Certificate of compliance: what is this and why do we need to pay for it?

Question: We are buying a leasehold flat and our solicitor says that he needs to get us a certificate of compliance, and we will have to meet the cost of this. What is this certificate?

Answer: In the course of the conveyancing process your solicitor must have discovered a restriction on the title to the flat in favour of the landlord or the management company that would prevent you being registered as the new proprietor or owner unless the Land Registry is provided with a certificate of compliance.

In general, this is a document which confirms that you and your solicitor have complied with the various covenants and obligations listed in the terms of the lease.

Common requirements for a certificate of compliance would be that you have to enter into a deed of covenant with the landlord or managing agent in which you confirm you will observe the terms of the lease.

This deed of covenant should be signed by you and sent to the landlord or managing agent by your solicitor together with a notice of assignment and/or notice of charge, and any fee that is due to the landlord or managing agent for issuing the certificate of compliance.

Once you and your solicitor have complied with the requirements, the landlord or managing agent should issue the certificate of compliance which your solicitor can produce to the Land Registry. The registry will then remove the restriction on the title so that you can be registered as the proprietor.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.