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Terms of engagement

1. About us

We are Eden Conveyancing Ltd, a law firm offering conveyancing services in England and Wales. Our registered office is at Unit 7.19, Paintworks, Bath Road, Bristol, England, BS4 3EA. Our company number is 13396993, and our VAT number is 387746829. Our Head of Legal Practice is Samantha Strong, and our Head of Finance and Administration is Annie Jenkins.

The Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) have authorised Eden to provide conveyancing services in England and Wales. Our CLC licence number is 14232. As part of our licence from the CLC, we’re also authorised to issue or arrange indemnity policies. This is under delegated authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority.

We are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office, our number for which is ZB282646.

2. Words we use

  • “client” or “you”
  • “Eden”, “us” or “we” means Eden Conveyancing Ltd
  • “instruct”, instructions” or “instructing” means when you ask us to work for you
  • “terms” means these terms of engagement
  • “sale” means your sale case
  • “purchase” means your purchase case
  • “complete” or “completion” means the actual completion of your case (you’ve got the keys on your purchase case or given the keys to the buyer on your sale)
  • “Stamp Duty” means the Stamp Duty Land Transaction Tax if your property is in England and the Land Transaction Tax if your property is in Wales
  • “MyEden” is our customer portal that you can access via our website to view your personal information and keep track of your case

3. Who can be our client

Only a client can accept our terms. To be a client, you will need to act on behalf of yourself, or as an executor, administrator or personal representative of someone who has passed away.

We cannot act in circumstances where a power of attorney is being relied on.

If you are instructing us to act for more than one person then you agree to these terms both individually and as a group (“jointly and severally”).

We try to make our service accessible to everyone. If you need anything, please let us know and we will make any reasonable adjustments that we can.

Checking your identity

Before you can instruct us, you will need to undertake an electronic ID check so we can make sure that you are who you say you are. If you are representing someone else as a personal representative, executor or under a Power of Attorney we will need additional evidence to show that you have authority to act on behalf of that person.

4. The service we will provide

Eden will act as your lawyers to buy your property, sell your property – or both. It is important that you know what we do and don’t do.

What is included

Eden will:

  • Identify who owns the property (either the one you are selling to make sure you can sell it or the one you are buying to make sure that person is entitled to do so)
  • agree contracts
  • investigate the property and identify any issues
  • transfer money
  • register change of ownership
  • deal with mortgages
  • make Stamp Duty payments on your behalf if you have paid us the money to do so
  • represent the mortgage lender for a purchase case
  • serve notices on the landlord or management company

What is not included

We are not mortgage advisers or tax experts, and we can’t help you take anyone to court. Eden do not:

  • give you tax advice. Stamp Duty is a complicated self-assessment tax and we provide an initial analysis of Stamp Duty using SDLT Compass Software. This software provides a detailed analysis of your purchase and an indemnified calculation of your liability for Stamp Duty. The costs of obtaining this is a small fixed cost that is included in your quote. Please note that should SDLT Compass identify a complex situation that needs detailed advice, you will be referred to specialist advisor, the cost of taking such advice is not part of our fees and will need to be agreed directly with them.
  • take instructions about legal disputes in relation to the property
  • advise you on surveys or the condition of the property
  • advise third parties (for example someone providing you with a gifted deposit)

What you must do

We need you to work with us to help us deal with your case as efficiently as possible. We ask that you:

  • provide the ID and information about the source of your money
  • provide us with any additional information we need as soon as you can and honestly
  • treat our employees with respect

When we can’t work for you

Sometimes we find that we can’t work for you. If that is the case, we will let you know as soon as possible. These are examples of when we might not be able to act for you:

  • we’re already working for someone on the other side of your case, and they do not want to give us permission to work for both of you
  • your buyer or seller isn’t using a lawyer to represent them
  • we can’t communicate with you because there is a language barrier
  • you don’t reside in the UK
  • the property is shared ownership
  • you are buying with a buy-to-let ISA

We reserve the right to refuse to work for you (at our sole discretion).

