Buyers and sellers encounter various kinds of disbursement fees during conveyance. The disbursement when selling house does not include solicitors’ fees. They are totally separate from solicitors fees and are individually much less than solicitor fees, but can cumulatively be more expensive than the solicitor fees. The disbursement fees are for other institutions or individuals who help the conveyance progress. The buyer or seller pays the fees indirectly through their respective solicitors. The number and amount of disbursement fees depend on the property on sale and the amount of documents required to complete conveyance. Solicitors usually include the expected disbursement fees in the initial client care letter that they send to a buyer or seller.
Official Disbursement Fees
The first beneficiary of disbursement fees is the Land Registry. Almost all property transactions involve paying some fees to the Land Registry. The fees are paid for title deeds, and title plans are made available by the Land Registry. Both the buyer and the seller need these documents and therefore have to pay the fees. The seller needs these documents to prove his claims as the authentic owner of the property and the buyer needs the documents to prove that indeed the seller is the owner of the property. It is the solicitor’s job to get the documents.
Registered titles attract additional fees apart from the fees for title deeds and title plans. This is because registered titles are protected by additional provisions that are spelt out in a separate document. The document, just like the registered title, is kept at the Land Registry. Registered titles are especially common with properties that are built by developers as part of larger estates. The cost of the title register and title plans is £14 while that of the document is £11. Solicitors used to physically present themselves to the Land Registry’s office to get the document. Currently, the document can be downloaded from the website of the Land Registry. A downloaded document is cheaper. Some solicitors pay the cost of the provisional document from their own pockets rather than bill it separately.
Taxes are another disbursement fee that is necessary expense before the purchase can go through. Many of these taxes like Stamp duty depend on the cost of the property. A buyers solicitor will also analyse if the seller has taxes or expenses due on the property.
Other Disbursement Fees
A seller can also look into Telegraphic Transfer fee. The solicitor charges these fees for the expenses incurred when transferring funds to the seller’s financial institutions. The institution charges solicitors the transfer fees and the solicitor consequently charges his client the same as disbursement fees. Telegraphic Transfer fee comes about when large sums of money are paid to cover for mortgages or when proceeds of property sales are transferred directly to a seller’s bank account through the Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS). CHAPS transfers money to a bank account in one day. BACS transfer is slower compared to CHAPS.
Some solicitors may take advantage of their clients and charge disbursement fees that are higher than the Telegraphic Transfer fees. They can do this since clients never really know the cost of the transfer. The transaction is between the solicitor and the bank. Solicitors who overstate the Telegraphic Transfer fees breach the first rule of the Code of Conduct. The solicitors may also breach the second rule of the Code of Conduct when they fail to declare the amount over the cost of the fee as profit. Dishonesty in handling telegraphic transfer fees is punishable by law. The seller can report such misconduct to the Solicitor Disciplinary Tribunal.