New and improved LPE1 form out soon
The LPE1 Working Group – which includes representatives from the Society of Licensed Conveyancers, the Law Society, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – said that a second edition of the Leasehold Property Enquiries Form (LPE1) is due to be published this month.
Simon Law, chairman of the Society of Licensed Conveyancers, said: “The SLC is delighted to have been part of this important initiative which will serve to improve the buying process for consumers.
“Over time, as standardisation becomes familiar to all property professionals, the quality of information, speed of its provision and potential longer term cost savings will benefit those buying and selling leasehold title.
“Licensed conveyancers, as specialist property lawyers are expected to widely and quickly embrace use of the new forms. The Society believes that further enhancement to the transfer of Leasehold Title can then only be achieved by engagement with the Land Registry in order to fully investigate the role.”
Simon Cooper, associate solicitor, Blacks Direct, explained: “At the moment when a leasehold property / flat is sold the seller’s solicitors send a form (LPE1) to the landlord asking for information about the flat and block of flats as a whole.
“The LPE1 covers matters such as who collects the services charges, ground rent, if the Landlord’s permission is needed before the flat can be sold; if the buyer needs to sign a Deed of Covenant directly with the Landlord; how much the ground rent and services charges are; when they are payable and if there are any arrears that needed to be cleared when the flat is sold. It also deals with any major works anticipated in the near future on the flat or block. And it also deals with the building insurance arrangements, any ongoing disputes in the block and such.”
Normally, the Landlord will either fill out the LPE1 Form, or produce their own ‘Landlord Pack’ which has all the same information in it, then send this to the seller’s solicitors. The seller’s solicitors then pass this information to the buyer’s solicitors so they can report to the buyer on exactly what they are taking on when buying the flat.
The purpose of using the LPE1 form was to standardise the questions and information needed by solicitors. Before the LPE1 Form was introduced solicitors used to use their own forms which varied from firm to firm.
But Cooper added: “The problem was that the current LPE1 form is seven pages long and asks rather a lot of questions.
“Now a second edition will be released this month. The hope is that it should improve the quality of information provided by landlords, help speed up the sale of flats and provide cost savings (landlord’s charge a fee, which can often be very high, for answering the LPE1 Form or providing their ‘Landlord Pack’ so presumably these changes will allow the Landlord to charge a reduced fee for providing this information).”
Firms will start using the updated version of the LPE1 Form once it is issued so all firms are requesting the same information from Landlords and to standardise the process.