The Practical Lawyer


Online auctions - pitfalls

Conveyancers must become aware of a new method of property being sold by auction. An increasing number of agents are using the controversial online auction. This is a method of selling and buying property which can be quicker and avoid a chain - a benefit to both sellers and buyers. But there are some pitfalls, particularly for the unwary buyer.

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Party walls awards - conveyancers beware!

Conveyancers are sometimes faced with paperwork from a seller's conveyancer denoting that work is being or has been done to the seller's party wall. The Party Wall Act 1996 provides a framework preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings. A building owner proposing to start work covered by the Act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions in accordance with the procedures under the Act. Adjoining owners can consent to the proposed work or disagree with it, in which case the Act provides a mechanism for resolving disputes.

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Conveyancing protocol - updated

The Law Society has updated the protocol with effect from 19 August 2019. The protocol sets out a framework for the sale and purchase of residential property. CQS accredited firms must use the protocol. Non-CQS firms do not have to use it, but it is considered best practice to do so. The key changes are:

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HMLR - evidence of identity

Practitioners are reminded that forms AP1, FR1 and DS2 require evidence of identity that must be lodged in support of the application for registration. HMLR has issued guidance on when such evidence is required. It points out that if an application includes a statement that might be untrue or misleading, this might amount to fraud. It is thus vital for practitioners to understand the requirements and they must not treat identification evidence as a mere administrative task.

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HMLR plans - defects

HMLR PG40 contains various supplements detailing the requirements in relation to plans accompanying HMLR applications. Supplement 2 (guidance for preparing plans) has been updated to state that:

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The Property Ombudsman – revised Codes of Practice

TPO is a government-approved scheme to provide independent redress in relation to disputes between consumers and property agents. 
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HMLR – witnessing of deeds

HMLR has updated various standard documents (including transfers and assents) by adding a side note in the execution panel on the form to point users to PG8: Execution of deeds. 
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HMLR – avoiding requisitions

If HMLR cannot complete a registration they will raise a requisition which sets out the issues to be resolved and the cancellation date. 
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Boundary agreements – a reminder

HMLR title plans only use the general boundaries rule. This means that HMLR will complete a first registration without making a detailed enquiry as to the precise location of the legal boundary. 
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Execution of deeds by companies – HMLR clarification

Property practitioners might be surprised to see HMLR apologise for a lack of clarity – but this is what has happened in relation to the update of PG 8 – Execution of deeds by corporate bodies.
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