Q&As

A notice to complete is served in relation to the sale of a property bought at auction under the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Common Auction Conditions. The notice is served under the General Auction Conditions of Sale but mistakenly the notice makes reference to the ‘Special Conditions’ and not the ‘General Auction Conditions’. Will this mistake invalidate the notice to complete? Is it possible to serve a second correct notice to complete and, if so, will it be necessary to wait until the initial notice to complete has expired before doing so?

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Published on LexisPSL on 15/04/2016

The following Property Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A notice to complete is served in relation to the sale of a property bought at auction under the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Common Auction Conditions. The notice is served under the General Auction Conditions of Sale but mistakenly the notice makes reference to the ‘Special Conditions’ and not the ‘General Auction Conditions’. Will this mistake invalidate the notice to complete? Is it possible to serve a second correct notice to complete and, if so, will it be necessary to wait until the initial notice to complete has expired before doing so?

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Common Auction Conditions (see RICS—Auctioneers selling real estate (incorporating Common Auction Conditions) (7th edition)) make provision for the service of a notice to complete by either the seller or the buyer. Service requires the other to complete within ten business days, excluding the date on which notice is given, making time of the essence. There is no prescribed form. It mirrors the provision which is made, for example, in the Law Society’s Fifth Edition of the Standard Conditions of Sale. The RICS Conditions comprise General Conditions and Special Conditions.

The common law rule was that notice to complete had to stipulate a reasonable time for compliance. A court could decide however that in the circumstances of the particular contract, the period given was not reasonable, with the result that the notice would be invalid. The Law Society’s Standard Conditions of Sale make provision therefore for the p

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