Glossary of Conveyancing Terms
exchange of contracts
This is the physical exchange of the two copies of the contract, one of which has been signed by the buyer and the other of which has been signed by the seller. This is the point from which the agreement by the buyer to buy the property and the seller to sell the property become legally enforceable one against the other.
This is the date, fixed in the contract, for the transfer of ownership. It is the date on which the seller must move out of the property and the date on which the buyer may move in. It is also the date on which the buyer pays and the seller receives the purchase price.
registration of title
All land is either registered, i.e. ownership is recorded at the Land Registry and each separate property is allocated a title number, or unregistered, i.e. proved by producing the deeds showing the history of ownership ending with the seller. The law now requires, in all cases, that where ownership of unregistered land is transferred it must be registered. The Land Registry is a government department. Registered land enjoys a government guarantee. For more information you can visit the Land Registry website.
This used to involve one search which was the local search. The local search is now only one of a number of searches which as your solicitors we may need to carry out to ensure that the property is not adversely affected by a range of issues.
This is the standard preliminary search of the local Land Charges register and includes standard enquiries of the district council. It covers matters such as road charges, whether the property fronts a public road, whether there are proposals for new roads or road widening schemes near the property and whether there are planning issues which directly affect the property. There are optional enquiries about footpaths, pipelines and certain other issues. The local search only provides information about the property itself. Apart from road proposals it will not reveal neighbouring developments which may affect the property.
This used to be part of the local search but is no longer. It provides information about the water supply and surface and foul water drainage for the property.
This is a more recently introduced search facility which reveals the existence of planning permissions in the area neighbouring your property which may affect the value of or the enjoyment of your property but which would not be revealed in your local search.
This is a search of various land use databases which seeks to establish whether past or present land use, on or near the property, is likely to have contaminated it. As well as contaminated land having direct or indirect health repercussions there is a statutory obligation to clear up or “remediate” contaminated land. This obligation falls primarily on the person who has caused the contamination in the first place but could fall on the owner if the original polluter cannot be found.
This is a search of the Register of Commons and Town and Village Greens. This will determine if any part of the property is subject to a “right of common”. Rights of common include rights to hold a fair, the right to use the land generally for recreation and the right to graze animals.
chancel repair search
Such searches determine whether a property is subject to a liability to contribute towards the cost of repairing the chancel of a church. There are different types of chancel repair searches. Some can determine whether or not an individual property has such a liability whereas others will only determine whether or not a property lies within a parish where such a liability may exist.
These are questions addressed to the seller about the property. They are in standard form and as your solicitor we will ask such additional questions as we consider appropriate once we have seen the papers, and such further questions we think necessary once we have seen the seller’s replies and received the results of our preliminary searches. The seller is required to answer these questions to the best of his knowledge. They cover issues such as the sharing of facilities with neighbours, disputes with neighbours, planning and building matters and formal or informal rights enjoyed by or exercised over the property.
This is part of the price which is paid when the contracts are exchanged. This is normally 10% of the purchase price.
This is the document which records the loan from your mortgage lender. It gives the lender certain rights over the property, such as taking possession and selling the property, which the lender can exercise if you do not maintain the mortgage loan payments.
This is the document which transfers ownership from the seller to the buyer.
This is the name of the transfer document when unregistered land is involved.