Property transactions are frequently delayed because essential plans are not made available at the outset of a transaction.
Why are plans so important?
- Pre contract searches against a property can take weeks to arrive and so it is important that your lawyer applies for them early in any transaction. In order to do that they need a clear plan showing the boundaries of the property that is being acquired or funded.
- Plans are used to identify rights which are granted and reserved over property e.g a right to park cars in allocated spaces; and
- If a transaction needs to be registered at the Land Registry, that cannot be done without a Land Registry compliant plan. Delays in registration mean a delay in acquiring legal title and risk losing priority to another's interest.
What makes a Land Registry compliant plan?
To be Land Registry compliant a plan must:
- have a north point
- be drawn and show the actual scale
- not be distorted or reduced in size - this can happen if the plan is photocopied or printed
- use a scale of 1:1250 to 1:500 -for urban properties or 1:2500 -for rural properties
- not be marked as "for identification purposes only" or have a disclaimer as to its accuracy
- identify the property by reference to roads or other landmarks
- show the full extent of the property and clearly identify different floor levels
- identify property which rights are granted over by using different colours and hatching and
- not be drawn using think lines which may obscure other details
How can I speed up my transaction?
- Check if a Land Registry plan will be required to register your transaction at the outset
- If so, ensure that your plan conforms with the requirements set out above
- Decide who will be responsible for preparing the plan. Plans are usually provided by an owner, seller or landlord but this doesn't need to be the case if there is another quicker option and
- If you are using agents, make sure they know that a plan is required and so they can chase their opposite number if one is not forthcoming.