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Law Society wants to see essential property information given upfront

by Mary Hahn

The Law Society has announced it is to launch a pilot programme designed to provide key information to home buyers at an earlier stage in the conveyancing process than is current practice.

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Details of proposed changes in the TA6 form were announced in March this year. The document, which until now was completed once an offer had been made, contains details of planning and building regulations compliance, service supplies, risk of flooding, and common ground which is shared.

The scheme is to be run by the Law Society through its conveyancing land law committee, digital development company InfoTrack and business management system provider Perfect Portal. This partnership, and the proposed changes they are introducing, aim to provide much more information, considered essential to the conveyancing process, as early as possible.

An earlier stage in the process

Under the new scheme homeowners will be asked questions about their property at a much earlier stage in the sales process, meaning a shortened version of the current TA6 can be completed, and provided to estate agents enabling them to provide potential buyers with information about the property as soon as enquires are made.

Currently, this kind of information is gathered once the conveyancing process has begun, meaning that the sales process is at a much later stage. Should the purchaser decide to withdraw at this point, all parties have been inconvenienced and incurred conveyancing costs. Property purchasers and vendors can find explanations of conveyancing costs widely available online.

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Under the new pilot scheme, the parties can share what could be crucial information at an earlier stage, and potential purchasers will have the information which could influence their proceeding with the purchase to hand.

The regulatory body has identified some questions which can be answered closer to the marketing stage of the property sale. These will now be included in a newly designed Part 1 of the TA6.

Effects of the Covid-19 epidemic

The Law Society believe that the recent Covid-19 pandemic has affected the conveyancing market, accelerating the technological changes that have been seen over the past year, and see this pilot as being a continuation of this process. Their aim is to harness this development and help consumers, conveyancers, and estate agents to collate key information using a wholly digitalised TA6 form.

The new Part 1 of the document, with its questions and answers format, will provide the particulars which a purchaser needs to inform their decision on whether to proceed and will support the initiatives which the industry needs to collate information on the property at an early stage in the conveyancing process.

The aim is to roll out the new forms to licensees and solicitors as soon as a successful pilot has been completed. This should mean that the timeline of the process, from instruction to completion, is reduced.

The Law Society has confirmed it will provide regular updates on the pilot project, including details on how it will be initially rolled out.