Recent Changes to CON29 Forms: How Do They Affect You?

As of July 2016, the old CON29R form was replaced by the new CON29. But what is the difference between the two forms, and what does it mean for those who are using them? There is certainly a wealth of information that anyone working with the CON29R should be familiar with – especially when considering there are thirty more questions on the new form! 

Not to fear, however; by being aware of the changes and what the update includes, Legal Secretaries and Conveyancers can make themselves ready to inform their clients appropriately.

What the goal of the change is

According to The Law Society, with these changes it is hoped that the quality and consistency of the information provided by local authorities will be vastly improved – specifically, the information given to people and businesses who intend to buy or lease properties. 

With the change from the old CON29R to the new CON29 and CON290 forms, the information given to people and businesses will apparently be easier to understand. The new system will also make things quite a bit simpler for those who are lending money to property buyers or lessees for their investment. 

What the update includes

These new forms include expanded information regarding community infrastructure levies and any assets of community value in the area. They also encompass a variety of other legislative changes.

The new forms also include a set of standardised replies that are meant to help in responding to enquiries. These replies are meant to be as intuitive, authentic and concise as possible for the format, not devoid of any true information of value. They should make generating responses easier for legal professionals who are using the new forms.

What the update does 

With these changes, potential buyers or lessees can now obtain very detailed information on the properties they intend to invest in. What kind of specific information, you may be wondering? Well, the switch to the new CON29 offers up more details on:

•    Planning permission for the property or any adjacent buildings
•    Regulatory decisions for the surrounding area which could potentially affect the ability to run a business in the area
•    Road and traffic schemes in the area which could potentially bring in or deter business
•    Conservation areas and any restrictions placed on building renovating, decorating or signage
•    Any statutory notices about the building or the immediate area
•    Enforcements or compulsory purchases affecting the building
•    Whether there is any contaminated land around the building, such as with radon gas

In fact, as previously mentioned, there are thirty new questions on the form regarding rights of way, drainage, railway schemes and other similar issues. 

What it all means for form users 

Because of these updates, there was a period of transition for forms submitted and received within certain timelines, depending on their methods of delivery. 

For example, any forms that were sent electronically on 2 July 2016 or later were entitled to a reply under the new CON29 and CON290 enquiries system. By comparison, forms that were delivered by hand or sent by post prior to 2 July 2016 were entitled to a decision by the local authority on whether to reply using the current form or the new form. Finally, current forms under the old system that are still being processed after 1 July 2016 are entitled to a reply by the local authority under the old system.

It is important that Legal Secretaries, Paralegals and Conveyancers who are dealing with the buyers or lessees of properties be aware of these changes so they know which forms they should be using. Being current on the updates is also essential so that the types of replies generated follow the new legislation and meet people’s expectations of what they’ll learn.