News of some recent fruits of the Property Standardisation Group's labours

The founding firms of the Property Standardisation Group (PSG) perhaps underestimated what they were taking on when the PSG was established more than 10 years ago. If we aren’t creating new precedents, we are updating the existing precedents, thanks to the seemingly neverending stream of legislation on property matters and other property initiatives. This note briefly highlights three of the latest developments; more details can be found on the PSG website (www.psglegal.co.uk).

Certificate of title

The City of London Law Society has created a new edition of its well-established precedent certificate of title (now seventh edition). The PSG has updated its Scottish version to a new seventh edition.

The format of the new certificate is radically different from previous editions, in that disclosures are now embedded in the text of the certificate against the statement in question, rather than being collected in a separate part of a schedule. There are various other more minor changes, too. The certificate is accompanied by guidance notes (which explain the changes in format in more detail) and related documents, as before.

RICS small business retail lease

As a further example of cross-border collaboration, the PSG has also been working on a Scottish version of the suite of documents which the RICS recently produced in England and Wales for use in small high street retail lettings. That Scottish suite is now available on the RICS website at www.rics.org/uk/knowledge/more-services/professional-services/small-business-retail-lease.
The suite of documents is designed for use in minor retail lettings for a term of no more than five years, where the terms can be readily agreed and the standard form of lease used in order to speed up the legal process. This is consistent with the PSG approach to standardising the commoditised elements of property work so that property lawyers can concentrate on the bigger issues which only they can properly address. The initiative is also seen by the RICS as a means of assisting retail recovery in the current recession, and that is an objective all of us will endorse.

Green Deal

The Government’s energy efficiency scheme, the “Green Deal”, is now available (in theory at least) for all types of property. All property lawyers, whether working in the residential or commercial fields, need to be aware of the potential impact of the Green Deal on transactions. The PSG has incorporated basic wording in its precedent forms of offer and due diligence questionnaire, with accompanying commentary in guidance notes, in order to flag the issue. Further work on this matter will be done as the profession begins to form a consistent view on how we tackle Green Deal issues in our standard documentation in the future.

PSG contacts:

douglas.hunter@dundas-wilson.com

iain.macniven@ mms.co.uk

rachel.oliphant@ pinsentmasons.com

ann.stewart@ shepwedd.co.uk 

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