Property Information Form TA6 explained
Although it is not compulsory for a seller to complete, it ‘oils the cogs’ of the conveyancing process because it presents, in a logical format, facts and documents which may be relied upon by the buyer. Much like when you buy a car you want to see the car's full service history and invoices for works done, when you buy a home you would want to see all the invoices and guarantees for any work completed or equipment being sold with the property.
The ‘business end’ of conveyancing starts here
Once the buyer’s solicitor – and the buyer – has the form, then it can be examined to find out about various essential matters, such as, for example, whether the property has central heating or damp proofing with appropriate guarantees.
Depending on what is – or is not – completed in the form, the buyer’s solicitor may then commonly raise further enquiries and direct these to the seller’s solicitor and the seller. This is a clear reason why it is important to fill in the form as accurately and fully as possible: omissions and errors may well trigger further enquiries which will slow down the overall conveyancing process.
Reasonable speed in completing and returning the form is also highly important: it is very common that conveyancing processes are held up while waiting for the seller to complete and return their TA6.
Instructions to the seller
1 The seller is advised to state clearly when they do not have an answer to a question and to consult their solicitor throughout. It is clearly stated here that you don’t have to fill in the form but not to do so is likely to cause delay.
2 The seller is advised to tell their solicitor immediately if they become aware of ‘any information’ which would alter replies that have been given. They are also advised not to change any arrangements concerning the property (e.g. with a tenant or a neighbour) without advising their solicitor.
3The seller is advised not to give incorrect/inaccurate or incomplete information. In addition to the possibility that a buyer might pull out as a consequence, it is clearly stated that ’the buyer may make a claim for compensation from you’. This is the case even though you do not legally have to complete the form.
4 The instructions make clear that a seller can not be expected to have ‘expert knowledge of legal or technical matters’ nor ‘matters that occurred prior to your ownership of the property’.
5 The need for the seller to provide any ‘paperwork’ which assists answering any of the questions is firmly emphasised.
Instructions to the buyer - caveat emptor remains the case
The importance of booking an independent home buyers survey is emphasised regarding getting an opinion on the ‘physical condition of the property’ – it is clearly stated that the form should not be regarded as a substitute for this.
Finally, the point about not regarding the seller as a legal or technical expert and not expecting them to have knowledge of matters prior to their ownership of the property is made.
Clearly, the concept of caveat emptor - or 'let the buyer beware' - still applies as it does throughout the conveyancing area. Although a buyer has some chance of gaining compensation from the seller if, for example, it can be proven that the seller clearly lied about something written on the form or withheld information which they clearly knew about, the buyer still must take as much responsibility as possible for examining their prospective purchase. The encouragement to book an independent property survey is just one example which bears this out.
Subjects addressed by the property information form
1 – Boundaries
Information about who takes responsibility to ‘maintain or repair’ boundaries is considered, among other matters. A question is also asked about whether any notice has been received under the Party Wall Act 1996 regarding shared boundaries.
This concerns the property in question or ‘a property nearby’ and includes disputes with neighbours.
This addresses if there are any notices or proposals known about which might affect the property such as from the local council.
This concerns stating whether or not there are guarantees for work such as timber treatment, roofing, damp proofing, underpinning and electrical work. Where possible, you should provide copies of these, e.g. FENSA certificates (for double glazing) and NHBC certificates (which accompany New Build properties).
Concerns whether the seller has buildings insurance, whether there has been any claims etc.
This concerns matters such as flooding, radon, energy efficiency and Japanese Knotweed. Regarding energy efficiency, the seller is asked to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
This is a legal requirement, about which the Government has stated: “You can be fined between £500 and £5,000 based on the rateable value of the building if you don’t make an EPC available to any prospective buyer or tenant.”
8 – Rights and informal arrangements
This section relates to matters relating to car and vehicle parking and related terms and conditions.
This concerns whether there are payments to a management company for example or for the use of a private drainage system.
Questions about what utilities and services are connected to the property and supplier information.
The seller or sellers have, finally, to sign and date the completed form.