Legal Q&A: should a solicitor complete without a completion notice or guarantee?

Should a solicitor complete the purchase of a new-build property that has neither a completion notice nor a 10-year guarantee?

Click to follow

Question: Should a solicitor complete the purchase of a new-build property that has no completion notice on it and, consequently, no 10-year guarantee?
Solicitors could complete in the way you describe, but it is probably not wise to do so. I presume that by completion notice you mean a Building Regulations completion certificate; that by a 10-year guarantee you mean an insurance-backed building guarantee/warranty, and that the solicitor is acting for a client purchasing a new-build property.
For a new-build property, a buyer’s solicitor should ensure that a Building Regulations completion certificate, appropriate planning permission and a building guarantee/warranty or a professional consultant’s certificate will be provided by the seller on completion, and the contract should provide for this.
If mortgage funding is involved, the lender will insist such documentation is made available.
If the buyer is not obtaining mortgage funding, it is entirely up to the buyer how he chooses to proceed, so he could instruct his solicitor to press ahead without such documentation.
However, the buyer’s solicitor should warn his client that if he or she decides to sell to someone in the future who needs mortgage finance, without such documentation the property is likely to be un-mortgageable — and even another cash buyer may be reluctant to proceed in case future issues arise with the quality of the build.

What's your problem?
If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona is legal director in the real estate group of Foot Anstey LLP in Exeter (
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

Follow us on Twitter @HomesProperty, Facebook and Instagram