Choosing a law firm for your buy to let purchase


Checklist provided by


When you buy a property to let as opposed to live in, it is important to use an experienced lawyer as the way in which you buy and hold a let property is likely to be different to the way in which you own a home.

In particular, the vast majority of lawyers dealing with residential property have little or no experience of the more specialist property strategies – HMOs, lease extension, delayed completion etc.

So how do you identify the right law firm? We have created this checklist to help you on your way

Ask the lawyer you are thinking of appointing what knowledge they have of buy to let. Questions to ask, for example:

  • Do they understand the different ways of owning a BTL property if you are couple?
  • Can they advise and set up trusts to ensure your properties always pass to your children?
  • What do they know about the legal regulations to let a property?
  • How much do they know about HMO licencing?
  • Will they be able to purchase within a set time frame and what happens if they fail to do so?

Find out what experience the lawyer has if you are buying a specific property investment, and what additional checks they make/recommend, for example:

  • A House in Multiple Occupation
  • A property with sitting tenants
  • Leasehold flats
  • Multiple property purchases such as blocks of flats
  • Buying freeholds and title splitting
  • New build properties sold off-plan or via a developer
  • Buying a plot of land to build on
  • Converting properties from commercial to residential use
  • A property which needs substantial renovation, potentially requiring planning permission to help you generate a good return on your investment
  • Buying a property at a discount eg with a short lease and planning to make money from
    extending the lease.
  What other companies/organisations do they work with? Or what other companies do you have that they need to work with, for example:
  • Property tax expert
  • Independent financial advisor or mortgage broker
  • Surveyor
  • Planning consultants
  • Buy to let insurance specialists
  The better your lawyer is networked in the property community, the more they will be able to add value to your property investment purchase, rather than just do the conveyancing.
  What will their costs be? Are they transparent and fixed? Do they include all the costs including stamp duty; VAT and break down things like search fees, office copy entries?
  If you are negotiating a price based on completion by a certain date, discuss the proposed timescale with your lawyer during the offer making stage. Usually it would be sensible to agree an exchange within an agreed number of weeks of your lawyer receiving ALL standard contract documentation. This also puts the responsibility on the seller to ensure a full contract package is sent out quickly.
Will they work with you on-going, for example, to help with tenancy agreements, tenancy issues, can they provide eviction help if required?


All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner OBE, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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