By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.


Law Society faces backlash over material information forms

The Law Society is facing backlash from conveyancers after issuing new property information reforms that take account of Trading Standards’ material information requirements.

The new TA6 form includes updated questions covering parts B and C of the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team material information guidance such as information on restrictive covenants and flood risks.

The professional body said the aim is that having better informed buyers could help reduce both the time the process takes and the number of sales that fall through.


It said earlier contact between sellers and solicitors may be required.

But members have complained that they weren’t consulted on the changes.

An open letter from the Property Lawyers Action Group (PLAG) highlights that the focus of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) is to "discourage the practice of raising enquiries about every conceivable matter that could possible affect a transaction in favour of fewer targeted, relevant enquires."

This, it said, would reduce transaction times. 

The group warns that there are "unregulated vested interests" who benefit from these reforms such as upfront information providers, which it warms could marginalise lawyers and mean sellers disclose information without the benefit of legal advice that may "permanently undermine or frustrate their sale.”

The Society of Licensed Conveyancers (SLC) is also concerned about the changes, highlighting that the point of material information is to disclose more property specific information during the marketing of a property rather than after an offer has been accepted.

Simon Law, chairperson of the SLC, said: “We are disappointed to note that the forms have been amended without consultation with either the SLC or the Conveyancing Task force.

“The addition of material information to these forms has drastically increased the size of the forms and information required.

“It is further disappointing to note that this was not used as an opportunity to review the wording for the forms.” 

  • Shaun Adams

    In Australia the contract pack is prepared before marketing starts and it is so full that 99.9% of the time no enquiries are raised. The UK needs to get better - we are one of the slowest countries in the world at conveyancing.


    Hi Shaun. We've heard these arguments before, that simply because transactions are faster in other jurisdictions that this means we can simply copy and paste their process and achieve similar results. Unfortunately, It's a fallacious argument unless you also intend to replicate everything that underpins the process, principally the entire legal system.

  • Andrew Kime

    I think the conveyancers are forgetting that this is for the EA to be upfront more on their listings while people are viewing, not another exciting opportunity to profit. Equally, don't forget the surveyors who are needed to complete this guidance and also can acquire searches will do a bespoke report, only retrieving the information the EA need, as most EAs are more than capable of acquiring most of the required information themselves through desktop studies, this is also to reflect on the cost and who has to pay it! It is a good idea for the buyer and possibly move the seller towards filling in the missing pieces, and, as already stated, it will speed up the process. It May work with the sellers, but it comes at a price for them if their property doesn't sell. Lots of discussion about the subject is still needed but is not happening, and I would say 80% of the local EA around me are not even aware of Material Information, which is worrying.


    Hi Andrew, I think you have missed the point. The guidance effects the entire property sector, conveyancers and our clients included. The property market has been plagued by a shortage of stock for years, increasing the red tape as well as the cost for sellers is not going to help anyone. We saw this with home information packs which NTSELAT are now trying desperately to replicate. It is doomed to fail.

  • Shaun Adams

    Hi Colin, the process used to be 3 months now for many it is 5 months. Do you not believe if sols are instructed AML done, full pack done etc we cannot improve our results? I'm not saying replace our system - I'm saying put the steps in place to change things. It is 100% possible with the right positive, constructive, change-embracing mindset.


    Hi Shaun. Certainly things can be improved, conveyancers want improvements as much as anyone else in my experience. Personally I am not opposed to change per se, however I am opposed to these specific changes unfortunately. I often hear people say that UFI is the future, but we tried it over a decade ago with HIPs and it failed. Time for some actual big and bright ideas that aren't being lead by vested interests.

  • Richard Copus

    Australia practises English Law, as do most of the other Commonwealth jurisdictions which have amended the Law of Property Act. It is not necessary to replace the entire legal system (although Scotland is a different matter). When a property is set to go to auction, solicitors are able to prepare exchange ready legal packs within a few weeks in most cases. We have been going round and round in circles with this question for decades. The answer is on our doorstep.


    Hi Richard, your first claim is nuanced but mostly false.

    Your second claim in relation to auctions is mostly true but begs the question, if auctions are so brilliant why not simply put the property up or auction instead of private treaty? It is obvious: because auctions have pros and cons. The packs produced are "exchange ready" (regarding traditional auctions) because buyers usually exchange before conveyancers are even involved. The packs are often not "exchange ready" at all, it is simply the case that there's little buyers can actually do about if it turns out that there is in fact a problem.

  • icon

    All of the above is very interesting. I am sure alot wise persons or orgs. considered these issues before Trading Standards invoked the latest update concerning parts b and c. After all this issue has been banded about for sometime. It seems to have started with general guidance and not detailed clear definitive guidance for agents and surveyors to grab onto to serve the public with the best of intentions without potentially taking on greater risks and liability. When it goes wrong everyone will be trying to blame each other "sloping shoulder etc" - agent, surveyor, client, conveyancer if involved early enough in process. Thank you for your contributions it is enlightenting.

  • Stuart Forsdike PCS Legal

    If you visit the Conveyancing Matters You Tube videos/pod casts we talk to lawyers in different parts of the word to discuss different conveyancing systems which includes Australia, USA, Scotland, South Africa - our conclusion was each system had merit BUT there were massive cultural differences. For example not every country has a Land Registry = you cant compare apples with pears.

    Conveyancing is an important part of the moving process and that shouldn't be understated - it means sometimes things take time and that's because of the money involved and value of property. if it goes wrong you cant just buy another.

    is the national average really 5 months as i don't think this is right. i would say from receiving a contract pack which is when you can start work its far more likely the average to be 3 months

    the topic of material info though is another conversation !!!

  • Samantha Sullivan

    As an estate agent, I would be more than happy to provide all of our sellers a digital version of the TA6 for them to complete, one we can send with our sales memos and one we can refer to to make sure we cover all "material information". I've always included everything I feel is "material information" but no governing body has provided Agents with a clear cut list of what needs to be included, to comply with "material information". I am doing my best to prepare our team, in case there are extra details to include. I am worried that we say there is virgin media or broadband in the area (because that's what it says online) for a buyer to later sue us because they don't have it available to them. What happened to "if in doubt, leave it out".

    Shaun Adams

    You say "no governing body has provided Agents with a clear cut list of what needs to be included, to comply with "material information"."

    Google - material information trading standards and this will answer your questions

  • Samantha Sullivan

    To add, why isn't there some sort of log book available for houses for all this information to be readily available, a passport, a stamp of history, fensa certificates, boiler records, nhbc etc. It should be all available without the need to hope the seller has completed it correctly. You won't get much completed on probate forms.

    Shaun Adams

    google "hbsg log books" and this will answer your questions


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up