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Pre Contract Searches Notes
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WS 3 Pre-Contract Searches & Enquiries
Pre-Contract Searches & Enquiries p166 Why do the searches?
Because, when the buyer purchasing property the principle of caveat emptor applies (Let the buyer beware
— emphasising that it is the buyer's responsibility to discover problems with the property, not the seller's to disclose them). Thus, the Solicitor carries out the investigation (Due Diligence) so that the client has as much info as possible and can enter the transaction eyes wide open. Seller's duty to disclose is limited, so further searches are necessary to protect the buyer (even when a PreContract Package has been provided by the seller) If solicitor doesn't make them, they could be liable for professional negligence
When do the searches?
To satisfy the buyer's lender, all should be made not more than 6 months before completion In practice, it will usually be 2 months before completion
What searches to make?
(explain why the search is required) p167
Pre-Contract Enquiries of the seller (TA6 PIF or
Water and Drainage enquiries under CON29DW
LLC1 (local land charges)
Local Authority enquiries:
CON29R (Enquiries of Local Authority) CON29O (Optional Enquiries)
Environmental Search as a matter of best practice "Desktop"
Chancel Liability/Repair Search (LLC1 + CON29R + CON29O are usually submitted together)
Form K15 "Land Charges Departmen t Search" p175
Mining Search (CON29M)
Company Search (only if seller is a
K16 Land Charges Department Search
for insolvency Flooding Highways Search Canals/Rivers Search Railways Commons Registration Search Structural Survey of Property (flooding/mining)
What to do with the Results?
You must pursue unsatisfactory results or face liability (Computastaf) and check with the client's instructions You must pass on the results to you client A buyer has imputed knowledge of everything that his solicitor knows (Strover v Harrington (1998)) Common scenarios: Property built within last 10 years
Access to Property
Copy of NHBC document to give to insurance re structural defects Copies of planning permission and have they been complied with?
Check that roads and drains are adopted Check that adequate easements exists Check the title to ensure that easements exists (express; implied; presumed) Arrangements for maintenance and repair Find out by pre-contract enquiries Do the occupiers claim equitable interest or a tenancy? FLA? Licence Have the FLA rights been registered?
Ensure any occupiers will surrender on completion
New Estate Roads & Drains
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