Understanding UK Property Law
Property law in the UK is quite complex. Indeed, there are a lot of things that are not actually governed by ‘UK property law’ as such but by English law, or Scots law. If you are considering buying a property, or taking out a leasehold or a freehold, then it is important that you seek professional legal advice before making such a large commitment. Property law governs ‘real property’ as opposed to personal property or intellectual property. Land can be considered property in some cases, but unregistered land is treated differently to registered land. Seek the advice from a reputable law firm so you know exactly where you stand.
Personal property covers goods, money, and moveable items, while real property is buildings and houses. This is a generalisation, but it covers the majority of cases. Personal property can simply be ‘given to someone’ but real property, in general, would need to be transferred by a deed.
The recording of the transfer of property – either permanently or through a lease, is something that is an important element of the law.
What do Property Lawyers Do
Property lawyers can help with both commercial and residential property issues. They can help people with the buying and selling of property, and with rentals as well. Some of them can help with planning law or with construction. Many property lawyers will choose to either focus exclusively on residential work or on commercial work.
Residential conveyancing specialists are likely to be based on the high street and will deal with people face to face. Commercial lawyers may work with clients from all over the country and will handle much bigger cases but potentially with less face to face contact.
The housing market in particular is quite busy at the moment in the UK, and this means that lawyers are in a lot of demand. There have been some high profile cases of home buyers running into difficulties with poorly constructed houses on new builds, and this is something that a lawyer may be able to offer advice regarding. If you are buying a newly built property then you want to know that the property that you get will be fit for purpose. Engaging a property lawyer to help ensure that you do indeed get something that is in a good state of repair is important.
Commercial property leases can range from two months easy in/easy out, through to decades-long leases. Purchases can involve massive sums of money. There are many different types of lease, from FRI leases where you are responsible for rent, repairs and insurance to leases where you simply occupy the building but within reason the landlord does all of the work. Make sure that you get the agreement properly documented, and that you are able to meet all of your obligations.
Don’t forget, also, that there are business rates and insurance requirements that must be met in commercial properties. Business rates are a percentage of the rateable value of the property and can increase the cost of the property by 20 percent to 50 percent in some cases.