Terms of Business

Client Care – Sale

1. Business hours

Our normal office hours are between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday. You can contact us outside these hours by email or by leaving a telephone message.

2. Fees

2.1 Scope of work

The work that we will undertake for you will include:

(a) Preparing contracts, obtaining Office Copies and submitting to purchasers Solicitors;
(b) Receiving and dealing with all pre-contract enquiries, subject to appropriate replies from you:
(c) Approving Transfer and submitting to you for signature;
(d) Dealing with completion;
(e) Providing yourself and your estate agents with regular updates; and
(f) Redeeming any mortgage and sending funds to yourself after completion.

2.2 Estimate of costs if matter does not proceed

Should the transaction fail to proceed to completion, then we will charge a proportion of the above fee as shown in the following table plus VAT and any disbursements we have paid out on your behalf:

STAGE TRANSACTION HAS REACHED: % of fee charged
We have obtained details of your transaction completed property information forms (if necessary) and obtained details of your title to the property you are selling by examining the title to the property.
25%
We have drafted the sale contract and forwarded this to the buyers solicitors.
50%
We have advised you on the terms of the sale and obtained your signature on the contract in readiness for exchange.
75%

2.3 Retainer required

We will be required to pay monies on your behalf. As security for the cost of the work we will undertake for you/disbursements we will pay on your behalf, we request that you pay the sum of £50.00 to us. This payment will be credited against your final bill. Please note that we are unable to commence any work until the payment has been made.

You will have received a request for this payment with your initial paperwork.

2.4 Payment of Interest

The Solicitors Accounts Rules require us, in certain circumstances, to pay you interest on general client account funds which we have held for a period on your behalf, if the amount exceeds £20.00. Where these rules are applicable, we will pay you a sum calculated in accordance with them. This payment will be made to you without the deduction of tax so it is your responsibility to account to HMRC for tax (if any) due on this payment.

3. Complaints

HEWITSON & HARKER is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you receive, or about the bill, please contact Georgina Fletcher on 0114 551 0900, via email at georgina@hewitsonandharker.co.uk or by post immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem for you. We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints, available at 23 Worksop Road, Swallownest, Sheffield S26 4WA. A copy of our complaints policy can be found on our website.

Legal Ombudsman

If we are unable to resolve your complaint then you can have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints about service issues with lawyers. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint. If you would like more information about this service, including the time limits for taking a case to them, please contact the Legal Ombudsman directly. You can find out more about their service by visiting www.legalobmudsman.org.uk or contacting them on 0300 555 0333.

Complaints about the bill

You also have the right to challenge or complain about our bill and apply for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. The Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about the bill if you have applied to the court for an assessment of the bill. We reserve our rights to charge interest at 8% on an unpaid bill.

4. Regulatory status

We are regulated and authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority website at http://www.fsa.gov.uk/register.

Terms of Business

6. Service levels

We will update you in writing, by email or by telephone after agreed events with progress on your transaction. We will also update you on the likely timescales for each stage of this matter.

In acting for you in this matter, we will:
• Review your matter regularly;
• Advise you of any changes in the law relevant to your matter; and
• Advise you of any circumstances and risks of which we are aware of consider to be reasonably foreseeable that could affect the outcome of your matter.

You are responsible for:
• Providing us with clear, timely and accurate instructions;
• Providing us with all documentation required to complete the transaction in a timely matter; and
• Safeguard any documents that are likely to be required for disclosure.

We deal with all correspondence (including emails) in the order received. We aim to respond to correspondence within two working days, however, at busy times this may not always be possible.

5. Limitation of liability

HEWITSON & HARKER’s liability is limited under a scheme provided by Inperio.

Our liability to you for a breach of your instructions shall be limited to £3,000,000. We can only limit our liability to the extent the law allows. In particular, we cannot limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence.

Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.

6. Confidentiality and disclosure

6.1 Auditing and vetting of files

External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice from time to time. They may wish to audit/quality check your file and related papers for this purpose. It is a specific requirement imposed by us that these external firms or organisations fully maintain confidentiality in relation to any files and papers which are audited/quality checked by them. Your files may also be reviewed in a due diligence exercise relating to the sale or transfer of all or part of our business, the acquisition of another business by us or the acquisition of new business. If you do not wish your file to be used in this way, please let us know as soon as possible.

6.2 Cloud computing

We use cloud storage for client files. Our cloud software provider is LEAP. LEAP’s cloud infrastructure is provided and maintained by industry leading cloud-platform provider Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services demonstrates a commitment to information security at every level of the organisation and complies with internationally recognised standards, the EU Data Protection Directive, and regulations and the Data Protection Act 2018. If you object to your files/other details being stored in this way, please let us know.

