TA6 form changes: frequently asked questions

We have listened to recent feedback on the updates made to our TA6 form, intended as a pragmatic response to new guidance on material information. Having reflected on the strength of feeling, we have decided to postpone compulsory implementation for Conveyancing Quality Scheme members until January 2025 while we consult members further.

The new guidance released by National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) on material information is driving transformation across all those involved in the home buying and selling process.

For example, Rightmove - the UK’s largest online real estate portal – has recently updated its requirements for new listings to ensure compliance with the new guidance.

We released an updated version of the TA6 form in March 2024 to reflect the changes put forward by NTSELAT.

“For many members of the public, specialist conveyancing solicitors and their teams are the face of the legal profession, ensuring that hundreds of thousands of home moves can take place annually,” said Law Society chief executive Ian Jeffery.

“Conveyancing work is at the heart of a larger buying and selling process for homes and that process is undergoing long-term change, driven by technological advances and public policy.

“As a profession, we must embrace change and a key role of the Law Society is to support our members through this evolution.

“In this vein, the recent updates made to our TA6 form were intended as a pragmatic response to the NTSELAT guidance on material information.

“We know that many firms have been gearing up to go live with the new form, with thousands of copies having already been accessed.

Responding to your concerns

“However, we have listened to recent feedback and recognise that we have not yet persuaded enough of our colleagues on those particular changes, so we need to do more to communicate with the profession about them.

“Having reflected on the strength of feeling expressed by members on this issue, we have this week decided to postpone compulsory implementation of the TA6 Property information form (5th edition) (2024) for accredited Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) members for six months while we consult members further.

“To clarify, for the period until 15 January 2025, members will be compliant with our CQS if they use either TA6 (4th edition, second revision) (2020) or if they use the new TA6 (5th edition, 2024).

“In the coming weeks, we will consult members further about the content of the TA6 (5th edition) to ensure we understand the full range of member views.

“In the meantime, we know some members are using the new form or readying themselves to do so, and we would encourage them to continue in that way.”

We have developed a range of resources to support you and your firm in collaboration with specialists in the field to provide a full and considered response.

Consulting with members

How will you consult with conveyancers and stakeholders over the TA6 form?

We will communicate the details of the consultation with members very shortly and hope to engage a wide range of views.

As part of the consultation, we will be seeking member and stakeholder feedback on the questions in the new form and, from those who are using it, feedback on how it is working in practice.

Can I use the TA6 (4th edition) using the consultation period?

Yes. The TA6 (4th edition, second revision) (2020) will be available until 15 January 2025 while we consult with conveyancers and stakeholders.

Accredited CQS members will be compliant if they use either TA6 (4th edition, second revision) (2020) or if they use the new TA6 (5th edition, 2024).

We know that many firms are using the new TA6 (5th edition, 2024) already and we encourage them to continue to do so.

Why did the Law Society not consult with members on the changes earlier?

We keep our transaction forms under regular review and update these when necessary.

We do not usually consult with the whole conveyancing or property membership when making these updates and changes to the TA6 form. We followed the same process for this update.

However, we recognise that some members have been surprised by the number and nature of changes to the TA6 form.

We have understood from the feedback we have had that members would have preferred us to consult and be more transparent as the forms were developed.

We agree that, on reflection, we could have communicated the nature of the changes to the TA6 form while the working group was working on the new version and sought feedback as we went through the process.

We are grateful for this feedback and are determined to apply this learning to future significant changes to the transaction forms.

You consulted on the forms in 2012. Why is this different?

We carried out a consultation, prospectively, in 2012 in relation to changes we were looking to make to the transaction forms on a wide range of issues.

Those changes were generated by the Conveyancing and Land Law Committee and by some of the wider membership.

This was a different exercise from the recent update, which sought to incorporate guidance from an external official body (National Trading Standards) that aimed to establish what constitutes 'material information'.

We incorporated this with the aim of benefitting consumers, conveyancing solicitors and the process in the public interest.

Who was involved in the update of the TA6 forms?

Those engaged in the development of the latest edition of the TA6 and TA7 forms included practitioners from across the spectrum of the membership – small, medium and large firms – as well as professional support lawyers and academics.

Many members of the working group have a wealth of experience working on the transaction forms.

Why we updated the TA6

Why did the Law Society update the TA6 form?

The TA6 form was updated to help provide prospective buyers with the information suggested in the National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) guidance on material information.

'Material information' will come into the marketing materials in a variety of ways.

We believe it is important for the profession to take a lead on how this new guidance is introduced, so this is achieved in a way that works best for solicitors and their clients.

It is an opportunity for solicitors to help their clients provide the information required to market the property and enable consistency of the information provided during marketing through into the legal process.

