How Consumer Protection Regulations affect environmental searches

How Consumer Protection Regulations affect environmental searches

Location Intelligence experts Groundsure are committed to assisting solicitors with their training especially in light of the new Law Society Practice Note on Consumer Protection Regulations.

The Consumer Protection Regulations apply to any ‘business to consumer’ commercial practice, which in our field would be solicitor / conveyancer to home owner (client). These practices apply to any sale or supply of a product, and can range from simple products like an item of clothing to the services involved in complex processes such as buying a house.

The concept of CPRs is to protect the consumer from banned practices which would lead that consumer to make an informed or uninformed decision on their purchase. This is more than prevalent in the practices of the house buying world. Many consumers are unaware of the processes behind this practice and tend to just pay their solicitor the fees and disbursements. But what are these disbursements and how does the consumer know exactly what they are paying for? Best practice suggests client care letters are a great resource for all solicitors to provide to their clients. Client care letters should include all the relevant information on the searches required in a property transaction. These range from the mandatory drainage and water search and local authority CON29 searches to the Law Society practice note recommended searches such as contaminated land and flood risk reports. To ensure transparency to the client, the fee structure should be detailed within this letter and include any additional disbursements such as extra fees for the search provider in light of any adverse results.

How to overcome misleading omissions and banned practices:

1. Be transparent on what an environmental search is, what is included and who the provider is. This links back to giving insufficient information about the product. It is the solicitor’s duty as per the Law Society Practice Note to provide the consumer with all the information they need to make an informed choice. Groundsure are able to assist solicitors with CPD training on why environmental and other searches should be purchased to ensure their knowledge in this field is up to date.

a. In many property transactions, further reports are required outside the scope of the standard “environmental search”. These included searches such as HS2, Crossrail, Planning and Energy. It should be best practice to ensure all these costs are provided to the consumer up front in a worst case scenario way and be included in the disbursements.

b. It should also be considered that when an environmental report is failed / In Need of Further Assessment that the potential cost implications such as local authority fees are provided to the consumer at the time of purchase. As the price of a product in most circumstances is material information, not providing this in a timely fashion before a transactional decision is made is likely to amount to a misleading omission.

3. Do not omit material information that the average consumer needs. Ensure the full environmental report, not just the first page is provided to the consumer. Ensure all information is disclosed.

Why is this important?

A consumer now has a new right to seek damages from the “trader” if they incur financial loss that they wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for the “trader’s” actions. In the world of conveyancing and home buying, the purchaser will have recourse to the solicitor for non-disclosure of essential information that could have impacted their decision to purchase a property or not.

Ensure you are ahead of the game with Groundsure’s expert CPD and webinar programme.

This article was submitted to be published by Groundsure as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer. 

Groundsure

http://www.groundsure.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Giving customers confidence and clarity, in land and property transactions.

The smartest land and property decisions rest on location intelligence from Groundsure.

Groundsure is a UK authority on environmental risks including land contamination, flooding and ground stability. It provides high value, property-specific opinions, and analysis of land use based on the leading datasets that it collects and curates.

Groundsure helps a range of individuals and businesses make fully informed property transaction decisions including:

  • Solicitors
  • Conveyancers
  • Property Lawyers
  • Property Support Lawyers
  • Financial institutions/Building societies/Lenders
  • Homebuyers
  • Developers

Groundsure turns data into practical, actionable insight. Its customers feel confident and able to understand that data and what it means for them, helping them make property decisions and advise their clients with confidence and clarity. To ensure Groundsure delivers the most up to date environmental data it partners with leading data, mapping and technology providers including but not limited to the Environment Agency, Ordnance Survey, the British Geological Survey and Ambiental.

 

Delivering industry best practice

We believe in following solid and honest business principles and industry best practice. We are committed to delivering market-leading products and customer excellence. We deliver this by following stringent operational processes for every aspect of our business, whether that’s our Data Governance Council or our Senior Management Boards through to delivering customer excellence every day.

As a result of our firm belief in the importance of accurate and reliable data governance Groundsure is a founding member of the Conveyancing Information Executive (www.conveyinfoexec.org).

Partnerships

We continually support, and learn from, our own community of approved Groundsure property-search resellers. This way we can guarantee their sales and customer-service teams know every aspect of our products and services. And we can know these offerings are 100% fit for their client’s needs, providing more empowering data and opinion, and enabling exceptional due diligence.

Key Services

Contact: Dave Phillips
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 08444 159 000

Address
Groundsure Ltd.
Sovereign House,
Church Street,
Brighton
BN1 1UJ

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