Moving house is one of the most stressful things we ever do in life.

When moving house there are legal tasks to take care of. Nearly two out of three people put moving house at the top of their stress list, recent research by energy company E.On shows.

And it's not just the prospect of broken crockery or re-directing your post. The legal side of moving (known as conveyancing) can be just as stressful. 

With any house move, there are important legal tasks to complete:

  • planning permission checks
  • securing land deeds
  • agreeing and exchanging contracts

Lots of us opt to get help from a lawyer to take care of these things.

Sometimes things can go wrong with your lawyer

Even when you use a lawyer, things can go wrong. Conveyancing is the most complained-about area of legal practice in England and Wales, accounting for nearly one quarter of all complaints received last year by the Legal Ombudsman.

Common complaints about lawyers

  • Failing to advise people properly
  • Delaying the conveyancing process
  • Providing poor information about the cost of the legal work

You have the right to complain to your lawyer. If this doesn't help, you have the right to talk to the Legal Ombudsman about your situation. The Ombudsman has powers to put things right.

How to avoid problems with your lawyer

There are practical things you can do to try to avoid problems with lawyers:

  • take some time to check the plans of the new house yourself
  • explain clearly any particular concerns you've got right from the start

Houses and common legal issues

If you're thinking about taking your first step on to the property ladder, the Legal Ombudsman has created a handy guide called 'On the move – a guide for first-time buyers'. It can help you get your head around the legal side of things, and offers tips on what to look out for when a lawyer starts your conveyancing work. Learn more about common legal issues with houses:

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