module specification

LC7030 - Property Law and Practice (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Property Law and Practice
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 24
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 240
 
192 hours Guided independent study
48 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Open Book Examination 100% 50 Three Hour Exam
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City Wednesday Evening
Autumn semester City Tuesday Afternoon
Autumn semester City Thursday Afternoon
Autumn semester City Monday Evening
Autumn semester City Monday Afternoon
Autumn semester City Monday Morning
Autumn semester City Tuesday Morning
Autumn semester City Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module focuses on the law and practice of buying and selling residential and commercial freehold property and leasehold property.  A proportion of the module is devoted to the study of the construction and interpretation of solicitors' accounts, which is taught and assessed as a separate module, but based on the mechanics of freehold residential property transactions.

Module aims

The module aims to equip students with the knowledge and confidence required to work on property transactions on the first day of their training contract as a solicitor. On completion of this module students should have a clear understanding of the various stages in a conveyancing transaction and of the legal and practical issues which are relevant to each stage.  Students should have sufficient knowledge of the law and sufficient experience through practical exercises to deal confidently and effectively with a straightforward transaction from the taking of instructions through to registration and to be able to find solutions to any difficulties which may arise.

Syllabus

Element 2: Binding contract

  1. Taking instructions; client care and professional conduct and regulation; undertakings Registers of title; deducing; investigation;
  2. Disclosure of title and contractual issues Contracts for sale; drafts contracts and amendments;
  3. Taking instructions from a buyer; planning issues
  4. Purchase and considering the property package; Pre contract enquiries and searches; Conflicts; Financing transactions; mortgages; protecting lender’s security; deposits; insurances; preparations for exchange
  5. Exchange of contracts; preparation for completion; reports on title completion discharging existing mortgages; post completions steps; Stamp Duty Land Tax;
  6. Unregistered land
  7. Sales of part; easements and covenants; Capital Gains Tax
  8. Leasehold property; Grant of a lease; stages in conveyancing process
  9. Contents of a lease; service charges; alienation clauses; assured and assured shorthold tenancies;
  10. Assignment of a lease; stages in conveyancing process; security of tenure; obligations and rights for landlord and tenant; disputes; sub-lettings;
  11. Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (Part II); Commercial conveyancing
  12. Consolidation

Learning and teaching

12 one-hour tutor-led sessions (TLS) and 12 two-hour student-led sessions (SLS). The tutor-led sessions are one week ahead of the student-led sessions to allow students time for reflection. Students are required to test their preparation for each small group session by completing short answer/ multiple-choice questions on WebLearn in advance of the session and by preparing particular sections of materials for each week.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the Property Law and Practice course, successful students should be able, under appropriate supervision, to:

  1. research and apply knowledge of Property Law and Practice accurately and effectively
  2. identify a buyer, seller and lender’s objectives and different means of achieving those    objectives and be aware of
    • the financial commercial and personal priorities and constraints to be taken into account
    • the costs, benefits and risks involved in transactions and associated courses of action
  3. perform the tasks required to advance transactions or matters
  4. understand where the rules of professional conduct may impact and be able to apply
    them in the context of Property Law and Practice
  5. demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills in the areas of:
    • the core practice area of Property Law and Practice and
    • the course skills of Practical Legal Research, Writing, Drafting, Interviewing and Advising, and Advocacy. Students should also be able to transfer skills learnt in one context to another
  6. reflect on their learning and identify their learning needs.

General Property Law and Practice Outcomes:
On completion of this core practice area, students should, in the context of domestic and
commercial transactions and in relation to both freehold and leasehold property:

  1. appreciate the nature of a property transaction
  2. be able to identify and perform the critical steps in a transaction
  3. be aware of conflicts of interest that may arise when acting for more than one party in a property transaction
  4. understand the requirements of lenders and the need to consider money laundering issues
  5. have a sufficient grasp of the tax aspects of a property transaction, including Stamp Duty Land Tax, Capital Gains Tax and VAT
  6. understand the essential elements of a lease
  7. understand the respective rights and obligations of the landlord and the tenant.

Element 1: Pre-contract stage
Students should be able to:

  1. take preliminary instructions and advise on client care
  2. analyse and interpret the contents of the registers of title
  3. be able to advise the client on the extent nand effect of the duty of disclosure and title guarantee
  4. identify the steps needed to raise and the issues arising from pre-contract enquiries
  5. and pre-contract searches
  6. deduce and investigate title as appropriate to the transaction including unregistered freehold
  7. be able to identify and deal satisfactorily with potential defects in title whether selling or buying
  8. report on the transaction to the client and advise in particular in relation to co-ownership
  9. decide, with the client where appropriate, what action needs to be taken and identify
  10. what action (if any) the client has to take
  11. analyse amend and draft a contract (and constituent clauses)
  12. 12. advise on the implications of planning law and other related issues which affect proposals for development
  13. 13. gain an appreciation of the issues of concern which arise on a sale of part.

Students should understand when the contract becomes binding and should appreciate the
need to:

  1. advise the client on the terms of any offer of finance and ensure that adequate
  2. finance is available before committing the buyer to the contract
  3. select a method of making the contract binding appropriate to the transaction.

Element 3: After the contract becomes binding
Students should be able to:

  1. deal appropriately with the deposit, obtaining undertakings and insurances
  2. prepare appropriate, clear and precise undertakings
  3. draft document(s) (whether paper-based or electronic) necessary to transfer the legal estate
  4. report on the title to the lender
  5. prepare the mortgage documentation
  6. prepare for completion to include conducting appropriate pre completion searches and select a method appropriate to the transaction
  7. carry out the completion and the relevant post-completion steps both in freehold and leasehold transactions
  8. complete the mortgage and protect the lender’s security
  9. discharge any existing mortgage over the property.

Assessment strategy

The assessment is an open book exam with advance disclosure of documents and is of a transactional nature. This form of assessment is designed to replicate practice and enable students to demonstrate the application of legal principles in a realistic, practical context. Students are given a formative assessment and receive examiners' guidance.

Bibliography

Property Law and Practice, University of Law Publishing (“Property Manual”)

Additional texts
Adams, Precedents for the Conveyancer, Sweet & Maxwell
Aldridge, Practical Conveyancing Precedents, FT Law and Tax
Aldridge, Practical Lease Precedents, FT Law and Tax
Emmet, On Title, Longman
Ruoff and Roper, Registered Conveyancing, Sweet & Maxwell
Silverman, Conveyancing, Law Society Handbook
Silverman, Standard Conditions Of Sale, Tolley
Silverman, Searches and Enquiries, Butterworths
Timothy, Wotner’s Guide to Land Registry Practice, Longman
Hewitson, Conveyancing Searches and enquiries: A Conveyancer’s Guide, Jordans
Electronic sources
www.landreg.gov.uk (HM Land Registry homepage)
www.hmrc.gov.uk/so (stamp duty land tax)
www.cml.org.uk/handbook (Council of Mortgage Lenders Handbook which provides comprehensive instructions for solicitors acting on behalf of borrowers and lenders.)
www.e-conveyancing.gov.uk (HM Land Registry e-conveyancing website supports, informs and facilitates understanding of e-conveyancing.)
www.lawsociety.org.uk (Law Society)
www.sra.org.uk (Solicitors Regulation Authority)
www.companieshouse.gov.uk (Companies House)
www.nlis.org.uk (Information about pre- contract searches)
www.drainageandwater.co.uk  (Useful source of information about which authority to search against)
www.sitecheck.co.uk (Useful information about the area within which a property is situate)