What documents do solicitors need when selling a house?

10/09/2023
(Last Updated: 28/09/2023)
1,376
6 min read
When selling a house in England and Wales, you need to complete Property Information Forms supplied by your solicitor and documents you hold. Here are the documents, who provides them and where you can find them:

Documents provided by the solicitor
To be completed by the seller
Documents provided by the seller
  • Client instruction form. This is a long list of questions your solicitor needs to know about you, the property and the ownership. Do you have a mortgage - what's the account number and balance? Do you have any other debts registered? Do you own the property with anyone else? Do you have a deed of trust? This form is between you and your solicitor, so make sure it is completed as detailed as possible.
  • Property Information Form. A standard form, known as a protocol form, asks the same questions and needs to be completed by the seller. The questions range from works to the property and neighbour disputes to issues known about the property. Read more - How to fill in the TA6 Property Information Form.
  • Fittings and Contents Form. Another standard form where you state what is included within the sale price, excluded or for sale within the property. If the seller completes this document and states an item is included, such as the curtains, then they must be left inside of the property for the buyer. Read more - How to fill in the TA10 Fittings and Contents Form.
  • Leasehold Information Form. The final standard form where, if you are selling a leasehold, you state who your freeholder is, notices, service charges and ground rent Read more - How to fill in the TA7 Leasehold Information Form.
  • Proof of Photo ID. Most commonly a passport or driving licence, however, read more - What ID your solicitor will accept?
  • Proof of home address. Most commonly a utility bill or bank statement within the last 3 months.
  • Title deeds. You may hold the original title deeds for your property, which should be sent by special delivery to your solicitor because you can't risk losing them.
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). An EPC is a rating of how energy efficient the property is. You can't market your property unless you have an EPC. This lasts for 10 years, so you may have one from when you purchased your property. Read more - Where can I find my EPC online?
  • Building Regulation Certificates or Planning Permission. The seller needs to provide formal certificates for works undertaken within the property, including electrical work, double glazing, extensions or a conservatory.
  • Evidence of right to sell. Where the seller has died, lost capacity, or the owners are going through a divorce, then the sellers need to provide evidence of the authority to sell, such as a certified copy of the Grant of Probate/Letters of Administration, the Power of Attorney or divorce order. Read more - What is different with a probate sale?.
  • Deed of Trust. Where the seller jointly owns the property as tenants in common, they may have a deed of trust to confirm how to split the proceeds of the sale. Read more - Deed of Trust for Joint Owners of Property.

This is generally what is required of the owner to sell a house, however, the best advice is to provide all documents received by you when you purchased the property, to your solicitor, so they can decide what is needed and what isn't. Some sellers hold onto documents because they are nervous about losing them, however, it can cause delays, so it is best to send them by special delivery and trust your solicitor to look after these for you.

You will find that solicitors and conveyancers charge different fees for the work they do. This is an important article to read to understand why - How much does a solicitor charge to sell a house?.

Sellers can be sued for misrepresentation

Where a seller knowingly doesn't provide documents to their solicitor which could cause the buyer a loss, then the buyer could sue the seller. Read more - Can I Sue Previous Owner?

How long are you liable after selling a house?

Under the Misrepresentation Act of 1967 a buyer has 6 years to bring a claim against the seller. If successful, the contract would be made void and the seller would take back ownership of the property.

When does the solicitor send out the documents?

The property information forms should be sent to the seller within 1 week of instruction. Most of the best online conveyancing solicitors send them out within 24-48 hours and use digital documents so that you can fill them in and sign them online.

If your solicitor hasn't sent you your property forms within the week, or suggests posting them to you, you might want to look for a new solicitor because, for the seller, the start of the conveyancing process is where the longest delays happen. Once you've filled in your documents for the solicitor, then your job is done and it is all over to the buyer and their solicitor to raise enquiries.

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What documents need to be signed when selling a house?

  • Client Instruction Form. This is one of the first documents a solicitor needs the seller to sign when selling a house. This gives the solicitor authority to act on the seller's behalf. Until this is signed and received, the seller's solicitor cannot start any work. This is normally signed digitally, but often in hard copy if the solicitor doesn't use technology.
  • Contract of sale. Part of a pack of documents needed to be signed for the exchange of contracts. All sellers sign it, but don't date it and it doesn't need a witness. This is signed in hard copy and sent back in the post to your solicitor.
  • TR1. Signed and witnessed as a deed by all the sellers but not dated.
  • Deeds or licences. (if applicable) The seller may need to enter into a deed of variation or a licence to alter.
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Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
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Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.


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