Arm’s length transactions

We may act for two or more clients on the same transaction (for example acting for both seller and buyer in the same property transaction) where all clients have given written consent. In these circumstances, each client is at all times represented by different property lawyers, with different supervisors, conducting themselves as though they were members of different firms.

We cannot act for both parties where a transaction is not at arm’s length. This is where the parties are related by blood, adoption or marriage or in a stable relationship (e.g. a cohabiting couple or the parties otherwise treat each other as family members).

Terminating this instruction

As you are signing this instruction letter electronically and we have not met you in person, the terms of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 apply. You have the right to cancel your instructions without any cost to you within 14 calendar days of signing this instruction letter. You can cancel your instruction by contacting us by email or via MyEden.

Under the regulations, you cannot cancel your instruction once you have agreed that we should start work on your behalf. During our initial video / telephone conversation we will ask you to provide us with verbal confirmation of this instruction to act on your behalf and to:

  • create a bespoke file in relation to your case
  • start work straight away, before the end of the cancellation period, and expend your payment on account for third-party costs

When we stop acting for you

You may end your instructions in writing at any time. If we cease acting for you, we will tell you the reason and give you notice in writing. If you cancel your contract with us, if it becomes apparent that a transaction has failed, or if we find out we can’t work for you:

  • we usually won’t be able to refund any money you’ve paid us for third-party costs, because we usually spend the money soon after you pay it to us
  • if you’ve paid us money for third party costs and we haven’t yet spent it, we’ll refund it to you
  • if we’ve spent money on your behalf and you haven’t yet paid it to us, you’ll have to send it to us immediately

5. Our fees

Your quote

We charge fixed fees for our legal services. Your quote is based on the information you provided on our website before you instructed us. If we find that any of this was wrong and we need to change the quote (for example, if you thought a property was freehold but it is leasehold), we will amend your quote and let you know straightaway. Our quotes are valid for 28 days.

Fixed fee

If you case does not exchange or complete, then we may not charge you the full legal fees.

We will use the following milestones to calculate sale legal fees:

  • Introductory meeting has taken place: 20% of our legal fees
  • Contract pack has been issued: 50% of our legal fees
  • Contract pack has been signed: 70% of our legal fees
  • Exchange of contracts has taken place: 100% of our legal fees

And the following milestones to calculate purchase legal fees:

  • Introductory meeting has taken place: 20% of our legal fees
  • Enquiries have been raised or searches have been ordered: 50% of our legal fees
  • Final report on title has been provided: 70% of our legal fees
  • Exchange of contracts has taken place has taken place: 100% of our legal fees

Searches

Our search pack consists of:

  • local authority search
  • water and drainage search
  • environmental search

Some properties might need a mining or flood search and we will tell you if you need them for your case and what they cost. It is usually an additional £40 to £60 (inclusive of VAT).

For a purchase we will also need to do a search at the Land Registry and bankruptcy searches. These are shown on your quote.

Third party costs

Sometimes we need to pay someone for something on your behalf, like the land registration fee for a purchase. These are sometimes called “Disbursements”. We will obtain these for you and pass the cost on to you. We don’t add a handling fee or mark up in any way.

6. Keeping you and your money safe

It is important to you and to us that your money is safe.

Your bank details

You will be asked to provide your bank details via MyEden. We will then carry out checks to ensure that this account is valid and belongs to you. We will only send monies to this account.

Our bank details

You can obtain our bank details from MyEden. We are registered with the Use Safe Move Scheme so you can check our bank details before you use them if you wish to.

It’s really important to know that these won’t change during your case, and we will never email you or call you to tell you that they have changed. If someone tells you they’ve changed, they’re a fraudster and you should tell us immediately by phone on 0117 471 1300. Please don’t email us about suspected fraud.

Eden will not accept responsibility if you send money to the wrong account.

7. Payments on your case

Checking your money has come from a legitimate source

Before you can get your case up and running, we need to make sure that the money you are using to fund your case is coming from a legitimate source. You will be asked to provide information on MyEden to enable us to do anti-money laundering checks and to do checks on how you got your funds and where they are coming to us from. The amount of documentation required will depend on each case.

