How can the updated CON enquiry forms help buyers?

How can the updated CON enquiry forms help buyers?
What is the most important thing for buyers to consider before buying a property? Jonathan Smithers, property law experts and partner at CooperBurnett LLP, examines how the updated form of enquiries CON 29 and CON290 and the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 could assist buyers.

Can buyers be confident that the revised CON enquiry forms will provide them with a comprehensive view of the property?

The revised form is designed to take account of some changes in law and practice, for example, the introduction of community infrastructure levy. As with the previous version, they are not designed to be used in isolation but as part of the due diligence process which a solicitor would carry out when acting for a purchaser.

Will the additional questions create a significant amount of extra work and cost for local authorities and do they have the resources to cope?

We have carried out a public consultation and have been working with the Local Land Charges Institute and the local authorities. The re-arrangement of some of the questions, particularly in relation to rights of way, will need some work and we are liaising with them as to what impact that may have on costs.

Is it likely that turnaround times for responses will be longer and if so could that delay property transactions?

That is not a question for me but I would suggest that even if it were, that is unlikely to affect property transactions as it is very rare that the local search is the last item anyone is waiting for, that is usually the mortgage offer and more likely to be now so given the dampening effect on applications bought in by the Mortgage Market Review.

Is there a risk that the inclusion of a new question relating to proximity to HS2 could potentially blight properties?

It is important the buyers have as much information as they can about the property and to find it easily. Major rail infrastructure projects are relatively new, but this should not be hidden from a buyer.

Is it likely that responses to questions relating to risk management notices and drainage consents could deter many buyers from purchasing affected properties?

Again, buyers will want the best information and the local search, in this respect, is only one of a number of avenues to obtain such information. I would suggest that if anybody is deterred, it is because the property may be at risk rather than the fact that there are notices.

Interviewed by Nicola Laver. The views expressed by our Legal Analysis interviewees are not necessarily those of the proprietor. his article was first published in LexisPSL Property on 6 June 2014. Click here for a free one week trial of Lexis®PSL Property. 

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