Division C: Home Reports
Liability for Information Contained in Property Questionnaire
Solicitors should make clear to selling clients completing such questionnaires that responsibility for the accuracy and truthfulness of those questionnaires rests with the client.
Solicitors do not have an obligation to check the information contained in the property questionnaire and may accept the statements therein at face value except in circumstances where they are personally aware that the statement is untrue.
Who Can Complete the Property Questionnaire?
The questionnaire should be signed by at least one principal owner acting under authority from any co-owners.
In the view of the Society "Authorised persons" (for the purposes of the Regulation 5(2)) definitely includes those acting under a Power of Attorney, Deed of Trust, Court Order, Solicitors and Duly Authorised Officers of a Company, but may include others with a similar level of formal authority. Care should be taken in cases where only informal authority is available. In the interests of risk management the Society do not recommend that solicitors sign questionnaires on behalf of clients.
Withdrawn from the market
In the view of the Society a property is not "sold" until missives are concluded. Property marked "under offer" is still technically available for sale (admittedly subject to a change of agent in terms of the Society's Gazumping and Gazundering Guidelines). Accordingly for the purposes of Regulation 6 (2) (b) property marked "under offer" should not be deemed "sold" and it should not be deemed "withdrawn from the market" until missives are concluded. On this basis it is the view of the Society that where a property is marked "under offer" and negotiations fall through the existing Home Report could still be used in terms of Regulation 6(2)(b).
Annexation of the Home Report to Offers
While the Society accepts that it is a matter for individual solicitors and their clients the Society does not recommend annexation of the Home Report to offers.