Our aim with the new TA6 form is to help solicitors and consumers follow the NTSELAT material information guidance as seamlessly as possible.

We believe the benefits to solicitors include:

  • having well-prepared sellers and well-informed buyers, which should reduce the incidence of conveyancing transactions falling through and strengthen the quality of chains
  • having consistent information across estate agents, buyers, sellers and consumers to facilitate the process, making it smoother and more efficient

Firms will be able to:

  • ensure they are complying with their professional obligations, regulatory requirements, the law (see below) and the NTSELAT guidance
  • provide an improved service to their clients

How will the forms improve the process?

If a TA6 form is completed by a seller, with their solicitor's help, at the same time as the seller's estate agent starts preparing the sales particulars, a copy of the completed TA6 form can be given to the estate agent to enable their property listing to include the material information from the seller.

We know some estate agents will obtain the information directly from the sellers themselves. They have several different means of doing this.

If the estate agent encourages the seller to go to their solicitor and use the TA6 form, this can then be used in the conveyancing process once an offer from a buyer has been accepted (subject to contract).

Use of the new TA6 form will help ensure that once the conveyancing process is underway, the information disclosed by the seller to the buyer will match what was disclosed to the buyer in the course of the marketing.

This is desirable even if the TA6 was not completed for marketing purposes.

If the TA6 form covers the same material information that was required for disclosure in the marketing, it should reduce inconsistencies and allow any inadvertent errors in the marketing information to be corrected before contracts are exchanged.

What was the legal position before the changes?

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPUTR 2008) will be revoked and replaced by the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Act 2024 at a date to be appointed.

It is understood currently that the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Act 2024 will contain materially the same provisions as those in the CPUTR 2008 so far as the contents of this Q&A are concerned.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) have applied to 'immoveable property' since 26 May 2008.

We released a practice note on Consumer Protection Regulations for conveyancers in 2016.

The practice note made clear that infringements of the CPRs by solicitors are potentially offences punishable:

  • on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding the statutory minimum,
  • on conviction on indictment to a fine, or
  • by imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years

The practice note also noted that "many of the obligations placed on you as a solicitor under the CPRs are already covered by your obligations under the SRA Standards and Regulations and, provided that you treat consumers fairly, you are unlikely to be in breach".

The CPRs provide that 'material information' is "information which the average consumer needs, according to the context, to take an informed transactional decision".

The test is whether omitting to disclose material information is likely to cause the average consumer to take a transactional decision they would not have taken otherwise.

On the basis of Office of Fair Trading v Purely Creative Ltd [2011] CTLC 45, what a purchaser "needs" is to be understood in its proper "context", which includes:

  • the fact that sellers can rely on the caveat emptor principle, and
  • their solicitors owe them a duty of confidentiality

There is unlikely to be an omission of "material information" (and a solicitor will not, therefore, be in breach of the CPRs) if a solicitor fails to disclose information which:

  • is confidential, or
  • falls within the caveat emptor principle

What is the legal position after the changes?

The position regarding potential liability for solicitors has not changed as a result of the NTSELAT guidance or the new updates to the TA6 form.

The expanded information sought by the amended transaction forms fits into the two categories that applied before the forms were amended, that is, concerning:

  • potential physical defects
  • defects as to legal title

The amendments do not extend civil liability for solicitors acting for either buyers or sellers for either category as a result of having to provide more material information under the CPRs.

NTSELAT has developed, with wide cross-sector input, what it considers might constitute 'material information' for sales and letting agents to provide.

The introduction of the new TA6 form means solicitors now make consistent enquiries of sellers to establish whether there is material information that should be provided to prospective buyers.

Our practice note on the CPRs in conveyancing has been updated.

What is the legal position now for seller's solicitors?

For those acting for sellers, there is no additional liability.

Depending on the retainer, contractual or tortious liability could arise under normal principles applied in the usual way in relation to any additional material information provided or omitted.

For the seller, that might be misrepresentation.

For the seller's solicitor, that might occur where, as a matter of professional obligation, there was a duty to advise the client properly regarding proper disclosure, but the solicitor failed to provide that advice. That is not an extension of liability.

In terms of criminal liability, this is very unlikely to be an issue, other than in the highly unlikely scenario in which a solicitor acting for a seller behaves towards the buyer in a way which would fall within the definition of an "unfair commercial practice".

An example of that would be by engaging in an aggressive or threatening behaviour against a purchaser, particularly a vulnerable one.

In those circumstances, it would not matter that there is no contractual relationship between the seller's solicitor and the buyer.

