Diary of a high street conveyancer; 3rd May 2022

Diary of a high street conveyancer; 3rd May 2022

Following on from last week and my thoughts about additional enquiries, I note that the discussion surrounding this rumbles on. Everyone seems to object to the raising of enquiries, so who is raising them? And what are the particular questions that everyone seems to be objecting to?

This week, I received a letter from a buyer’s solicitor – four pages of enquiries. It was a REALLY????? moment. You know what I mean – you look at the letter, wonder whether it is a joke, and then put it to one side as you actually don’t have the energy to deal with it straightaway. You also know that the questions that you cannot answer that need to be sent to the client will get a similar response.

So what were the questions? Here is a flavour of what I was expected to answer.

  • Please provide details as to your clients’ use of the rear accessway; a quick look at the filed plan showed that the house was in a road with no rear accessway.
  • Please confirm that your clients have complied with all of the covenants in the title; a quick look at the Office copy entries shows that there are no covenants listed.

But what I actually want to tell you about is a set of contract documents I received this week, where it was clear that the contract and Protocol forms had not been checked by the seller’s lawyer. So these, in my view, are proper enquiries, but my letter raising these enquiries ran to two pages, and it was clear that none of the enquiries would have been necessary had the seller’s lawyer checked the documents before sending them to me. Here is a flavour of those questions:

  • You have provided Office Copy entries for a property which is not the property being sold and this is a property that is not even owned by your client. Please clarify.
  • Please amend your records to show the correct address of the property being sold as it is wrong on your letter and also on the Protocol Forms.
  • Both Protocol forms mention a second seller which has then been deleted by your client  – why do you think that there are two sellers?

These are proper enquiries in my view. They are not computer generated but specific to the documents received and the property being sold. There were more queries but you get my point. It is not about the number of enquiries but the nature of the enquiries, so perhaps we should be looking at the type of enquiries. My purchase cannot proceed unless I have proper answers to these queries. On many occasions, enquiries are unnecessary and do not stop the transaction proceeding. That is what we all need to think about before raising enquiries. But the firms which need to do this probably don’t read this …

This is written by a real high street conveyancer who wishes to remain anonymous. Read more in Today’s Conveyancer every week.

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