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Conveyancing

Japanese knotweed – beware

We reported in our March 2019 edition (p10) on the recent cases involving liability for Japanese knotweed growing on or adjacent to properties. Conveyancers acting for the S will send their client the Property Information Form (TA6) which ask S to indicate whether the property is affected by Japanese knotweed at question 7.8. S’s conveyancer should remind their client that an incorrect reply could leave the seller open to a claim in misrepresentation from a disgruntled buyer.
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HMO licence – sale of L’s interest

We reported in our March 2019 edition (p8) on the basics of an HMO. An HMO is a property rented out by at least three people who are not from one ‘household’ (for example a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. Subject to a couple of exceptions, s61 Housing Act 2004 requires an HMO to be licensed. A L who rents out an unlicensed HMO could be subject to an unlimited fine, criminal proceedings or a refusal of rent payment order (RRO).
 
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Reservation agreements – trial

We reported in our March 2019 edition (p5) on the possible trial of reservation agreements in conveyancing transactions. The government favours the use of reservation agreements to reduce the number of failed conveyancing transactions. The idea of a reservation agreement is to tie in the seller and the buyer once a transaction has been agreed – to avoid one or the other withdrawing without penalty prior to exchange (by which time a lot of time and money might have been expended by everyone in the chain). 
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HMLR – LLC data transfer

We reported in our March 2019 edition (p5) that HMLR has an ongoing project to transfer LLC data, currently held by local authorities, to HMLR. This means that firms requiring LLC searches will need to get the information from HMLR for those authorities whose data has been transferred.
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LPE1 – letter to speed up process

The LPE1 is a standard form which Ls or managing agents will complete when a leasehold property is being sold. The form includes vital information for a prospective buyer such as: contact details for L and managing agent, who accepts service of notice of assignment and the fee, who collects the ground rent and service charge, whether a deed of covenant or licence to assign are required, amount of ground rent, whether a reserve fund exists – to cite just some of the questions. A continuing blight on the conveyancing process is delays relating to the supply of this information.
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HMLR – address for service

Property practitioners are reminded of the importance of ensuring that their client’s address for service is properly and comprehensively stated in the register when making an application to HMLR. Failure to do this properly could result in a negligence claim if a notice affecting a title fails to reach the registered proprietor.
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Non-reliance clauses – conveyancing

The CA has examined the use of non-reliance clauses in conveyancing transactions. The facts involved an L and T matter, but the conclusions are more widely applicable to conveyancing. The parties agreed to enter into a lease of a unit on a trading estate. The L was two companies acting in their capacity as trustees. L’s solicitors provided replies to standard CPSE enquiries which included the following:
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CGT – second homes

Quite rightly, many law firms avoid giving tax advice – they are not accountants. But many law firms act for property investors and buy-to-let landlords and will probably point out the potential CGT liability on the sale of any property that is not their principal private dwelling house. 
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HMLR – avoiding requisitions for lease extensions

We reported in our July/August 2019 edition (p7) on HMLR’s useful summary about how to avoid requisitions in relation to registered transactions. If HMLR cannot complete a registration, they will raise a requisition which sets out the issue/s to be resolved and the cancellation date. Given the problems with the residue of leases it is a useful time to remind practitioners of HMLR’s helpful summary of how to avoid requisitions on applications relating to lease extensions. HMLR points out that this is one of the applications that prompts the most requisitions.
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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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