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Conveyancing

Parking rights – easement?

A document (which called itself a ‘lease’) granted ‘parking rights’ over two specific car parking spaces. What was the effect of the document: was it a binding lease, or was it merely an easement?

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SCPC – 3rd edition

A new (3rd) edition of the Standard Commercial Property Conditions has been published. These are of fundamental importance for those involved in the sale or letting of commercial property. There are important changes to VAT, insurance, and special conditions, all of which are dealt with by separate entries below. Otherwise, there are numerous changes to note, including:

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SCPC – VAT

The 3rd edition of the Standard Commercial Property Conditions reverses the previous position on VAT by providing that the seller warrants that the sale of the property will constitute a supply chargeable to VAT at the standard rate.

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SCPC – insurance

The 3rd edition of the Standard Commercial Property Conditions now contains an express statement that the property is at the buyer’s risk from exchange; this was implicit in the 2nd edition but is now express.

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LR – transfer fees

You cannot normally save money on transfer fees by putting more than one transfer in a single document. The fee is payable on the ‘transfer’ (ie the act of transferring), not the deed or form that effects the transfer. Thus, separate fees are required for what are really multiple dispositions. For instance:

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SDLT – transitional rules

If a client is buying off plan, and so exchanging well before the completion date, then it is worth being aware of the traditional transitional rules where there is a change in SDLT. Broadly, if a contract has been entered into before a specific date then the buyer will pay the old (typically lower) SDLT rate, unless on or after that date there has been: 

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Off-plan buyer – register a notice

What happens if an off-plan buyer exchanges contracts, pays a deposit, and then the developer goes bust?

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Enquiries – non-reliance clause

The general rule is that you cannot rely on a ‘non-reliance’ clause if it turns out there has been a misrepresentation in the replies to enquiries.

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Fraud – buyers’ solicitors liable!

Last month we noted the important – and worrying – case involving Mishcon de Reya, who acted for an innocent buyer in a conveyancing fraud (with the fraudster using false ID to sell someone else’s property). The seller’s solicitors admitted they had not carried out full ID checks, but it was the buyer’s solicitors who were held to be liable. They had not been negligent, and had acted both reasonably and honestly. But, since they were better placed to bear the loss (ie they were insured) they were held to be liable.

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Enquiries – ‘not so far as we are aware’

It is not uncommon, especially with commercial pre-contract enquiries, for a seller to respond ‘not so far as we are aware’. But, such an answer should not be given as a lazy way of trying to avoid liability – there may be liability for misrepresentation if reasonable checks have not been taken to ensure that the reply is accurate.

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