Law Spot

Your Conveyancing Questions – Answered


Experienced Conveyancing specialist Jane Pringle answers your property questions and explains some of the most common misconceptions.

What is a conveyancing chain and how does it affect me?

Owners of properties looking to move to a new property will wish both matters to exchange and complete simultaneously. Therefore, several linked transactions can arise, with each matter being dependent upon the other. The exchange of contracts must take place simultaneously throughout the (chain) of transactions. However, the speed of progress will be determined by the slowest link within the chain. As will be anticipated, often the more transactions linked within the chain, the slower the matter will take to get to a formal exchange of contracts. 

What is the difference between the exchange of contracts and completion?

A completion date is a date on which you physically move into your new property. The completion date is decided and legally committed to on exchange of contracts. Where there is a chain, the speed of completion may also be effected while the funds are sent and received through the individual solicitor’s bank accounts.

When must I insure the property?

The contract will normally stipulate that you insure from the exchange of contracts. If you are obtaining mortgage finance then the lender will also require insurance to be put on risk as for an exchange of contracts and will need to satisfy their conditions as contained within their offer. If you are purchasing a leasehold property then it is normal for the freeholder to insure. Therefore, you will not need to insure the building but will still need to arrange insurance for the contents as from the date of completion.

Should you intend to rent the property then please mention this to either your broker or the insurance company directly when obtaining a quote and before putting the policy on risk.

Can I let the property?
If you are buying with the aid of mortgage finance then you will need to obtain the consent of the lender before doing so. Again, if the property is leasehold then you may also require the consent of the freeholder. You should ensure that you check the terms of the mortgage offer and the lease before renting out the property.

Can I stay at my property after completion?
This would not normally be authorised under the terms of the contract. Those contracts would provide vacant possession on completion to include removal of your furniture and belongings. Failure to do so will result in you being served with a notice to complete which will incur additional costs and interests.

Can I have access to the property if it is empty?
Not normally as the contract will again provide that vacant possession is to be given when formal completion has taken place.
Limited access to an empty property may be granted by the seller, where it has been agreed that essential works are required before completion.

For further information or any other conveyancing questions you may have, please contact a member of the Conveyancing team.

Jane Pringle

Jane Pringle

Associate and Residential Conveyancing Lawyer