How to Complete the Seller’s Property Information Form

The seller’s property information form needs to be completed by the seller in every sale. It is an important document and it is important to answer the questions honestly and as accurately as possible.

You should be aware that giving false or misleading information, whether deliberately or otherwise, can place you at risk of being sued by the purchaser. If there is more than one seller then the form must be signed by all of them. Even if it is completed by just one person, all sellers will need to read the answers given to ensure they agree with them.

Section 1 – Boundaries

The buyer’s solicitor will have seen the title documents however these do not always record who is actually responsible for the boundaries between two properties, and even if they do, it might that in practice one neighbour agrees to maintain a boundary that is actually the responsibility of the other.

Unless you know for a fact who is responsible for the boundaries you should answer “not known” at section 1.1. 1.2 is straightforward; you must simply state the facts. At 1.3 you must disclose anything that you are aware of, including if you have moved a boundary without a neighbour’s consent and/or a boundary has been moved but subsequently returned to its original position.

Section 2 – Disputes and Complaints

This is probably the section that people have most trouble completing. After all, what counts as a “dispute”? Is a verbal exchange sufficient or does it have to be in writing? How much time has to pass before it becomes irrelevant?

The golden rule is, disclose everything. Sometimes a seller will be reticent in case an event which he considers inconsequential puts a buyer off, however whether or not the buyer’s concerns are well founded, if the disclosure is enough to cause him to withdraw from the sale it has the potential to give rise to a claim by the buyer for misrepresentation if it is not disclosed. There is a misconception that if a certain amount of time has passed since the dispute then no disclosure is required – this is not the case.

There have been a number of cases in the recent past where sellers have been sued for many thousands of pounds as a result of failing to disclose disputes to purchasers.

If you believe that the dispute will not recur, for example if the problem was with a neighbour who has since moved on, then the buyer should be advised of this.

Section 3 – Notices

Again, disclose everything here. Notices and negotiations do not have to be formal, it could be that your neighbour has mentioned that he intends to apply for planning permission to build an extension and he has asked you whether you would have any objection. Some examples of more formal notices are a notice of a planning application in the area or of some planned roadworks, or traffic calming measures.

Section 4 – Guarantees

You need to circle two options for each answer here, first “yes” or “no” and second “copies enclosed”, “with deeds” or “lost”. Be careful not to make assumptions. Only circle yes if you know for a fact that a particular guarantee is in existence and likewise, only circle no if you are sure there is not. If you are not sure, for example you think you may have seen one when you purchased but can’t be sure and don’t have it now, then you can indicate this.

If you are enclosing documents you should enclose the originals, as your conveyancer will need to provide them to the purchaser’s conveyancer following completion.

Section 5 – Services

This section is fairly straightforward; though don’t worry if you don’t have a copy of your water bill.

This is only requested to check if the property is connected to mains water and drainage and most buyers will carry out a drainage and water search in any case, which will give them this information. A good way to tell if any drains cross from your property to a neighbour’s is to look for two manhole covers and identify from that the line of the drain.

Section 6 – Sharing With Neighbours

Here you need to detail everything, whether or not you have actually contributed and whether or not you agree that you should have to. If you have any receipts, estimates or demands for payment include copies. You should list any informal, voluntary arrangements here as well as things you are obliged to do, for example if you take turns with your neighbours to cut the grass verges or collect litter, or you are part of a neighbourhood watch scheme, you should detail it here.

Section 7 – Arrangements and Rights

If you are not sure whether a particular piece of land which you use for access or any other purpose is private or public then tell the buyer about it here. The buyer’s conveyancer will be able to tell from the deeds and search results. If someone has objected to your use of a piece of land previously but they have since withdrawn that objection, or you have proved it was not valid, you should still reveal it.

Section 8 – Occupiers

When a person aged 18 years or over is in occupation of a property, he can acquire rights to remain in occupation. This can happen if he has contributed either directly to the purchase of the property or to the mortgage payments for example, or has paid for home improvements. Also, an informal tenant (a lodger), providing he is paying rent may acquire the same rights as someone who has entered into a formal tenancy agreement even though there may be nothing in writing. A spouse or civil partner who is not a joint owner will acquire Home Rights (formerly Matrimonial Home Rights) under the Family Law Act. Even a person with no legal right to occupy cannot lawfully be forced to leave without a warrant for eviction granted by the Court.

The reason for asking the ages of any children is so the conveyancer can check that, during the life of the transaction, they have not turned 18.

Section 9 – Changes to the Property

List any changes of which you are aware, or which you suspect, here and provide copies of any documents such as planning permissions or consents required under any covenant. Planning law splits uses of land into several different “Use Classes” such as residential, food outlets, shops, bars ad restaurants etc and a property can only lawfully be used for a purpose with the Use Class that was allocated when planning permission was granted, so if it was built as a shop for example then a planning application for change of use would have to be made if you wanted to use it for residential purposes. The conversion of a dwelling into two or more dwellings is also a change of use for which permission is required.

Sections 10 – 14

These sections are self explanatory. Make sure that the form is signed by all joint owners and that all joint owners have read, and agree with, the answers. Any moving date you indicate is only provisional at this stage. There are a number of factors which will affect whether it is actually achievable and you should not commit to any arrangement which is dependent on completion having taken place by that date. You should allow a minimum of 4 weeks from a sale being agreed to completion.

Seller’s Property Information Form Part II

Part II is for completion by your conveyancer and you should leave this blank.

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