will or the estate consists of any share holdings (stocks and bonds) there are likely to be additional costs that could range significantly depending on the complexity of the estate and how it is to be dealt with. We can give you a more accurate quote once we have more information.
• Dealing with the sale or transfer of any property in the estate is not included.

How long will this take?

On average, smaller estates that fall within this range of being dealt with within 3-6 months. Typically, obtaining the grant of probate takes 3 weeks. Collecting assets then follows, which can take between 6-12 weeks. Once this has been done, we can then distribute the assets. This normally takes 1-2 weeks.

LARGER ESTATES AND INVOLVING PAYMENT OF INHERITANCE TAX

These will be dealt with usually on an hourly basis. Our hourly rate is £300 + VAT. Estimates will be provided as soon as we have a clear idea of the nature and complexity of the task at hand following receipt of comprehensive instructions from our client.