Avoiding negligence claims in residential conveyancing
Given the current situation with working from home being the norm alongside the high volumes of work and the deadlines generated by the SDLT window, it is important to heighten awareness of what can cause negligence claims.
I have delivered webinars and courses on these topics for many years and whilst new areas of claim such as property fraud related claims have become more prevalent, it is sad that the same old problems create claims. The short message is do the simple things well – a mantra I repeat at every opportunity.
Here are my top ten tips for staying on track in conveyancing during a difficult climate.
- Searches and Enquiries: Failing to do searches or to receive TA forms, and or failing to report search results, or information within TA forms to clients. This would include a failure to advise the client of adverse entries.
- Failure to register dispositions (transfers and legal charges) within priority including a failure to submit OS1 OS2 at all or before completion.
- Defective investigation of title – poor due diligence registered title not being an absolute title, incorrect extent of registered title, unregistered titles incapable of being registered with an absolute title.
- Failing to recognise the client objective and ensuring title and information due diligence reveals does not prevent that objective.
- Failing to perform due diligence on the enforceability of restrictive covenants or easements.
- Failing to ensure planning permission and building regulation certificates and consents are available before exchange and again do not impinge on client objective.
- Failing to give clients guidance on the conveyancing process and the role of the client in that process – client inspection and survey.
- Failure to give appropriate advice on co-ownership.
- Failing to give advice on leasehold transactions – the difference between leasehold and freehold ownership and failing to advise clients about duties and obligations contained in the lease.
- Claims relating to property fraud – seller identity fraud, email hacking etc.
Ian Quayle qualified as a solicitor and worked in private practice for 12 years specialising in property law matters. He has since delivered over 1500 training courses to legal professionals in city and regional firms, local law societies, local authorities and students. Connect with Ian on LinkedIn here.