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Conveyancing

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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Property fraud – seller’s solicitor

While the Mishcon de Reya case has created great uncertainty about the liability of a buyer’s solicitors when there is a property fraud, so another case has raised uncertainties about the liability of the seller’s solicitors.

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Japanese knotweed – private nuisance

In an important case, a county court has held Network Rail liable after Japanese knotweed got into the foundations of homes adjoining railway land. The owners of the properties had been ‘trapped’ by knowledge of knotweed, and could not sell because banks and mortgagees would not grant mortgages on affected properties. After a four-day county court hearing, it was held that there was private nuisance, with Network Rail having to pay damages.

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Most-read articles

Trustees – duty to beneficiaries
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Trustees cannot simply ignore beneficiaries’ request for information about a trust, the High Court has held. In this case, the trust property was a farm outside Cardiff. Read more...
Conveyancing searches – disbursements?
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Should electronic property searches be treated as disbursements for VAT purposes? Alternatively, are they part of the legal service provided, and so subject to VAT? Read more...
Professional – update
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
From December 2018 there will be new rules requiring firms to publish prices for conveyancing, probate, motoring offences and immigration, as well as the price for bringing ET claims.  Read more...
Service mistake – discretion?
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
To what extent do you have a duty to point out the other side’s procedural errors (as part of your obligation to comply with the ‘overriding objective’)? Read more...
Exiting the Portal – reasonable
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Insurers should be very careful about making allegations (for instance, at Stage 2 of the EL/PL Protocol), especially if they could be interpreted as allegations of ‘dishonesty’. Read more...
Airbnb – breach of lease
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
It now seems clear that an Airbnb short let will be in breach of a typical long lease. Read more...
GDPR – data rooms
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
If L is planning to sell a property subject to leases, then almost certainly a data room will be set up containing all relevant documents. Read more...
Rights of way – public
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
There are four categories of public rights of way: Read more...
Financial remedies – company assets
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
A recent ruling illustrates when a court can treat a company-owned asset as as a matrimonial asset. Read more...
GDPR – references
Wednesday, 11 July 2018
GDPR impacts on the giving of references: Read more...

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