Property Development

19-Point Due Diligence Legal Checklist For Property Developers6th Oct 2017

Property Development

Property developers who get the right documents to their solicitors promptly can speed up build times and sell their new homes faster.

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Here’s a detailed checklist of the documents you’ll need to provide:

1. Guidance Notes 
Good guidance notes for the development make it easy for your buyers (and their solicitors) to understand precisely what they’re purchasing – reducing queries.

2. Location and Floor Plans for Lease/Transfer
It sounds obvious but these must be drawn to a recognised scale with a north point clearly marked.

3. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
Energy Performance Certificates are a legal requirement before any property can be sold or rented. EPCs contain information about a property’s energy use, typical costs and recommendations on how to reduce energy usage and costs. An EPC for each unit being sold will be needed.

4. Planning Decision(s)
Our solicitors will need to see planning permission for the development.

5. Building Regulation Approval(s), Building Regulation Completion Certificate(s)
Any separate Gas Safe/FENSA Certificates (if appropriate) will also be required.

6. Evidence Of Discharge Of Planning Conditions
Has the local authority granting planning permission imposed any conditions? If so, have they been discharged? Our solicitors need to see written confirmation of this – including evidence of any Community Infrastructure Levy payments and copies of all relevant notices.

7. Section 106 Agreement/Unilateral Planning Obligation And Variations
Has the local authority ordered infrastructure enhancements – such as road widening or a new roundabout – as a condition of the development? We need a copy of this Section 106 agreement. 

8. Restrictive Covenant Indemnity Policy
Have you insured yourself against breaching any restrictive covenants attached to the development site? We need a copy of the insurance policy. If you haven’t looked into this then we can assist.

9. Deed of Release/Modification of Covenants
Alternatively, you may have been released from covenants. However, please note that it is vital to seek legal advice from us before contacting anyone benefiting from any covenants. 

10. Land Registry Approved Estate Layout Plan
Is it a large development? The buyers and their solicitors will want to see a copy of the approved estate plan layout. We can assist with obtaining Land Registry approval if you have not done so.

11. Build Guarantee Documentation – Zurich/Premier/NHBC
Please provide us with a copy of the build guarantee documentation and confirmation of registration as soon as possible.

12. Replies To Oyez Enquiries Before Contract 
This is effectively a ‘frequently asked questions’ document that answers the most common queries likely to come from buyers. We will assist you in completing this.

13. Draft Budget
How much will home buyers be expected to contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of any communal areas, gardening/landscaping? Will they need to contribute to a sinking fund? A statement setting out the first year’s anticipated expenditure post completion is very useful.

14. Services Plan
Where will all the utilities run? We will need to see a plan of all the planned new electricity cables, gas mains, water pipes, drains, telecoms/broadband cabling.

15. Certified Copies of Powers of Attorney
Have you nominated anyone to sign important documentation on your behalf? We need to see copies of the powers of attorney and so will your buyers and their solicitors.

16. Postcode Confirmation
Please supply our solicitors with confirmation of the new development’s address and registration with Royal Mail as soon as possible.

17. Any Guarantees Or Warranties
For white goods and appliances.

18. Draft Contract/Draft Lease/Transfer
Solicitors in our commercial property team will prepare these for you – we can draft documents including contracts, leases for residential leasehold flats and transfers of freehold property. We can also assist with setting up management companies and advise on the best way of maintaining common areas post completion. 

19. Freehold Office Copy Entries, Plans, Any Filed Documents
These are official copies of the documents held by the Land Registry. We can help with these.

For More Information

Contact Coles Miller Partner and Commercial Property Solicitor, Kerry Houston-Kypta for more information about all the legal requirements involved in property development, 01202 355695.

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