Diary of a high street conveyancer: 22nd April 2024

I am acting in the sale of a house. I drafted the contract this week to send to the buyer’s solicitor. When I downloaded the Official copy entries, the title was easy – the Property Register just stated that the house was freehold and gave the full address and the Proprietorship Register just had the names of the owners. 

No rights, reservations, easements, restrictive covenants. Thinking that this could not be right, I checked the filed plan.  No rights of way, no shared driveways.  I checked the estate agents’ Particulars of Sale.  No extensions, no loft conversion or other works that I could see. The original chimney breasts appeared to be in place.  I checked the Property Information form as completed by the seller. There was nothing on which I would have asked anything.

I sent the documents to the buyer’s solicitor  – and do you know what happened next? I received two pages – yes, TWO PAGES – of enquiries.  How? Why? What?

The enquiries ranged from questions asking whether I had checked identity and whether I had written to the seller at the property through to asking me to check the titles of the neighbouring properties to see if anything had been missed when the property was first registered.

Why? Are we now all so conditioned to raise enquiries that we have to assume that it is wrong if there are no entries in the title?  Be confident with the title – don’t raise unnecessary enquiries.

2 Responses

  1. I would at that point be half tempted to suggest that the buyer might be better off with another law firm but to suggest such a thing would be most unprofessional. No doubt there are other worries like having consent for a dropped kerb especially if the property is 50 years old and everyone else has offroad parking*

    Common sense seems to be lacking this profession.

    1. I’d argue that not calling the behaviour out only further enables it.

      Concerns over being viewed as unprofessional are understandable.

      However, consideration needs to be given to where ‘keeping your mouth shut in the name of professionalism ‘ has in fact become ‘enabling the further degradation of standards within a profession I love’

      No point being Nero.

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