7. Data protection

We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:
• updating and enhancing client records;
• analysis to help us manage our practice;
• statutory returns;
• legal and regulatory compliance.

Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679), and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.

We may from time to time send you information that we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office in writing.

8. Storage of documents

After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.

We will keep our file of your papers for 6 years for a sale and 12 years for a purchase, except those papers that you ask to be returned to you. We keep files on the understanding that we can destroy them after this period from the date of the final bill. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.

If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval.

However, we may charge you for:
• time spent producing stored papers that are requested, and
• reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers.

9. Terminating the retainer

You may end your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.

We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you.

If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you will pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated in accordance with section 3.3 above.

10. Anti-money laundering and terrorist financing

The Money Laundering Regulations require solicitors to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients and, where there is a beneficial owner who is not the client, the beneficial owner. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their client can be targeted by criminals attempting to launder money.

To comply with the law, we need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon as possible. Our practice is to ask you to provide forms of identification (in their original format) or set out in the attached Clients Details Questionnaire. If you cannot provide us with the specific identification requested, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss other ways to verify your identity.

Making a disclosure

We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to the National Crime Agency where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.

11. Transfer of funds

Our practice’s policy is not to accept cash from clients up to the sum of £500 only.

If you try to avoid this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank, we may decide to charge you for any additional checks we decide are necessary to prove the source of the funds.

Where we have to pay money to you, it will be paid by cheque or bank transfer (subject to a bank transfer fee). It will not be paid in cash or to a third party.

12. Additional Costs List

Conveyancing transactions can be unpredictable and a sale or purchase that might at first seem straightforward can contain many unexpected twists, requiring extra work and time on the part of a party’s solicitor. At Hewitson and Harker we believe in being as clear as possible about the costs involved in any additional work. Accordingly, the following is a list of the types of matters that are likely to attract additional fees in the context of a transaction and which the parties to it should be aware of as early as possible:

Description of matter Costs (ex VAT)*

Unregistered Land £300.00-£600.00 Dealing with Leasehold £250.00
Preparing Transfer of Part of a Title £250.00-£500.00 New Build/New Lease transaction £250.00 Solar Panel lease (Checking) £250.00 Negotiating and preparing Trust Deed/Declaration of Trust £250.00 Negotiating and preparing Deed of Easement/Variation £750.00
Legal Marketing Services Lender (Purchase) Admin Fee £15.00 Preparing or approving a Statutory Declaration/Key Undertaking £250.00-£500.00 Dealing with Help to Buy £175.00
Dealing with Government ISA £50.00 Shared Ownership £250.00 Duplicate Correspondence/To more than one Client at separate addresses £50.00 Administration of Indemnity/Insurance Policies £50.00 Discharge of additional Mortgage £100.00
Preparing and registering a Restriction £150.00
Title Defect Referral to the Mortgage Lender £150.00
Environmental Search/Mining Subsidence Issue £150.00
Freehold Rentcharge/Amenity Land £150.00
Property subject to tenant in situ £250.00
Deed of Gift £125.00
Dealing with LISA £100.00
Dealing with/preparing Deed of Covenant £150.00
Transfer/purchase/dealing with a share of the Freehold £250.00
Lease Extension – preparing/approve £950.00
Insufficient Postage provided Fee £20.00
Dealing with Repossessed Property £250.00
Discharge of Help to Buy Mortgage £175.00
Deal with Management Company £250.00

* Please note: these costs are approximate. The actual cost of the work involved is likely to vary, depending on the complexity of the matter.

Client Care – Purchase

1. Business hours

Our normal office hours are between 9 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday. You can contact us outside these hours by email or by leaving a telephone message.

2. Fees

2.1 Scope of work

The work that we will undertake for you will include:
(a) investigating the title to the property, to include:
(i) carrying out searches with respect to title and local government information for the property;
(ii) reviewing replies given by the seller to pre-contract enquiries;
(a) negotiating a purchase contract;
(b) negotiating a transfer document;
(c) advising you in respect of your mortgage offer;
(d) preparing a report on title;
(e) proceeding to exchange of contracts and then completion of the purchase;
(f) transferring funds by telegraphic transfer to the seller’s solicitors and for relevant taxes;
(g) calculating stamp duty land tax (SDLT) on the purchase and preparing and submitting to HM Revenue & Customs the appropriate SDLT forms; and
(h) registering the purchase and the mortgage at the Land Registry.

