The length of the selling conveyancer’s opening letter to the opposing side seems to have grown wildly out of control. I have started to receive a three-page opening letter from a sizeable multi-branch high street firm.
A paragraph on CQS (not that the spirit of the letter follows protocol), on section 2 of the Law of Property (Misc Provisions) Act 1989, on acting for a lender ‘(if any)’, planning and building regulation documents, William Sindall Plc v Cambridgshire CC, Japanese knotweed, not answering general enquiries, requesting purchaser information, bank details, references and fee-earners, deposit interest, authority to sign contracts, undertakings. And so on.
However, the paragraph that causes most concern is: ‘We will not be providing any form of undertaking or warranty regarding the identity of our instructing clients proposing to sell this property. You must rely on your own independent investigation as no warranty is given and no warranty should be treated as given at any time unless expressly stated.’
How is a purchaser’s solicitor supposed to proceed? This is surely notice that the selling solicitor has reservations as to its own client’s identity or it is risk management in the extreme.
Is it old-fashioned to want to get to the business of conveyancing instead of protecting our own interests?
Kieran Weisberg is partner, McCloy Legal, Bradford on Avon