Property Services

With a broad range of expertise across the department from property conveyancing to residential disputes, Gardner Croft offer a quality service for all types of residential property matters.

Property Conveyancing Solicitors In Canterbury

Let us help manage your conveyancing needs.
– Your conveyancing will be dealt with by a qualified lawyer.
– We provide a personal service with a local, experienced and dedicated team.
– We aim to minimise the stress of your move.

We offer a personal service in assisting with the sales and purchase of all property and keep you informed and up to date throughout the transaction. All of our team our qualified lawyers.

With property being such a significant factor in personal and family wealth planning our experienced team also work closely with your financial advisors and the Private Client Department to offer a broader service where appropriate.

Meet The Team

Tim Townsend

Position: Partner
Work Area: Property Serv...
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Helen Knowles

Position: Senior Conveyancer
Work Area: Property Serv...
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Lesley Saunders

Position: Licensed Conveyancer
Work Area: Property Serv...
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Diane Weinstock

Position: Solicitor
Work Area: Property Serv...
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Frequently Asked Questions

Can my Solicitor act for my mortgage lender as well as me?

In the majority of cases we can act for both you and your mortgage lender. The exception to this is where we act for the buyer and seller or where your lender is a private or non high street lender and we are not on their panel of solicitors. Gardner Croft are on the majority of high street lenders panels and are also panel solicitors for some less popular and specialist lenders such as those specialising in buy to let properties only. Again the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Law Society have strict rules in place to avoid what they call ‘conflicts of interest’ with lenders and clients. This tends to happen where a client may have not fully disclosed their personal circumstances to their lender and ask the solicitor not to disclose those. Common examples include where the lender is not aware you are borrowing money from a third party for the deposit or the deposit is being gifted to you by parents, grandparents etc or where you have been declared bankrupt. The solicitor is under an obligation to your lender to disclose to them anything which they feel may have impact on the lenders willingness to grant the loan and any request to withhold potentially relevant information will create a conflict of interest for the solicitor and they will have to cease to act for both you and the lender.

Do I need a survey?

You are not obliged to get a survey though it is always prudent to do so. Properties in England are purchased under the edict of Buyer Beware. This means that if you find anything wrong with a property once exchange of contracts has taken place, the seller is not liable and you will have to pay for any necessary repairs. It is therefore advisable to have some form of survey completed on a property you wish to purchase. There are 3 types of survey: 1. A Lenders Valuation Report - If you are using a mortgage to fund your purchase then the Lender will always carry out a valuation of the property. This is for your mortgage lenders purposes only and merely confirms that the property you are purchasing is worth what you are paying for it. It is unusual for the surveyor to advise you on the condition of the property and it is inadvisable to rely only on the terms of this report particularly because if a matter later comes to light that could have been revealed by the report you will have no recourse to the surveyor as they are employed by the lender only, not you, despite you having paid for the report! 2. A Homebuyers Report- This is a more detailed survey and will look at some structural issues. However this report has limitations as the surveyor may have limited access to the property. The limitations will be detailed at the beginning of the report. This is the most common survey report and is likely to highlight issues where further investigation may be needed. If repairs are required the report will point this out and this can then be used to negotiate further terms of the transaction i.e. that the seller carries out the repairs or reduces the price of the property to cover the cost (the latter is the most common outcome) 3. A Full Structural Survey Report – This is the most expensive of the surveys and will be a very detailed report focusing on all aspects both structural and non-structural. These reports tend to be advisable for older properties and those where it is obvious that works of repair are required. A survey might seem expensive, but you may regret not having one if you have to pay out thousands of pounds later on for major repairs of faults you didn't know about when you bought the property. If major defects are uncovered you might even think again about your purchase, or you could be in a position to renegotiate the price. A home is a massive investment and it is worth paying a few hundred pounds for a survey at this stage as it could save you much bigger sums, and lots of hassle, later on. If problems do appear later on which the surveyor did not point out, you may be able to claim compensation from them.

Do I need all searches recommended by my solicitor?

As the law stands it is for the buyer of a property to ensure that they make full investigation of all records at their disposal and of all matters which may affect the property. By not carrying out searches you are leaving yourself open to the risk that there may be matters contained within a search (were it to be carried out) which would have an impact on your decision to buy the property and also on the value and marketability of the property in the future. The most common searches and those which will be required by your lender if you are using a mortgage to fund your purchase are: • Drainage Search – This shows the location of the main public sewer (but not necessarily the shared and lateral drains which might form part of the public sewer) and confirms that the necessary legal rights to mains drainage are in place. In the case of a property which has been extended it is particularly important that we ascertain that the extension has not been built over the mains sewers, where this runs directly behind the property. If it has then specific building over agreement would have needed to have been sought from the drainage authority and the search will confirm whether this is the case. If not then the breach can have a detrimental effect on the market value of the property because if the authority cannot gain access to the sewer pipe then they have the power to demolish any part of the un-consented building to do so and they are not obliged by law to replace it. In fact they can order that it be demolished at your cost and it is unlikely that further agreement to reinstate the building would be granted. • Environmental Search – This is a search of various historical land usage environmental records carried out on our behalf by a search agency. This confirms whether here are any environmental matters of concern particularly if notices have been served to clean up contaminated land. Clean up costs can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds and are borne by the current owner of the land regardless of whether they were the cause of the contamination or not. • Local Authority Search – This is a questionnaire that is submitted to the Local Authority to enable us to ascertain if there are any matters that may adversely affect the property that are revealed in Local Authority records e.g. breaches of planning permissions and any breaches of regulations which may incur costs for you as the future owner to rectify. This search relates only to the property itself and not to adjoining properties..

