A Report on Title (‘Report’) is basically a legal update, giving you all the information that your lawyers have discovered about the property. Often they will send you several during the course of the conveyancing so that you are aware of any major issues as soon as they arise.
A typical Report will try to explain everything in a simple manner, but will use lots of terminology that may be confusing at first. This is basically because there is often no other way to express a legal concept without using a convoluted turn of phrase! Below are some examples of likely tricky areas.
- Title; this sets out how the property is held, whether you hold a lease or own it outright (subject of course to your mortgage). If you are buying a flat, it will be a ‘long lease’, which usually starts at 999 years and is therefore in real terms the same as owning the property. To find out about your title, your solicitor will have applied for Official Copies of the title register held by the Land Registry and these may be included in the Report. The only part of this you need to worry about is checking the property is the same as the one you expected, comparing what you know about the land against the Land Registry’s plan. Bear in mind that these plans are notoriously vague, so do not panic if the lines do not exactly match the fences; however, if there is an oddly-shaped boundary, or a large area missing that you thought was included, bring this up with your solicitor.
- Restrictions; this will also usually be on the Official Copies and may refer to other leases or conveyances. If the restriction is important, the solicitor should have gained a copy of the older documents too. However, often these are old agreements between previous landowners which may no longer be relevant. If so, you can apply to the Land Registry to have them removed.
- Condition; usually the property will be sold as seen. Check that any fixtures or fittings you were expecting to be included are specifically listed, otherwise you will not be entitled to them.
- CPSEs or Property Information Forms; these are questions and answers given by the seller’s solicitors. Check that there is nothing obvious missing, such as structural changes that your solicitor may not be aware of, as they will not have physically visited the property.
- Local Authority searches; this includes drainage, roads etc. Your solicitor will be on the lookout for anything unexpected, but these are usually very straightforward if you are buying in a town or city.
- Environment/Survey; these are again usually straightforward. Should there be a need for any further information your solicitor will inform you, as these investigations can be both lengthy and expensive.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the jargon, but pick out the important points in each section to make sure you understand. Always ask your solicitor if you need any more clarification.
The articles in this blog are for guidance only and should not be taken as legal advice. If you would like to further discuss a legal issue please call us on 01752 309090.