Such behaviour would, in any event, be in breach of the CPRs as well as the SRA Principles and SRA Code of Conduct, mainly:

  • Principle 2 (upholding trust in the solicitor's profession)
  • Principle 5 (integrity)
  • paragraph 1.2 of the code (not taking unfair advantage of clients and others)

What is the legal position now for buyer's solicitors?

Additional liability for those acting for buyers does not arise as a result of the amendments to the TA6 form.

Does the new TA6 form increase the risk of criminal offences being committed by solicitors?

Having taken specialist advice, we do not believe that to be the case.

As before the recent update to the TA6 form, criminal liability would only ever arise in blatant cases of aggressive behaviour or sharp practice towards either the buyer or seller, but this is most unlikely to be an issue.

Other questions above address the legal position.

I've heard concerns the NTSELAT guidance increases the liability exposure for solicitors. Is this true and will you provide guidance on how this can be mitigated?

We do not believe that the position has changed as a result of the NTSELAT guidance or the new updates to the TA6 form.

Our view is that there is no additional liability exposure for solicitors who act for buyers or sellers as a result of the changes. See answers above for more details.

We have updated our practice note on the CPRs in conveyancing, which was previously updated in 2020, considering both the NTSELAT guidance and the position following the UK leaving the EU.

What's in the TA6 (5th edition) (2024)?

What are the main changes to the TA6 form?

NTSELAT's guidance says that 'material information' includes:

  • council tax
  • asking price
  • tenure – leasehold or freehold
  • physical characteristics about the property
  • number of rooms
  • parking
  • building safety
  • erosion risk
  • property accessibility/adaptations
  • coalfield or mining area

See full details on the changes and links to the form and guidance

What are the differences between the 4th and 5th editions of the TA6 form?

Topics of questions asked in the 5th edition (Part 1) that already appear in the 4th edition include:

  • additional charges
  • parking arrangements
  • conservation areas
  • tree preservation orders
  • listed building
  • utilities
  • contribution to cost of additional services (shared driveway, private road, drains, etc.)
  • rights of light etc.
  • flood risk
  • proposals to develop land nearby
  • breaches of planning permission
  • notices

Topics of questions asked in the 5th edition that do not appear in the 4th include:

  • council tax
  • asking price
  • tenure
  • physical characteristics about the property
  • number of type(s) of room(s)
  • construction materials
  • building safety
  • erosion risk
  • property accessibility/adaptations for users with extra needs
  • coalfield or mining area

Completing the new form

Will sellers be able to respond to questions about these matters?

If the sellers do not know about these issues, they are not obliged to respond.

The TA6 form provides instructions to sellers that "you should answer the questions as accurately as you can from your own knowledge".

If you are instructed by the seller and are supplying this information to estate agents, you should make it clear that the sellers have provided answers on this basis.

If you are instructed by the estate agent to provide this information, you may negotiate to supply this information to a different level of assurance and change and have terms and conditions developed accordingly.

If sellers are only to respond using their own knowledge, how much should I help them to complete the responses?

A seller's solicitor should approach the TA6 form in the same manner as they did in respect of the previous edition.

That is, to advise the client in accordance with the "instructions to seller" at the front of the form.

NTSELAT material information requirements

What are the new requirements from National Trading Standards on material information?

The November 2023 guidance from NTSELAT seeks to set out a view as to what a potential homebuyer will want to know about a property before making a transactional decision.

While it is primarily designed to help estate agents comply with the CPRs by putting key information about a property in marketing materials, it has potential relevance across the whole process, including for conveyancers.

NTSELAT highlights that obtaining certain material information may involve the engagement of a conveyancer.

It expressly states that sellers may wish to engage with their conveyancer at an early stage before a property is marketed to:

  • provide prospective buyers with the information they need to know when the property is marketed
  • ensure information regarding the property can be reviewed, and
  • identify any issues it would be useful to resolve to ensure the property is saleable or mortgageable

Is there any prescribed way of implementing the NTSELAT guidance?

There is no prescribed way of implementing this and it is likely to develop over time.

We will look to make some provision for this in the Conveyancing Protocol, but this is likely to be permissive rather than prescriptive.

As set out above, sellers are only required to complete the TA6 form from their own knowledge. This is set out clearly in the introduction to the questions.

To obtain any missing information, some estate agents are looking to commission their own searches.

Some seller's solicitors will do this too and, if they are instructed on the sale, will provide the searches to the buyer's solicitor with the contract bundle.

We know there are differing views about this and that some buyer's solicitors will look to carry out their own searches in any event, but it should be determined as to whether this is necessary. We understand the points about quality of searches.

Some estate agents already obtain information directly from HM Land Registry.

We have heard of estate agents considering employing in-house solicitors to provide this information.

