Selling a property: why the SPIF is important

Selling a property: why the SPIF is important

The Seller Property Information Form (SPIF) is essential for a smooth property sale

When you’re selling a property, you will at some point be asked to complete a Seller Property Information Form (SPIF). The form looks pretty daunting and it asks for a lot of detail, but don’t put off completing it! It could slow down the whole process if the buyer and their conveyancer don’t have all the information on the form.

Joanne Collins, Conveyancing Manager at PM Property Lawyers, comments, “Getting all the SPIF information at the start of the process makes the whole thing a lot easier and faster. Providing all your guarantees at the outset for works done to the property or planning permissions for extensions/garages etc. with your property information form saves these issues having to be raised by the buyers solicitors.”

The SPIF forms part of the contract of the sale. Although it’s not mandatory to complete the form, it could look suspicious if you don’t. It might even affect the buyer’s decision to go ahead with the transaction.

There have been cases of the buyer taking the seller to court for providing incorrect information. In 2017, a couple began proceedings against their buyer after their property flooded. They found a historic Facebook post proving that the sellers were aware of the problem, but details had not been included in the SPIF. And The Financial Times reported that a seller had been ordered to pay damages to their buyer because an ongoing dispute with a neighbour had not been disclosed on the SPIF.

So it’s worth taking the time to gather all your information together and complete the form as fully as possible. Here’s what to expect:

Environmental issues

As well as obvious issues like flooding, the SPIF also asks, for example, whether the property is affected by the invasive plant, Japanese knotweed.

Property boundaries

Where are they? Whose responsibility are they to enforce? The SPIF asks whether they have changed at all over the last 20 years.

Neighbour disputes or other types of dispute

Have any disputes affected the property or one nearby? These could be historic, ongoing as well as those which may arise in the future.

Notices or proposals that may affect the property

For example, if there are any plans to develop land nearby.

Property alterations

This relates to whether you’ve made changes to the property such as an extension, conversion or change of use. You need to declare these along with any supporting documents such as Building Regulations approvals.

Buildings insurance

The form asks whether you have ever had buildings insurance refused or if you have been subject to a high excess.

There are also additional sections covering guarantees and warranties, parking, plus other charges you may be liable for.

There’s a lot to think about when you’re selling a property and form filling is definitely not the most exciting part of the process! But you do have a legal obligation to give correct information on the SPIF so it’s important to get it right. We’re happy to help any of our clients to complete the form and to answer any questions.

If you need help, just give us a call on 0114 249 6926 or email info@pmpl.co.uk.

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