How to Consult a Solicitor


Once you have found a property you definitely want, you should consult a solicitor. Do not sign anything straight away. Every year a number of businesses lease, and in some cases, buy, property which they are later unable to use. This is because the regulations do not allow them to carry out their particular business activity in the chosen property. It is up to you, usually through your solicitor, to check these conditions. Indeed, it is one of the solicitor’s main roles to ensure that the building can legally be used for the purposes you intend and that it meets town planning and other regulations.

The solicitor’s searches with the local authority should also reveal whether the property will be affected by future town planning proposals such as urban redevelopment or road building. The solicitor’s other main duties are to ‘investigate the title’ (to ensure that the person selling actually owns the property or lease) and to make arrangements for the preparation and exchange of contracts. In all these matters your solicitor should be seeking to protect your interests and to ensure that there are no ‘hidden’ snags or problems, for example, easements — drains underneath your property which could be accessed by others. For this reason many businessmen prefer to use solicitors who are willing to visit premises and look for these types of problem.

Solicitor

In addition to dealing with strictly legal matters, many solicitors perform a variety of other tasks. They may, for example, appoint a surveyor and interpret the report; they may also advise on finance and negotiations over price. You can, of course, bargain with the vendor directly and not even use the solicitors as a post-box, but you should at least keep them abreast of what is going on so there is no danger of ‘crossed wires’. It is for you to judge how much weight to attach to the solicitors’ non-legal advice, but if they strongly disagree with your proposed course of action it is probably worth making further enquiries and getting a second opinion.

When choosing a solicitor (if you do not already have one you use regularly) you should seek guidance from business contacts and friends whose judgement you trust. Make sure that their recommendation is based on first-hand experience rather than hearsay or casual gossip. Before making a commitment you should get estimates from two or three solicitors. The average cost of conveyancing for a 1,000 square foot unit is between £300 and £500, but charges are highly variable. Although it is important to shop around it is not always wise to use the solicitors with the lowest quote; if this is overrun, they will in effect be working for you for nothing and this may lower their motivation and diligence. You will need to weigh the strength of recommendations alongside cost in making your decision.

One final and important aspect of these legal transactions is that prospective tenants are usually expected to pay the landlord’s legal costs for administering your tenancy. It is worth including a clause in your lease or in negotiations prior to moving, that these costs be ‘fair and reasonable’. In most cases your landlord’s costs will be similar to your own, so in calculating the expense of a move to a rented accommodation you should double your own costs to take this into account.

This additional burden may be enough to tempt you into saving on one set of fees by doing your own conveyancing. In recent years this idea has attracted considerable interest in the domestic field. However, given the pressures on small business managers, relatively few will have the time to become suffici­ently expert to ‘do it yourself. When there is so much at stake and so many other things to worry about, you may well decide to leave it to the professionals.

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About the Author: Bruno Silva is an entrepreneur from Portugal with over 15 years of experience in Online Marketing. He is also a blogger and writes on variety of topics from online marketing to designs, cars to loans, etc.

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