Other third-party organisations are looking to provide material information and broader packs of information.

The property portals will also be looking to provide material information on their websites.

CQS firms

When are CQS firms obligated to use the forms?

After reflecting on the strength of feeling amongst members on this issue, we have decide to postpone compulsory implementation of the TA6 form (5th edition) (2024) until 15 January 2025.

Members will be compliant with CQS if they use TA6 (4th edition, second revision) (2020) or the new TA6 (5th edition) (2024).

We know that many firms are using the new forms already and we encourage them to continue to do so.

We will be consulting members in the coming months about the content of the TA6 (5th edition) (2024) to ensure we understand the widest range of member views.

If there are two CQS-accredited firms acting in a transaction and the seller's solicitors are using the 4th edition, but the buyers' solicitors want to see the 5th edition, which version should be used?

While we expect many firms will carry on using the new TA6 (5th edition), some firms may decide to use, or carry on using, the old 4th edition of the forms instead.

Since the launch of the TA6 (5th edition), firms have successfully been taking a pragmatic approach to situations where sellers' solicitors are using the TA6 (4th edition) and buyers' solicitors want to see the TA6 (5th edition).

In the same way, firms should be able to agree the pragmatic position between them in the best interests of their clients.

TA7 form

How does this affect the TA7 Leasehold information form?

Since use of the TA6 (4th edition, second revision) (2020) is being extended, the TA7 Leasehold information form (3rd edition) (2023) will also be allowed to be used by firms.

If sellers complete a TA6 (4th edition), they may also need to complete a TA7 (3rd edition) where one is required.

If sellers complete a TA6 (5th edition), they may also need to complete a TA7 (4th edition) where one is required.

Implementing the changes

Can firms charge additional fees for assisting clients in completing the new sections of the TA6 form that accommodate material information?

This is up to individual firms to decide.

There are many ways to implement the latest guidance and firms will want to consider what might best suit their clients and their practice.

We have anecdotal evidence of:

  1. firms entering into agreements with estate agents to supply 'material information' in advance of marketing (with the scope of the agreements not including acting in the subsequent sales)
  2. firms developing agreements with sellers solely to produce material information – as this is a formal piece of work, full ID, anti-money laundering and other onboarding requirements need to be performed and a separate fee can be chargeable
  3. some firms doing what is set out in b) above are proposing to charge the seller a fee for assisting with completing material information and crediting this amount towards the full conveyancing fee if the client instructs them on the sale when they have found a buyer

Will the Conveyancing Protocol be amended to reflect this position?

As stated above, we are aware there are many ways of implementing the recent guidance.

We are keen to understand how this is being dealt with in practice before finalising the draft proposed changes we have prepared to the Conveyancing Protocol for consultation.

Provision 15 of the Conveyancing Protocol says "do not raise any additional enquiries about the state and condition of the building unless arising out of your conveyancing search results, your buyer's own enquiries, inspection or their surveyor's report". Does the new TA6 breach this?

No, it does not. The new enquiries are standard enquiries so, by definition are not additional enquiries.

Many sellers with a property that has an unusual construction will know about this and will only be answering the enquiries from their own knowledge.

Feedback and questions

Will you consider making any further changes to the forms in light of feedback?

We are grateful to those who have used the forms@lawsociety.org.uk email address to provide us with their comments on the new forms.

We are reviewing this feedback and will review the results of our consultation. If there any changes we can make to the forms to improve them, we will consider doing so.

We will also consider making a clearer separation of the two parts of the TA6 form to distinguish more clearly between the 'material information' and the remainder of the information.

Who can I contact with further questions?

Please email forms@lawsociety.org.uk with any further questions that you may have and we’ll endeavour to respond to you as soon as possible.

Support for you and your firm

We have developed a range of resources to support you and your firm. These have been created in collaboration with specialists in the field to provide a full and considered response.

This includes an updated version of our consumer protection regulations in conveyancing practice note and these Q&As addressing the practical, procedural and legal questions.

Issues involving material information is only one aspect of property transactions that requires improvement.

Conveyancing solicitors have been subject to a seemingly ever-expanding remit:

  • increasingly complex stamp duty land tax
  • more obligations in terms of establishing source of funds and ID checks
  • building safety issues
  • detailed lenders requirements
  • shared ownership
  • first homes new build issues and infrastructure issues on housing estates

And we could go on. Our goal is to support you and the wider profession to take a leading role in shaping these longer-term changes.

The transformation of the home-buying process is both inevitable and ongoing.

The recent changes triggered by National Trading Standards provide an opportunity for conveyancing solicitors to become involved at a much earlier stage in the process, to work more collaboratively with estate agents and to identify and rectify issues that might delay property sales.

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