Conveyancers critique new TA6 forms as they are set to become mandatory

Fresh waves of criticism surrounding the mandatory completion of TA6 forms suggest that the new document is ‘overwhelming’ for both conveyancers and clients. 

The new forms are due to become compulsorily required by the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) on the 25th June. A survey conducted by Bold Legal Group reveals that 70% of conveyancers feel the 32-page document is ‘not helpful’ and a further 58% are concerned the TA6 will increase their PII cover.

Over half of conveyancers surveyed said they will not be using the TA6 forms before the 25th June when it becomes part of the CQS protocol. Just over a quarter (26%) say they will charge clients for assistance with the form after 36% say they have completed the document themselves – the consensus is that ‘clients find the form overwhelming’ and will ‘require help’. The majority of conveyancers who have received back a TA6 found the form incomplete.

Bold Legal Group Rob Hailstone said: 

“Not since HSBC removed thousands of firms from its panel, have I seen so many firms agree on something that could fundamentally affect the conveyancing process. 90% of firms that responded to a Bold Legal Group survey either didn’t think the new TA forms were helpful or were not sure that they were. What will happen on the 25th June when the forms are expected to become part of the CQS protocol, is anyone’s guess.”

The latest iteration of the Buyer’s and Seller’s Property Information (BASPI) schema has been launched with amendments to both Part A (the disclosure of material facts) and Part B (additional information required for the legal process). The release came in the same week as updated TA6 forms were released by The Law Society.

Last week The Law Society came under fire after president Nick Emmerson stated that the updated forms would ‘help facilitate the flow of information from marketing a property by estate agents through to the legal process’. David Jabbari, CEO at Muve offered a rebuttal saying that the Law Society has changed from a ‘credible voice for lawyers to a lawyer obstruction unit – seeking extreme and uncommercial measures that impact the profession’.

The forms have been updated to include more information about the property that can be used for compliance with the National Trading Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) guidance on material information. The new TA6 will identify information surrounding parking, if the area has been affected by coal mining, the prevalence of Japanese Knotweed and building safety. However, Bold Legal’s survey shows that only 11% of conveyancers feel their clients find this information helpful and 82% find the forms ‘hard to complete’.

Bold Legal Group also collected comment on the forms, with many solicitors raising the alarm on the difficulty their clients will face when filling out the TA6 and CQS’s policing of the new document.

Concerns have been raised surrounding non-CQS firms, who don’t have to provide or complete the forms. A solicitor said this would create an ‘uneven playing field’ between firms and solicitors.

They said: “As a non-CQS firms do not have to use this form, and will not do so, this creates an uneven playing field where solicitors who are CQS accredited are forced to use a form that they do not wish to use at all. It also creates a situation where a client who is buying and selling, may use a solicitor and, hence, must complete the new TA6, only to find that the people selling to them are using a non CQS firm and are not bothering to provide the same form.”

One Conveyancer said that he ‘felt sorry’ for his client after receiving a singular complete TA6 form, stating that he had gone through the document and found it ‘incorrectly completed’.

Conveyancers and representative bodies have also taken umbrage at the lack of consultation; the Society of Licensed Conveyancers has expressed its disappointment with Chairperson Simon Law saying:

“We are disappointed to note that the forms have been amended without consultation with. The addition of material information to these forms has drastically increased the size of the forms and information required. It is further disappointing to note that this was not used as an opportunity to review the wording for the forms.”

Gareth Richards, Society of Licensed Conveyancers Deputy Chair said that it is “interesting and not wholly unexpected” to note the level of negative responses to the Law Society’s updated conveyancing protocol forms. He continued:

“…given the drastically increased size of the forms and the nature of the information required.  Whilst we are supportive of the material information requirements, their purpose is to ensure that there is greater disclosure of more property specific information during the marketing of a property, in order to allow potential buyers to be better informed before making an offer.  The key words here are “before they make an offer” and given that the Protocol Forms are generally supplied as part of the Contract documentation received after the offer and acceptance stages of the process, this rather flies in the face of the “before offer” information.

I also feel that an opportunity has been missed to engage with the profession as a whole to review the wording of the Forms, especially as conveyancing enquiries are widely regarded as one of the most contentious stages of the conveyancing process.”

Law Society president Nick Emmerson suggested there was an opportunity for conveyancers to provide support for those wanting help completing the TA6 form, stating:

“Earlier contact between sellers and their solicitors may provide an opportunity to address any issues that could cause delays in the sale process at a later date. We hope that the TA6 will help facilitate the flow of information from marketing a property by estate agents through to the legal process. The aim is that having better informed buyers could help reduce both the time the process takes and the number of sales that fall through.”

Meanwhile, others welcome the changes, stating; “I do not believe that there is any additional liability on solicitors because the questions are not that different and the responsibility is on the seller to complete the form.”

Another said; “I am fully behind the principle of the form but more input from those on the coalface would have been useful.”

Others suggest that having two parts to the form would have been useful, one for the client and another containing legal information that would ‘require assistance’ or the use of an ‘online smart form would have been better’.

Bold Legal Group will be holding a panel session on the new forms and Material Information generally at their Conveyancing Conference on the 19th June.

7 responses

  1. The last twenty years of training thousands of Conveyancers have taught me that there is a goldmine in the collective wisdom of our great profession. Consult widely and expect to hear a range of views, some of which, might persuade you,
    with an open mind, to change your own stance. Ask only a few people though, and you risk developing groupthink which overlooks key factors which ought not to be overlooked.

  2. I recently contacted my local Law Society representatives and expressed my utter distain at how The Law Society is treating its members with the new TA6 form being foisted upon us with zero consultation. They advised that they are aware of the new form and the consternation amongst conveyancers and it was raised at the last council meeting. They further add that further discussion is taking place at TLS and that there are likely to be further developments soon.

    I would urge any conveyancing solicitor to contact their local law society and express your concerns

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