Access to a property after exchange of Contracts
If you require access in between exchange of contracts and completion to the property you intend to purchase it is a good idea to advise your conveyancing lawyer as soon as possible to prepare a Key Undertaking. Access is normally only required in situations where as a purchaser you wish to carry out works to the property. A request will need to be made to the seller’s conveyancing lawyer but there is no guarantee that either the seller or the seller’s conveyancing lawyer will agree to access.
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What is a Key Undertaking or Access Undertaking ?
If access is to be allowed then a contract will need to be amended to reflect this arrangement or more likely a side agreement known as a “key undertaking” will need to be drafted. In a situation where a key undertaking relates to works to be carried out at the property we will need to specify the exact nature of the works to be carried out. Access is only likely to be permitted (more often than not it is refused) provided that a change of contract has taken place and that a deposit is handed over, as well as of course the key undertaking being signed.
Drafting a Key Undertaking
There is no standard form of key undertaking and indeed a key undertaking can sometimes be very complex. Usually it provides that access is only limited to the works referred to in a detailed schedule. Furthermore the key undertaking will often specify that the buyer will be responsible for any services which are to be used at the property. More often than not we seek an undertaking to provide that the buyer is responsible for Council Tax from the date of exchange of contracts.
Leasehold Access Undertaking
In the case of a leasehold property, it may well be that the key undertaking provides that the buyer takes over responsibility of the service charge and ground rent following exchange of contracts.
A standard form of freehold Key Undertaking is set out below. For the purposes of the document set out below we have included details of works carried out in a particular case. As mentioned above no two key undertakings are the same. Please consult your conveyancing lawyer about your specific requirements for a key undertaking.
PROPERTY: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (“the Property”)
In consideration of your permitting us to access the Property between exchange of contracts and completion of our purchase of the Property, for the purposes of:
Carrying out the works referred to in Schedule One hereto (“the Works”) and for no other reason, we hereby agree and undertake:
1. That access will not confer upon us any right of occupancy of the Property or import or imply any tenancy in our favour and prior to completion of the purchase of the Property that we will not place any furniture, fixtures or fittings or any of our belongings in or on any part of the Property and under no circumstances will this give rise to any proprietorship rights and we shall not take up occupation of the property or any part thereof.
2. That the keys to the Property will be collected by us from your Estate Agent, . . . . Estate Agents of . . . . . . . . . and we will hold the same strictly to your order pending Completion. No duplicate keys will be made nor will access be afforded without keys.
3. That we will not do anything that may adversely affect the Insurance under which the Property is covered.
4. That we assume full responsibility for the Property, for all persons entering the Property and for all the Works carried out in the Property from the date hereof and we shall pay for and indemnify you against all utilities charges outgoings and expenses of whatever nature relating to the Property and any claims from any persons entering the Property or any claims arising from or relating to the Works carried out in the Property from the date hereof.
5. That we enter the Property and carry out the Works solely at our risk and shall have no claims against you arising there from or in relation thereto.
6. That in the event that we default from completing the purchase of the Property:-
a) We shall have no claim whatsoever against you for compensation or payment or reimbursement for the Works that we have carried out in the Property or for any of the utilities bills, outgoings and expenses we have incurred or paid for the Property;
b) We shall pay (in addition to any interest and damages payable pursuant to contract) all costs and charges necessary to rebuild or to complete (to your surveyor’s satisfaction) any incomplete or unfinished works commenced by us, and to make good (to your surveyor’s satisfaction) any damage occasioned to the Property by reason of the Works or otherwise by reason of the right of access afforded to us, whether or not any such damage is occasioned by us or by any other person;
Install kitchen along wall of existing lounge and provide services as necessary.
Take out kitchen fittings and convert kitchen into second bedroom.
Install and house in lounge a new combined boiler and remove existing boiler (in kitchen) and hot water tank (in bedroom).
Remove built in cupboard from bedroom.
Install new toilet.
Replace bath side panel.
Lay wooden flooring throughout save for bathroom.
Replace light fittings.
Replace front door with new door.
Paint and decorate throughout.
Dated this day of 2007