The importance of due diligence

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By Bruce Scobie

Solicitor Director

When we act for a buyer of a house, or for a lender taking security over a house, a very important part of what we do is the due diligence on the legal aspects of the property.  For example, we need to make sure there are proper rights of way, rights for all the services and that no legal promises are given to third parties that could interfere with its enjoyment.

Over the many years that I have practiced there have been issues affecting houses which have been flavour of the month and have come and gone.  I recall there was a time when we all got very excited about corroding wall ties.  A few years ago radon was central to transactions.  I recall a time when we were very concerned about the emissions from electric pylons and the possibility of fracking is something we still consider.

Although these may have enjoyed short periods of popularity, nevertheless they should still be considered because they can cause a blight on a property even if the threat is not as bad in reality as it is in one’s mind.  Another currently is Japanese Knotweed which is top of the pops.

My prediction for the future would be coastal properties and the possibility of flooding because of global warming.

The important point here is to have a solicitor that carries out full due diligence and does not think he or she has done his job simply by transferring a property into your name.  There is more to it than that.