Understanding the legal pack.

The small print that can make a big difference to your auction experience.

Whenever you’re planning to buy at auction, reading the small print can make a big difference. So it’s important to read and understand all the legal details.

The legal pack – prepared by the vendor’s conveyancer – is a vital read and can seem a little daunting. But with the right help, it’s more straightforward than you think.

What is the legal pack, exactly?

It’s a bundle of documents prepared by a conveyancer on behalf of someone who’s selling a property at auction. They’re made available by the auction house for any buyer to review before the auction, and should provide all the information needed to decide whether to go ahead with a bid.

What do I do with it?

You need to read and understand all the papers in the legal pack – or appoint a conveyancer who has experience in the property market to read them for you. When you buy at auction, the transaction is subject to everything in the legal pack, so it’s really important.

What’s included in the legal pack?

  • Office copy entries – these are certified copies of the land or charge certificate, obtained from the Land Registry, confirming the ownership of a property.
  • Lease – this will detail the outstanding lease (if the property is leasehold).
  • Land Registry and other searches – containing information regarding flood risk, nearby planned infrastructure works, and so on.
  • Tenancy agreements – if the property is a buy-to-let that comes with a sitting tenant.
  • Management information pack – otherwise known as a ‘Leasehold information pack’, and included for leasehold properties. Includes information about ground rent, service charges, and so on.
  • Fixtures and fittings form – discloses what comes included with the property, such as carpets, curtains, and kitchen and bathrooms fitments.
  • Property information form – a standardised form for the vendor to make declarations regarding the property’s history, boundaries, disputes, guarantees, and more.
  • Planning permission documentation – noting any nearby planning applications affecting the property, whether historical or current.
  • Special conditions of sale – such as the completion date (normally – but not always – 28 days from the date of the auction), covenants, restrictions on occupation (e.g. minimum age in retirement properties), any additional disbursements that are payable when you complete, and similar notes.
  • Replies to pre-contract enquiries – answers to questions other have asked about the property ahead of the sale.

If you need help with finding a solicitor, or have any questions about the legal pack, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.