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Conveyancing

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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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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