The Law Society hopes that the updated Property Information Form will make Conveyancing transactions easier and faster for sellers and buyers alike.
The Property Information Form is an important part of the Conveyancing process. The responses, often called ‘replies’, given by sellers to the questions on the form give buyers and their Conveyancing Solicitors a wide range of important information about a property.
The Law Society, which represents Conveyancing Solicitors in England and Wales, says that the new forms have been designed to improve the conveyancing process by obtaining more accurate and reliable information earlier in the transaction, smoothing the process for all parties involved in the process.
The update incorporates feedback from Conveyancing Solicitors who are members of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), as well as input from the Council of Mortgage Lenders and other bodies. Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson has said that the forms were another example of the Law Society listening to the views of both consumers and the industry to develop a more beneficial and practical solution.
Mr Hudson added:
“Conveyancing is a complex process and anything we can do to ease the burden on solicitors and ultimately consumers is a great result. It was especially important that the final product was fit for purpose and accepted by solicitors and clients alike, so having input from our members early on was very valuable. “
New enquiries added on important topics
The form has been expanded and updated to reflect more accurately the information now needed by buyers. Questions have now been included on the following topics:
- Detailed enquiries about flooding ( e.g. source and extent. )
- Solar panels (are they owned outright or is there a leasing arrangement?)
- Japanese knotweed (See Fridaysmove article on the dangers of this pernicious weed)
- the government’s Green Deal
- Chancel repair liability
- Parking arrangements
Sellers are also specifically asked to provide copies of all relevant paperwork such as planning consents, guarantees and warranties ( e.g. for double glazing), electrical safety certificates and building completion certificates.
It is hoped that if sellers give all the information asked for on the form (and supply all required documents), buyers and their Conveyancing Solicitors will not need to raise any additional enquiries in most cases. This should increase the likelihood of a fast sale.
Fixtures and Fittings Form also updated
The opportunity has also been taken to produce a new version of the form on which sellers are asked to list fixtures, fittings and contents being included in the sale or being removed, as well as any items which sellers are prepared to sell separately.
This form has also been expanded and updated more generally – such ‘essentials’ of modern life as barbecues and outdoor heaters are now referenced.
Providing an accurate list of items included in the sale is important, and can avoid disputes between buyer and seller. Nowadays it is often difficult to say whether a particular item is a fixture or fitting forming part of the property, which should therefore be included in the sale, or a separate item (a ‘chattel’ in lawyer-speak) which the seller will take with him when moving.
Although the form asks whether or not the TV aerial and satellite dish are included, it does not ask about the TV itself – perhaps a surprising omission given that flat-screen TVs are now frequently fixed on or into a wall rather than just sitting on a cabinet.
Completing both forms before you sell can speed up Conveyancing
When asked to complete these new forms, sellers should carefully read the notes at the top of the form, and those at the start of some questions. Care should be taken to provide accurate answers, and if in doubt sellers should discuss replies with their Conveyancing Solicitor.
Anyone wanting to sell their home should think about completing both these forms before a buyer has been found. It can save a lot of time if the seller’s Conveyancing Solicitor can send completed forms to the buyer’s Solicitor at the same time as the draft contract.
Completing the forms in advance will also give time for sellers to find any required documents, such as guarantees or boiler certificates. If it is necessary to obtain documents from elsewhere, such as copy planning documents from a council or a duplicate NHBC certificate if the original cannot be located, there will be time for this to be done.
Considerable delays frequently arise during Conveyancing transactions when such documents are required and the seller does not have them available, so sorting this out in advance can help speed up the Conveyancing when a buyer has been found.
The new forms, which are numbered TA6 and TA10, can be seen on the Law Society’s website. There is another form TA7 for leasehold properties, which should also be completed by anyone selling a flat. http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/advice/articles/ta-form-specimens/?cqs