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The purpose of Requisitions on Title is for the Buyer’s Conveyancing Solicitor or conveyancer to raise any queries relating to the title supplied by the Seller, which they have found to be unsatisfactory. On a practical level, requisitions on title are also used to deal with the administrative completion arrangements.
Where the seller’s title has been deduced before exchange of contracts Standard Condition 4.2.1 of the Standard Conditions of Sale (4th edition) prevents the raising of requisitions after exchange has taken place. However, this only relates to matters that have already been disclosed by the seller before exchange.
The buyer can raise requisitions on problems with the title after exchange that were not disclosed by the seller and all such requisitions must be raised within six days of the problem coming to his attention.
Where title was deduced after exchange of contracts, requisitions must be raised within six days of exchange or the day the seller’s evidence of title was produced, whichever is the later. If the evidence supplied by the seller’s solicitor is unsatisfactory then further enquiries can be raised within six days. These time limits are very strict and must be adhered to.
A standard form is generally used by solicitors and conveyancers. The form deals with matters such as the discharge of the seller’s mortgage(s), where the keys are to be collected from on the day of completion and a list of the title deeds that are to be supplied on completion. The seller’s solicitor will also be asked to confirm that the answers given to additional enquiries and replies to the questions on the Seller’s Property Information form remain correct. The buyer’s solicitor or conveyancer should make sure they have a list of all outstanding charges registered against the property.
If any specific enquiries are to be raised relating to title they should be added to the form or typed on a separate sheet.
The seller’s solicitor must give an undertaking to discharge each of the mortgages registered against the property.
If the seller’s solicitor refuses to answer a proper requisition the buyer can force them to answer by means of the vendor and purchaser summons procedure under the Law of Property Act 1925. The procedure is intended to resolve the specific point in question and not to assess the whole title to the property.
The Standard Conditions of Sale (4th edition) do not provide for the right to 'rescind' (bring the contract to an end) the contract where the buyer raises a requisition with which the seller is unable or unwilling to deal with. However, if the seller has not dealt with a requisition by the agreed completion date it may be possible to argue that there has been a breach of condition and the contract should be discharged.
In practice, matters relating to title are most commonly dealt with before exchange of contracts and the Requisitions on Title form is used simply to sort out the final formalities for completion. If there are problems relating to title, post exchange, the parties will generally sort them out, willingly, wherever possible.