We are shared freeholders and want to change an unclear clause in our leases. Can we draw up a Deed of Variation ourselves, or do we have to use a solicitor?
Although it is not mandatory for you to use a solicitor to draw up a Deed of Variation, it may be pertinent to do so.
It seems to me you are experiencing firsthand the difficulties that can arise from unclear drafting and it would be a shame to repeat mistakes of the past.
Deeds of Variation are important documents – they bind the current lessees, the freeholder and your successors in title – so you may, therefore, benefit from some expert advice to ensure the clause you want to amend is worded appropriately and that it’s enforceable.
You may require some assistance when it comes to dealing with lenders, because they will need to be consulted about any changes you wish to make. And don’t forget, the deed has to be lodged at the Land Registry, which a solicitor would also do on your behalf.
If you are worried about escalating costs, it may be worth shopping around to find a firm who will act for you on a fixed fee basis.
Cassandra Zanelli, head of property management at Sheffield’s Taylor&Emmet LLP.