Selling your home equals unavoidable paperwork. And nestled among it will be the Seller’s Property Information Form (SPIF). Here’s what you should know.
What is it?
The Seller’s Property Information Form – or TA6 to give it its technical name – is one of the protocol documents your solicitor will send to you. It’s essentially a questionnaire for anyone selling a home – in which you’re forced to spill the beans.
You’ll need to disclose all kinds of information to your buyer, ranging from cracks in the walls to ongoing disputes with the neighbours.
Your answers will be carefully reviewed by the buyer’s solicitor as part of their investigation of your property. They’ll use the form to consider if there are any reasons why their client should not go ahead with the purchase.
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How long have these forms been around?
The Seller’s Property Information Form (SPIF) is part of what’s known as ‘conveyancing protocol’ which was introduced in 1990 as a means of streamlining the conveyancing process. The SPIF replaced what used to be the ‘Standard Enquiries of Sale’ form.
How long is it?
Around 16 pages.
When will I receive it?
The SPIF will be one of the first pieces of documentation you receive from your solicitor when selling your property.
What kind of information do I need to disclose?
- Information on boundaries – those between you and your neighbours
- Details of any disputes or complaints with neighbours
- Notices of development or planning permission of nearby properties
- Alterations and building work that been done on the property (including copies of any planning permissions and building regulations approvals)
- Information about guarantees and warranties
- Buildings insurance details
- Information about environmental matters, such as flooding, energy efficiency, and Japanese knotweed
- Details of rights and informal arrangements, such as access or shared use
- Information about parking – including whether the property is in a controlled parking zone or local authority parking scheme
What if I get stuck?
Contact your solicitor who will be able to help. The Law Society also offers lots of advice and guidance.
What are the legal implications if I withhold information?
While it may be tempting to tell the odd white lie to ensure the sale, it’s imperative you are honest on the SPIF. If you give inaccurate or incomplete information, the buyer could make a claim for compensation, even after the sale has gone through.
If a court finds you guilty of misrepresentation you may have to pay damages running into thousands – or tens of thousands – of pounds.
But that said, it cuts both ways – and the seller of the home you are buying will have to be equally honest and transparent in the SPIF they give to you.
How long will it take?
This document can’t be rushed, so set aside proper time to fill it out and give it your full attention. Make sure your writing is legible and you explain things clearly.
What if I really don’t know the answer?
You must ensure the form is completed to the best of your knowledge but if you genuinely don’t know the answer to a question, you can state this. However, don’t use this as a means of avoiding something the buyer ought to know. In this case, ask your solicitor for further advice.
Can I add information later?
If you become aware of any information which would alter any replies you have given after the form has been submitted, inform you solicitor immediately. They can then notify the buyer’s solicitors.
Any other tips?
Once you’ve filled out the SPIF, be sure to make a copy to keep for your own records – either by scanning or photocopying it.