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Property conveyancing boring? Not on your life!

Signpost saying Reality Check Ahead

Sign saying Reality Check AheadOh, it’s straightforward right? These words can be the forerunner of doom in a conveyancing transaction because it may mean that the client is either over-optimistic or inexperienced. Bringing a conveyancing transaction to a satisfactory conclusion involves dozens of processes many of which could be termed ‘standard’ such as the application for searches and raising enquiries of a seller through to registration of the transaction at the Land Registry. But standard should not be mistaken for straightforward.

No two transactions are the same. Quite regularly something crops up in a title which can still come as a surprise to even the most experienced conveyancer, and sometimes even a welcome light relief to the seriousness of a conveyancing transaction. Cambridge property conveyancer Helen Murphy reflects on the more unusual cases with which Barr Ellison Solicitors has dealt.

To bee or not to bee: People like to do their bit for the environment. None more so than one of our commercial clients Pest Patrol Limited, a local pest control company. They bought 8 acres of agricultural land so that they could transfer bees to hives, rather than have them killed as pests. A very commendable and far-sighted use of land, particularly given the worry over the decline of our domestic bees. They now have hundreds of bee hives and rising.

Enemy action: Many cities in England were bombed mercilessly during raids carried out in the Second World War. Colchester was one of those cities and this is probably what has resulted in a rather strange entry on a Land Registry title: “The deeds and documents of title … destroyed by enemy action …”. Title was subsequently reconstituted to a full title, but no doubt many original documents, held by solicitors’ firms, were lost as a result of bombing raids.

© Tatiana Sayig | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Tatiana Sayig | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Grave decision: Planning for one’s own funeral may sound quite macabre, and you may think that this would have little to do with property documents. Not so. Owners of property are permitted (provided certain conditions are met) to bury loved ones in their own gardens and grounds. If they do that, then the burial registration must be kept with the title documents and, if the land is registered, a note made on the title so that the location of the grave can be noted on the title plan.

Preserve your modesty! Most leasehold properties are subject to a large number of covenants (legally binding promises) which restrict what a leaseholder can and can’t do. One of the strangest covenants the team have come across was a restriction against hanging bathing costumes outside of a property! Whilst this is not seen often in the Cambridge area, it is quite a common covenant for properties in coastal or tourist regions and, in this case, the property was in Eastbourne.

If your conveyancer discovers something slightly odd in your title, or about your property, don’t despair. It could provide you with a unique selling point if and when you choose to sell the property at some future point.

By Helen Murphy, Head of the Residential Conveyancing Team at Cambridge solicitors Barr Ellison.

Disclaimer: While we do all that is possible in terms of ensuring its accuracy, this blog contains general information only. Nothing in these pages constitutes legal advice. You need to consult a suitably qualified lawyer from the firm on any specific legal problem or matter.


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