2.2 Estimate of costs if matter does not proceed

Should the transaction fail to proceed to completion, then we will charge a proportion of the above fee as shown in the following table plus VAT and any disbursements we have paid out on your behalf:

STAGE TRANSACTION HAS REACHED: % of fee charged
We have received and considered the draft papers from the Sellers Solicitors.
25%
We have received answers to our preliminary enquiries and received additional search results and any mortgage instructions if applicable.
50%
We have advised you on the terms of the purchase and obtained your signature on the contract in readiness for exchange.
75%

2.3 Retainer required

We will be required to pay monies on your behalf. As security for the cost of the work we will undertake for you/disbursements we will pay on your behalf, we request that you pay the sum of £250.00 to us. This payment will be credited against your final bill.

We will have provided payment details in your initial paperwork

3.5 Payment of Interest

The Solicitors Accounts Rules require us, in certain circumstances, to pay you interest on general client account funds which we have held for a period on your behalf, if the amount exceeds £20.00. Where these rules are applicable, we will pay you a sum calculated in accordance with them. This payment will be made to you without the deduction of tax so it is your responsibility to account to HMRC for tax (if any) due on this payment.

3. Complaints

HEWITSON & HARKER is committed to high quality legal advice and client care. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the service you receive, or about the bill, please contact Georgina Fletcher on 0114 551 0903, via email at georgina@hewitsonandharker.co.uk or by post immediately so that we can do our best to resolve the problem for you. We have a procedure in place which details how we handle complaints, available at 23 Worksop Road, Swallownest, Sheffield, S26 4WA.

Legal Ombudsman
If we are unable to resolve your complaint then you can have the complaint independently looked at by the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman investigates complaints about service issues with lawyers. Normally, you will need to bring a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final written response from us about your complaint. If you would like more information about this service, including the time limits for taking a case to them, please contact the Legal Ombudsman directly. You can find out more about their service by visiting www.legalobmudsman.org.uk or contacting them on 0300 555 0333.

Complaints about bill
You also have the right to challenge or complain about our bill and apply for an assessment of the bill under Part III of the Solicitors Act 1974. The Legal Ombudsman may not deal with a complaint about the bill if you have applied to the court for an assessment of the bill. We reserve our rights to charge interest at 8% on an unpaid bill.

4. Regulatory status

We are regulated and authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

We are not authorised by the Financial Services Authority. However, we are included on the register maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we can carry on insurance mediation activity, which is broadly the advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business, including arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Services Authority website at http://www.fsa.gov.uk/register.

Terms of Business

5. Service levels

We will update you in writing, by email or by telephone after agreed events with progress on your transaction. We will also update you on the likely timescales for each stage of this matter.

In acting for you in this matter, we will:
• Review your matter regularly;
• Advise you of any changes in the law relevant to your matter; and
• Advise you of any circumstances and risks of which we are aware of consider to be reasonably foreseeable that could affect the outcome of your matter.

You are responsible for:
• Providing us with clear, timely and accurate instructions;
• Providing us with all documentation required to complete the transaction in a timely matter; and
• Safeguard any documents that are likely to be required for disclosure.

6. Limitation of liability

HEWITSON & HARKER’s liability is limited under a scheme provided by Portland PII.

Our liability to you for a breach of your instructions shall be limited to £3,000,000. We can only limit our liability to the extent the law allows. In particular, we cannot limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence.

Please ask if you would like us to explain any of the terms above.

7. Confidentiality and disclosure

7.1 Auditing and vetting of files

External firms or organisations may conduct audit or quality checks on our practice from time to time. They may wish to audit/quality check your file and related papers for this purpose. It is a specific requirement imposed by us that these external firms or organisations fully maintain confidentiality in relation to any files and papers which are audited/quality checked by them. Your files may also be reviewed in a due diligence exercise relating to the sale or transfer of all or part of our business, the acquisition of another business by us or the acquisition of new business. If you do not wish your file to be used in this way, please let us know as soon as possible.

7.2 Cloud computing

We use cloud storage for client files. Our cloud software provider is LEAP. LEAP’s cloud infrastructure is provided and maintained by industry leading cloud-platform provider Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services demonstrates a commitment to information security at every level of the organisation and complies with internationally recognised standards, the EU Data Protection Directive, and regulations and the Data Protection Act 2018. If you object to your files/other details being stored in this way, please let us know.

8. Data protection

We use the information you provide primarily for the provision of legal services to you and for related purposes including:
• updating and enhancing client records;
• analysis to help us manage our practice;
• statutory returns;
• legal and regulatory compliance.

Our use of that information is subject to your instructions, the Data Protection Act 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Regulation (EU) 2016/679), and our duty of confidentiality. Please note that our work for you may require us to give information to third parties such as expert witnesses and other professional advisers. You have a right of access under data protection legislation to the personal data that we hold about you.