If someone else is lending or giving you money, then they will also need to pass our identity checks and show us that the money has come from a legitimate source on too. They can do this via MyEden. They will be sent their own login details when you give us their contact details.

We don’t accept any money from overseas accounts or that has any connection with crypto currency.

Payment on account

You will be asked to pay money on account when you instruct us. The amounts and what the payments are for are listed below. You will need to make the initial payment on account by bank transfer from a UK bank account using your case reference.

We will ask you to provide £200 on account at the start of your sale case to cover:

  • the setup of your case
  • identity and address verification checks
  • anti-money laundering searches
  • getting copies of your title deeds from the Land Registry

We will ask you to provide £500 on account at the start of your purchase case to cover:

  • the setup of your case
  • identity and address verification checks (if we are also instructed on your sale case you will only be charged once)
  • anti-money laundering searches (if we are also instructed on your sale case you will only be charged once)
  • the search pack on your purchase property

Other client deposits

All other payments that you need to make to us will also need to be made them by bank transfer from a UK bank account using your case reference. We don’t accept credit or debit card payments and we don’t take cash or cheque.

Where money is deposited by you with us or by us on your behalf, we will ensure that the money is held in a non-interest bearing client bank account with an authorised clearing bank. We are, however, unable to guarantee the safety of such deposits. In the event that any bank with whom we have placed all or part of your money is unable to repay or delays repayment of any monies, you agree that you will not bring any claim or proceedings against us regarding the money deposited with us or the choice of bank where the monies are being held.

Changes out of our control

The figures on your quote are indications and subject to change based on the below.

Sometimes the Government make changes that are outside out control:

  • if the VAT rate changes, your quote will be updated to reflect the changes in VAT
  • if the Stamp Duty changes, your Stamp Duty amount will change. The Stamp Duty amount on your quote is an estimate based on the Stamp Duty rates at the time and other information you have given us
  • if the Land Registry fee increases before we register your new mortgage, you’ll be charged the new Land Registry fee

Leftover amounts

Sometimes, there may be a small amount of money left over once your case is finished. This can happen due to an expense or disbursement being slightly different from the amount we estimated. We will ask you for your bank details so that we can transfer any leftover amounts back to you.

8. Referral fees

If we pay a referral fee, for example to your estate agent or mortgage broker, we’ll confirm to you who we’re paying and how much we’re paying them. You have a choice of providers and do not need to use the provider referred to you. The referral payment is a standard authorised charge that a law firm may pay in order to attract business. It is not a charge to you and does not impact the conveyancing fees or transaction costs that you pay.

9. Data

Data is important to you and to us.

Your personal and case information

By accepting these terms and conditions you agree that the following people may see your personal information and detailed case information:

  • our employees and contractors
  • your mortgage lender (if you are buying with a mortgage)
  • your mortgage broker (if you have one)
  • our suppliers of data processing services
  • our regulators
  • any official body by virtue of their legal powers

Your case information

By accepting these terms and conditions you agree to us sharing non-personal information about the progress of your case with the estate agent or mortgage broker for your case, if you have one.

Property information

Any property information you provide to us (for example information contained within the TA6, TA7, or TA10 forms) remains the ownership of Eden. This allows us to continually improve our services and products by providing up to date property information to other customers and to the wider industry.

Data retention

We store data about your case until it is no longer necessary to provide our services, comply with legal regulations, or until your account is deleted – whichever comes first. This is a case-by-case determination that depends on things such as the nature of the data, why it is collected and processed, and relevant legal or operational retention needs.

Online reviews

If you leave us an online review, you agree that we may use the relevant confidential information about your case to respond to that review.

10. Other legal information

Copyright

We retain the copyright and intellectual property rights for our online service and all materials we create, design or develop during the course of carrying out your instructions including systems, software, know-how, reports, written advice, drafts and working documents.

