An estate agent has urged conveyancers to be more transparent after seeing increased fees due to stamp duty pressures, and different solicitors quoting £6,500 and £2,500 for conveying the same £1.27m property.
Jeremy Leaf, principal of north London estate agency Jeremy Leaf & Co, claimed certain solicitors were charging exorbitant fees to take on work while others were working evenings and weekends as they neared the 30 June stamp duty holiday deadline, according to Estate Agent Today.
Leaf said he was aware of a case where a solicitor was charging a £6,500 fee for conveyance and associated charges for a £1.27m property in north London.
“They were doubling what they normally charge because they had so much work. Yet someone else I know locally quoted £2,500 for apparently the same work,” he said.
Leaf, a former RICS residential chairman, said some solicitors have told him they will only take on new work if it is freehold. He said it was clear that some conveyancers are working under ‘extreme pressure’ to meet deadlines, while others were doubling their fees.
“If solicitors are overcharging, without justification, then bad word soon goes around. If they have no choice but to put charges up, they should explain why that’s the case as well as what their rates would revert to after this rush is over,” he said.
He urged conveyancers to justify their fees, and be transparent, telling customers that it is a ‘one-off’ to meet tight deadlines, with staff working evenings and weekends to get work completed.
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