We may from time to time send you information that we think might be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive that information please notify our office in writing.

9. Storage of documents

After completing the work, we will be entitled to keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.

We will keep our file of your papers for 6 years for a sale and 12 years for a purchase, except those papers that you ask to be returned to you. We keep files on the understanding that we can destroy them after this period from the date of the final bill. We will not destroy documents you ask us to deposit in safe custody.

If we take papers or documents out of storage in relation to continuing or new instructions to act for you, we will not normally charge for such retrieval.

However, we may charge you for:
• time spent producing stored papers that are requested, and
• reading, correspondence or other work necessary to comply with your instructions in relation to the retrieved papers.

10. Terminating the retainer

You may end your instructions to us in writing at any time, but we can keep all your papers and documents while there is still money owed to us for fees and expenses.

We may decide to stop acting for you only with good reason. We must give you reasonable notice that we will stop acting for you.

If you or we decide that we should stop acting for you, you will pay our charges up until that point. These are calculated on an hourly basis plus expenses/by proportion of the agreed fee as set out above.

11. Anti-money laundering and terrorist financing

The Money Laundering Regulations require solicitors to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients and, where there is a beneficial owner who is not the client, the beneficial owner. This is because solicitors who deal with money and property on behalf of their client can be targeted by criminals attempting to launder money.

To comply with the law, we need to obtain evidence of your identity as soon as possible. Our practice is to ask you to provide forms of identification (in their original format) or set out in the attached Clients Details Questionnaire. If you cannot provide us with the specific identification requested, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss other ways to verify your identity.

Making a disclosure
We are professionally and legally obliged to keep your affairs confidential. However, solicitors may be required by statute to make a disclosure to the National Crime Agency where they know or suspect that a transaction may involve money laundering or terrorist financing. If we make a disclosure in relation to your matter, we may not be able to tell you that a disclosure has been made. We may have to stop working on your matter for a period of time and may not be able to tell you why.

12. Mortgage fraud

We may also be acting for your proposed lender in this transaction. We have a duty to fully reveal to your lender all relevant facts about the purchase and mortgage. This includes:
• any differences between your mortgage application and information we receive during the transaction; and
• any cash back payments or discount schemes that a seller is giving you.

13. Transfer of funds

Our practice’s policy is to accept cash from clients up to the sum of £500 only.

If you try to avoid this policy by depositing cash directly with our bank, we may decide to charge you for any additional checks we decide are necessary to prove the source of the funds.

Where we have to pay money to you, it will be paid by cheque or bank transfer. It will not be paid in cash or to a third party.

14. Additional Costs List

Conveyancing transactions can be unpredictable and a sale or purchase that might at first seem straightforward can contain many unexpected twists, requiring extra work and time on the part of a party’s solicitor. At Hewitson and Harker we believe in being as clear as possible about the costs involved in any additional work. Accordingly, the following is a list of the types of matters that are likely to attract additional fees in the context of a transaction and which the parties to it should be aware of as early as possible:

Description of matter Costs (ex VAT)*

Unregistered Land £300.00-£600.00 Dealing with Leasehold £250.00
Preparing Transfer of Part of a Title £250.00-£500.00 New Build/New Lease transaction £250.00 Solar Panel lease (Checking) £250.00 Negotiating and preparing Trust Deed/Declaration of Trust £250.00
Negotiating and preparing Deed of Easement/Variation £750.00
Legal Marketing Services Lender (Purchase) Admin Fee £15.00 Preparing or approving a Statutory Declaration/Key Undertaking £250.00-£500.00 Dealing with Help to Buy £175.00
Dealing with Government ISA £50.00 Shared Ownership £250.00 Duplicate Correspondence/To more than one Client at separate addresses £50.00 Administration of Indemnity/Insurance Policies £50.00 Discharge of additional Mortgage £100.00
Preparing and registering a Restriction £150.00
Title Defect Referral to the Mortgage Lender £150.00
Environmental Search/Mining Subsidence Issue £150.00
Freehold Rentcharge/Amenity Land £150.00
Property subject to tenant in situ £250.00
Deed of Gift £125.00
Dealing with LISA £100.00
Dealing with/preparing Deed of Covenant £150.00
Transfer/purchase/dealing with a share of the Freehold £250.00
Lease Extension – preparing/approve £950.00
Insufficient Postage provided Fee £20.00
Dealing with Repossessed Property £150.00
Discharge of Help to Buy Mortgage £175.00
Deal with Management Company £250.00

* Please note: these costs are approximate. The actual cost of the work involved is likely to vary, depending on the complexity of the matter.