The Practical Lawyer


Law firm ID – online checks

Many firms use the online Law Society database to check on the ID of the other side. But, what happens if the Law Society database is inaccurate?
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Caveat emptor – consumer transactions

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regs 2008 have been in force for almost eight years. But, they have only applied to real estate since October 2014. For conveyancers, the important point to note is that these Consumer Protection Regs undermine the principle ofcaveat emptor (‘let the buyer beware’). Traditionally, this meant that a seller did not have to disclose adverse information (subject to an exception for latent defects in title, or a contract induced by fraud).
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Fraud – both sides liable!

This is a case that will make every conveyancer sit up and take notice. The case involved ID fraud (ie a fraudster selling someone else’s property to an innocent buyer), with the end result that both sets of lawyers – the buyer’s and the seller’s – were 50/50 liable, even though neither had been dishonest or involved in the fraud.
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CPSE.4 and .6 – new versions

There are new versions of the Commercial Properties Standard Enquiries Forms 4 (supplementary enquiries for commercial leasehold property on assignment) and 6 (supplementary enquiries for properties subject to residential tenancies).
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Conveyancing – not price-dependent

A recent survey shows that the ‘price’ of conveyancing has almost completely stopped being a determining factor when a buyer chooses which conveyancer to use. Apparently, only 11% of buyers choose the cheapest fee quote (down from 20% in 2013). 
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Conveyancing – mortgage abuse

Recently, there has been much focus on identity fraud and cyberfraud. But, it should not be forgotten that practitioners need to also look for more traditional types of fraud – especially those involving lenders. For instance, buy-to-let fraud is still a problem. 
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Receiver – deed of release?

Suppose a property is subject to a fixed charge under a debenture, and that property is now to be sold by a receiver. Will the buyer need a deed of release?
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Overhang – insure?

 If a new development includes an overhang over the public highway (eg a balcony) then it will be necessary to get the appropriate licence from the Highway Authority. Moreover, developers should be aware of the possibility of the airspace above the highway being in third-party ownership, in which case an easement or licence to overhang will need to be negotiated. Without such an easement there is a risk of trespass (which would probably be concluded by payment of a premium for release of the injunction and grant of oversail rights).

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Rectification – not in possession

The Register can be altered (rectified) to correct a mistake. Under Sched 4 LRA 2002:

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Conveyancers – CPUT Regs

As part of the ongoing reform of consumer law, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regs 2008 have been amended (by 2014 Regs). These revised regs have important implications for conveyancers, and the Law Society has issued guidance on the topic.

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