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At MG Legal, our team of residential property experts understand that getting the keys to your new home is the ultimate goal, and we are here to help that happen as early as possible. There are, of course, various time scales that, as a property purchaser, you should be aware of. See our Preston solicitors’ blog, in which we discuss these time scales, and what you may expect at each stage of your transaction, here

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There are, however, a number of occasions where access to the property may be required earlier than Completion of the purchase. For example: 

Servicing of appliances 

To arrange the servicing of appliances, such as the boiler/electrics. Within the conveyancing enquiries raised by your property solicitor, if required, the seller may be asked to provide up to date service records and/or test certificates. See more on the conveyancing enquiries your property solicitor raises, and their importance, here. Where, however, the same are not available, and the seller is unwilling to attend to the servicing of the appliances, this may be arranged by the buyer. As such, early access may be requested, in order that the same be attended to. 


To inspect the property. When, initially, visiting the property with the agents and deciding whether to make that offer, or not, there can be a lot to take in. Our team understand that, upon an initial visit to the property, it can, very much, be a case of visioning what colour schemes you may go for, and visioning yourself in your new home. It can, however, mean that important items are missed. For example, amidst the excitement of the viewing, not looking at the boiler and how this seems to be working or checking the openings of windows. These may seem like minor points to check, however, if there is an issue, the same may be dealt with prior to Completion, to avoid issues in the future. It is, therefore, always advisable to ensure that you have viewed the property more than once, and are happy to accept it in the state it is in. 

Attending to required works 

Following on from the above, where issues are revealed, access may be required to attend to various works that are required. In some instances, these may be set out by the mortgage lender. For example, there are significant signs of damp at the property and, as such, the lender has stipulated that damp proofing works are to take place, prior to their mortgage offer being issued. Access would, therefore, need to be arranged, in such cases, to attend to the works, and ensure that the buyer can secure their mortgage finance. 
As you can see, there are a number of instances where access to the property may be required early. This is, however, not a given right, and would be subject to the seller’s agreement. 

So, what are the options available to you, as the prospective purchaser? 

As a property purchaser, there is no legal right of access to the property, prior to Completion of the purchase. There are, however, options available, in order to arrange early access. 
For the purposes of inspection and the servicing of appliances, the buyer may request early access. The seller may accept this, but would always require that the access was supervised, for example, by the estate agents. This is a request that can be put forward by the buyer’s solicitor and, subject to the seller’s agreement, can then be put before the estate agents, whom are able to arrange the access at a time that is suitable for all parties. 
Where, however, the access relates to a more substantive purpose, for example, attending to works at the property, then further provision would be required. This can be arranged between Exchange and Completion by, what is known as, a key undertaking. 
The key undertaking would be a legal document, drafted by your property conveyancing solicitor and would be in place to cover the following: 
- To specify the need for the Undertaking, and the nature of any proposed works, for example. 
- Confirm the full details of any employed contractors, whom will have conduct of the works. 
- To confirm that access is permitted, strictly for the purposes of the works outlined within the undertaking, and no other circumstances. 
- To confirm that the access does not give the buyer the right to any form of occupancy of the property and, for the purposes of the works, the undertaking simply grants access, and no further rights. 
- To confirm who will take responsibility for the keys, and under what terms. This is, commonly, handled by the estate agents. 
- To confirm that the buyer accesses the property, completely, at their own risk and, any liability for damages caused in them doing so, lays with the buyer to remedy, and indemnify the seller against. 
- The undertaking may, also, be accompanied by a schedule of works that are to be carried out. The schedule will allow for absolute clarity on what is to be done at the property, whilst obtaining access by way of the undertaking. 
Undertakings should not be taken lightly, as the consequences of non-compliance with the same can be extremely serious. Your property conveyancing solicitor will be able to assist in this regard, and will ensure that the undertaking is appropriately drafted, to cover all avenues. 
It is, however, important to keep in mind that this may not always be possible, and the seller may simply not be agreeable. It is, therefore, important to have an expert property solicitor on board, who can discuss your options, and work to reach a resolution that suits all involved. 
So, if you are purchasing a property, and require early access to the same, contact our property solicitors in Preston today, at, whom will be on hand to assist you. 
Alternatively, if you have any other conveyancing query, submit an enquiry with us online here, where our local solicitors will be delighted to discuss with you. 
MG Legal – Your Local Solicitors 
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