Enquiries before contract—the basics
Enquiries before contract—the basics

The following Property practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Enquiries before contract—the basics
  • Introduction
  • What are enquiries before contract?
  • Why raise enquiries?
  • Why answer enquiries?
  • What must a seller disclose?
  • Who answers enquiries before contract?
  • Preparing replies to enquiries before contract
  • Limiting liability for the replies
  • Commercial Property Standard Enquiries
  • More...

Coronavirus (COVID-19): The requirements to obtain an EPC before a property is sold or let can be difficult to satisfy when social distancing measures apply. EPC assessments should only be conducted in accordance with government advice on home moving during the coronavirus outbreak and where the EPC assessment can be conducted safely—see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—implications for property — EPCs and social distancing.


Enquiries before contract play a part in various scenarios; for example, they are raised by a purchaser on the acquisition of freehold or leasehold land, by a tenant before the grant of a new lease, by a mortgagee before taking a charge over land or by a landlord before accepting a surrender of a lease. This Practice Note looks at the role of enquiries in the due diligence process and what to do when faced with preliminary enquiries in commercial property transactions. For simplicity, reference here will be made to seller and buyer although this can include landlord and tenant or mortgagor and mortgagee as appropriate.

What are enquiries before contract?

Enquiries before contract (also called pre-contract enquiries or preliminary enquiries) form part of the due diligence carried out by a prospective buyer in a property transaction. Although enquiries before contract are often treated as a stand-alone part of the due diligence process, there is a degree of overlap with a buyer’s title investigation, searches and

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