Anti-money laundering regulations

We must comply with the latest anti-money laundering regulations which means that we have to tell the National Crime Agency if we think that:

  • you are attempting to launder money or help someone else launder money
  • your money is the proceeds of crime, including tax evasion

You agree that we can do this regardless of our duty of confidentiality to you.

If you ask us about anything relating to crime prevention, we don’t have to give an answer. For example, if you ask us whether we have reported you for money laundering, we can’t tell you either way.

If the police ask us to stop acting for you, we’ll do so, and we won’t be able to tell you the reason.

Our liability

If we make a mistake that ends up causing a problem or costing you money, you can make a claim against our professional indemnity insurance. You agree that:

  • if the VAT rate changes, your quote will be updated to reflect the changes in VAT
  • if the Stamp Duty changes, your Stamp Duty amount will change. The Stamp Duty amount on your quote is an estimate based on the Stamp Duty rates at the time and other information you have given us
  • if the Land Registry fee increases before we register your new mortgage, you’ll be charged the new Land Registry fee
  • any claim you want to make will be against Eden, and not against any individuals who work for us
  • the limit of our insurance is £3 million per claim, and this is the largest claim you can make
  • if we can’t deliver our services to you through no fault of our own and because of circumstances outside of our control, you won’t have any claim against us for any actual or consequential loss. For example, if there are delays in the banking system
  • if you’ve provided all the information we asked for, we’ve received your completion money, and yet we fail to send the money to a seller’s lawyer and this causes a delay to the completion of your transaction, then you won’t have to pay our legal fee, but you won’t have any other claim against us
  • if you make a valid claim against us for a loss arising out of work for which we’re legally responsible and we’re unable to meet our liability in full, you may be entitled to claim from the CLC compensation fund. Please contact the CLC for more detail

We can only limit our liability to the extent that the law allows. In particular, we can’t limit our liability for death or personal injury caused by our negligence.

Financial services and title insurance

We are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. However, we are included in the register maintained by the Financial Conduct Authority so that we can carry on Insurance Distribution Activities, which is broadly advising on, selling and administration of insurance contracts. This part of our business is regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, and arrangements for complaints or redress if something goes wrong are subject to the jurisdiction of the Legal Ombudsman (https://www.legalombudsman.org.uk). The register can be accessed via the Financial Conduct Authority website at https://register.fca.org.uk.

It may be necessary for us to implement indemnity insurance in relation to your property transaction. We will endeavour to advise you as to which type of indemnity insurance is appropriate for your property transaction, but no warranty is given as to the effectiveness of any indemnity insurance policy implemented.

You must take the time to read the provisions of any indemnity insurance policy that is implemented for your property transaction, as most legal indemnity insurances will be limited to provide insurance for adverse legal consequences and should not be viewed as a complete answer to the potential problems that may arise.

Force majeure

We shall not be liable for failure to perform or for any delay in performing our obligations if the failure or delay is due to causes beyond our control including but not limited to extreme weather, epidemic, pandemic, riot, curfew, social distancing or self-isolation/quarantine rules, furlough of staff, war, terrorism, industrial action, the conduct of any police or other official investigation or delays in providing or non-provision of the National Crime Agency consent following a disclosure under the anti-money laundering legislation.

Severance and applicable law 

Should any of the terms of engagement be held to be invalid, the remainder will continue with full force and effect. The terms of engagement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales. Any dispute arising out of our engagement or those terms shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of England and Wales.

11. Complaints

We want you to be really happy with the service you receive from Eden but if you aren’t then please contact the person dealing with your case. They will work with you to resolve the issue but if you need it then our full complaints policy can be found here.

If you want to speak to our Head of Legal Practice, please email her at sam.strong@edenconveyancing.com.

12. Changes

The version of these terms of engagement is v2023.11. Normally, we won’t change these terms during a transaction. However, if we have to make a change to these terms, we’ll tell you in writing.

If we make any changes in future to the way that our company and our wider corporate group is organised, we can transfer your cases and contract to another company under our control. If this happens then the same people will continue to work on your case, and these terms will continue to apply.

This agreement is governed by the laws of England and Wales and is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.