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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.
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 contract negotiation.
Enquiries before contract take the form of questions asked directly of the seller by the buyer (although almost invariably
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