New Updates to the Conveyancing 'Protocol' Forms, and how these changes will affect your property sale!
Posted on 12th February 2020
The Protocol Forms are a set of documents, prescribed by the Law Society which, as part of the Conveyancing Protocol, provide guidance in respect of sale and purchase transactions. These forms are used by your solicitors in Preston on a daily basis.
The Property Information Form, also known as the TA6, is an extremely useful document that is used within the conveyancing process. The TA6 is accompanied by the Fittings and Contents Form, also known as the TA10, which advises property buyers exactly which items the seller intends to leave at, and take from, the property upon Completion. We have a helpful guide on how to fill this form in, here. In addition, where applicable, the seller completes the Leasehold Information Form, also known as the TA7, providing specific information regarding leasehold items affecting the property, where applicable.
The Property Information Form (TA6) covers a range of items that provide extensive information about the property, from responsibility for property boundaries, to when the boiler was last serviced. This is one of the documents which forms the Contract Pack, sent by the seller’s solicitor to the buyer’s solicitor. It is, at this point, that the conveyancing solicitor, acting for the buyer, has the opportunity to review the document and raise any necessary queries as a result.
The same has, by some, been criticised as becoming outdated. Such comments have been heard, and addressed, by the Law Society who have recently announced updates in four key aspects within the Form. A specimen Form can be viewed by following this link, here.
The changes are set to revamp the questions surrounding Japanese knotweed, flood risk, radon gas and septic tanks. As you will note, these items are all of high importance within your conveyancing transaction and may influence a potential buyer in whether they wish to proceed; hence the need for these issues to be revisited and brought up to speed with 2020 requirements.
- Septic Tanks: As more and more properties are now connected to the mains sewers, the need for septic tanks has become less frequent. There are, however, still a number of septic tanks in existence, and serving properties across the UK. As the demands and needs for septic tanks has changed, it only seems right that the Property Information adapts to accommodate the same.
- Radon Gas: Radon Gas is a naturally occurring gas that can pose a risk to our health. As such, this would be an item picked up within the conveyancing searches. With the current climate we face, there is no doubt that such levels of gas, and other potentially harmful substances, may be affecting certain areas and properties. Again, this has highlighted the need for the enquiries of a seller to be updated in order to account for such changes.
- Flood Risk: Global warming is affecting us in more ways than one and, many would in no way consider the same affecting their conveyance. See our blog on how this may be set to change by following this link. With increased flooding taking our properties by storm, quite literally in some cases, the questions within the TA6 concerning flooding are also to be addressed within the updated Form.
- Japanese Knotweed: Following on from the above, increased flood risks are, in turn, resulting in increased numbers of Japanese knotweed occasioning in new locations. It is, therefore, no wonder that such issues are being adapted to current needs and requirements within the buying and selling process.
The changes in respect of knotweed have been brought about as a result of criticisms, by the House of Commons Select Committee, on the wording of how this matter is approached within the Protocol Forms. Changes have arisen which will now outline that information should be provided to potential buyers confirming, where the weed is present, if there is a treatment plan in place to manage the same.
As Japanese Knotweed presents itself as a weed, it can, in many cases, be very hard to detect. On this basis, the Property Information Form is to allow sellers to respond ‘unknown’ as some may, simply, not know whether the same is present within their land.
The Law society have gone on to comment further that they will continue to review this issue and, where necessary, make any applicable amendments in the future.
As you can see, the changes are being brought about as a result of the changes we face to our daily lives. From the outset, the same may not seem at all relevant to how your conveyance may be affected, however, the Law Society are highlighting the need for change, and addressing the same within practice.
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