The forms have changed to reflect the fact that the law and practice has changed. Moon Beever, as a member of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), is duty bound to use the forms which are mandatory for CQS members. The Law Society recognises there will be a run off period so these forms should not affect transactions which are well underway.
Moon Beever welcomes the new forms as they give Sellers clear guidance on what needs to be passed to their solicitors, thus avoiding unnecessary delays down the line.
The Buyer's solicitors should only raise enquiries based on the answers provided by these forms and should not raise enquiries regarding the state of the property that can be easily ascertained by the Buyer or Surveyor on inspection of the property. It is also worthy of note that standard enquiries are not answerable under the Protocol.
The form makes it clear that the answers to the questions should be on the basis of what the Seller knows and not what he or she speculates, and only cover the Seller’s period of ownership. Below is a synopsis of the changes to the forms:
Property Information Form
Irregular boundaries: This asks the Seller to clarify the boundary at the property.
Building works: This question enquires whether there has been any building work carried out at the property, and, if so when. It goes on to request copies of planning permissions, building regulations, completion certificates, and/or competent person certificates. It also has a section dealing specifically with breaches and/or unfinished works.
Solar Panels: It enquires whether any solar panels were installed at the property and if so when they were installed and whether they are owned or leased.
Listing/Conservations Area/Tree Preservation Orders: The form specifically asks whether the property is a Listed Building or within a conservation area or is subject to a tree preservation order.
Guarantees: This is similar to the old form but does remind the Buyer that some guarantees are personal to the Seller thus they should really check with the company providing the guarantee.
Insurance: This question asks whether there has been any increase in premiums or whether there has ever been a claim under the insurance policy.
Flooding: This query is now a lot more detailed in content and covers the different types of flooding.
Green Deal scheme: The Green Deal Scheme is a government-backed initiative which strives to make properties more energy efficient. The form enquires whether there is a green deal scheme. If there is, the Seller should provide a copy of the electricity bill for the property, although this information may also be provided on the Energy Performance Certificate.
Japanese knotweed: Japanese knotweed, as the name suggests, is a weed with roots that can uproot paths, tarmac etc. and is very difficult to remove. Such removal is usually effected by a management plan which can be costly.
Overriding interests: This includes disclosure on chancel liability.
Parking: This enquires about parking e.g. whether the property is within a controlled zone or Local Authority Parking Scheme.
Electricity: If work has been carried out at the property, an electrical safety certificate and/ or an installer’s regulation certificate or a Local Authority Building Regulations Compliance Certificate is requested.
Central Heating: Documents are required for installation and/or maintenance and inspection reports if available.
Drainage: This form now asks about foul and surface water drainage.
Transaction Information: This part of the form makes it clear to the Buyer what is required on completion of the transaction including clearing rubbish from the property and where to leave keys on completion.
Fixtures and Contents Form
The new form makes it clearer that the Buyer and the Seller are to negotiate directly or through their agents on what items are to be sold in the property. The form is longer than the previous but it appears to be clearer to complete and read.