Joint Ownership

Where more than one person is purchasing a property, you need to consider how you wish to own the property. There are two types of ownership: (a) Joint Tenants Where you own Joint Tenants then, in the event of the death of one owner, the remaining owner or owners receive the deceased’s share automatically. Thus if a husband and wife own the property as Joint Tenants, as is normally the case, and one of them dies, then the survivor automatically becomes the sole owner of the property. (b) Tenants in Common This arrangement differs in that if one joint owner dies that owner can leave his or her interest or share in the property to whoever they wish. If joint owners are unmarried or if either of both joint owners have been married before or have commitments to a child of a previous relationship then it is advisable to create a Tenancy in Common. It will also be very important that you review the provisions of any wills that have been made or if none have been made then consideration must be given to the making of wills.

What is freehold and leasehold?

Freehold means that you own the property and the land upon which it is built outright. There is no time limit as to your ownership. The property remains yours until you sell it or transfer it to someone else. Leasehold means that you own the property but not the land upon which it is built. The land is owned by the Landlord or freeholder. You will be granted a lease of the property for a set period of time after which time the property reverts to the Landlord. Leases vary in length but are usually 99 years or 125 years from the date they are granted. They can be transferred from person to person (this is called assignment) and can also be extended either by agreement or by law.

Does it matter that a conveyancer is 300 miles away? They are a bit cheaper.

Here at Gardner Croft, The Canterbury Law Firm, our aim is to always be on hand to guide you in the right direction. With legal services so readily available over the internet and conveyancing factory firms tied in to several of the national and regional chains of estate agents, prospective clients of ours often ask whether they would benefit from being represented by a firm local to where they live or the property they are hoping to buy or sell. We answer by saying that while our fees may appear to be a little more expensive than a volume conveyancer in, say, Cardiff, Leeds or Milton Keynes, there are many positive advantages in instructing us.

Advantages in Instructing Locally

Personal Knowledge

We are likely to have personal knowledge of the area where the property is located; we may even have dealt with the very property before or others in the same road or development. This can definitely be an advantage especially if, for example, there are complex arrangements for maintenance of blocks of flats and other parts of an estate and we have come across these particular arrangements before.

Personal Service

We offer a personal service. Your transaction will be handled by a qualified lawyer and their assistant and not just by a.n.other case handler who may be one of several having input to your case but not taking ownership of it. We offer face-to-face meetings as a matter of course. Our clients can put a face to a name and start to build a relationship with their lawyer. Also, our clients can drop into our offices if they have a question to ask or need to collect or return papers at short notice. It’s more difficult to do any of that if the conveyancers are a number of miles away.

Full-Service Firm

The benefits of instructing a firm like Gardner Croft LLP, which offers a comprehensive range of legal services to individuals cannot be overstated. Not only will our experienced property lawyers recognise when a client might need additional services, such as a new Will, a cohabitation agreement, or a declaration of trust, but we also have the skills in the office to provide expert advice on those matters in a timely way. All of this provides reassurance that comes with dealing with professionals who can either deal with your questions quickly or can introduce you to another lawyer in-house who will be able to assist.


Another advantage of using a local firm is in combating the risk of property fraud or cybercrime. Face-to-face meetings can mitigate these risks and are invaluable in verifying identification.

Are we really more expensive?

Finally, when considering whether to instruct a local firm or a volume conveyancer bear in mind two further thoughts; Firstly make sure you compare the costs estimates carefully and like-for-like. The local firm’s headline fee may appear to be a bit more expensive than the volume conveyancer but you must check whether there are any additional costs which are included in one estimate but shown as extras in another. Also, some firms have a reputation for limiting the number of contacts a client may have with their conveyancer before they start charging extra fees. At Gardner Croft we don’t do that. Secondly, if you are buying or selling through one of the national or regional estate agents who are tied to certain firms of conveyancers many miles away, do not feel pressured into instructing that firm just because they appear to be a bit less expensive. You are perfectly free to instruct the solicitors of your choice.   For specialist advice on moving home or buying or selling an investment property, please contact any member of the Property Services team at Gardner Croft, the Canterbury Law Firm.

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