The Property Information Form (TA6) is completed by sellers to give important information about their property to the prospective buyer. The explanatory notes are intended to help sellers and buyers understand the information that is being requested and supplied. The covers those subjects that the Law Society deem to be of legal relevance in a property purchase, aside from the legal title.
On 7th February, the Law Society published an updated version of the Property Information Form (TA6) and explanatory notes. This form should be used in all property transactions governed by the Law Society Conveyancing Protocol but it also widely used by conveyancing professionals who are not bound by the Protocol.
The following areas of the form have been updated:
Sections 7.1 to 7.3 – Flood risk
This section has simply been updated to reflect changes to the government department website addresses from which flood risk information is available.
Sections 7.4 and 7.5 – Radon
This section has simply been updated to reflect changes to the government department website address from which radon risk information is available.
Section 7.8 – Japanese Knotweed
The main reason for the Law Society publishing an updated version of the TA6 is in response to a House of Commons Select Committee on Japanese Knotweed recommending “that the Law Society review the wording of the question in its Property Information Forms”. A brief overview of what Japanese Knotweed is and the legal implications on it growing within the boundaries of a property can be found here.
The main changes to the Japanese Knotweed question are:
highlighting that information ought to be provided to a buyer if the seller is aware that there is a treatment plan in place;
replacing the word “eradication” with the phrase “managing its regrowth”; and
adding an “unknown” response on the basis that Knotweed can be difficult for a homeowner to detect
The Law Society has stated that they will review these changes once the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has completed its own research into the treatment of Japanese Knotweed in the conveyancing process in other jurisdictions.
Section 12.5 to 12.9 – Septic Tanks
Section 12.5.1 has been added to include an enquiry as to when the septic tank was replaced/upgraded if the septic tank discharges to a watercourse, in order to take into account the changes in legislation we considered in our blogs on this subject here and here.
Are these changes enough?
Whilst any increase in the number of questions on particular issues in the Property Information Form to reflect the changing legal landscape are welcome, there still remain a significant number of “gaps” in the form such as:
Whether the seller is aware of any proposed change of use of any adjacent properties as opposed to simply being aware of proposals to develop property or land nearby, or of proposals to make alterations to buildings nearby;
Whether any work has been carried out to more than 25% of the roof of the property since the 1st October 2010, for which a Building Regulations certificate should have been issued;
Whether any part of the garden or driveway exceeding five square metres has been covered with an impermeable substance since 1st October 2008, for which Planning Permission should have been obtained;
Whether decking standing 300mm or more above ground level has been installed at the property, for which Planning Permission should have been obtained; and
Whether a solid fuel burning fire or stove has been installed at the property since 1st October 2010, for which a Building Regulations certificate should have been issued.
If you are selling a property, we recommend you make your conveyancer aware of any of these matters if they affect your property, in addition to completing the Property Information Form in accordance with the guidance notes in the form, as well as those available on the Law Society Website. If you are buying a property and believe the property may be affected by any of these additional matters from your visits to it or your survey report, we recommend you make your conveyancer aware of these so that they can raise suitable enquiries with the seller’s solicitor.
If you are buying or selling a property and are looking for an experienced conveyancer to assist, get in touch with Farleys’ residential property solicitors on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.