Works to your Property between Exchange and Completion

When buying a Property, one of the most exciting parts is thinking about how you wish to decorate your new home. You may even be considering doing some structural alterations to the Property or adding an extension. You may wish to enter the Property as soon as possible to be able to do some initial works such as removing old carpets and installing new floors, or to measure up for placing your furniture within the rooms in the Property.

If you do wish to do any works to the Property, you can ask the Seller if you can do this before completion. If the Seller allows you to carry out work on the Property, then the best time to do this is after exchange of contracts and before completion. The reason being is that after exchange of contracts, you are contractually committed to purchasing the Property and the Seller is contractually bound to sell the Property to you. If you did any works to the Property before exchange of contracts, the Seller could wait to you have completed the works before withdrawing from the sale to you and could sell the Property to another purchaser, which could potentially leave you out of pocket financially. The Seller would also potentially be more amenable to agreeing to the works being done, knowing that you are now legally tied in to purchasing the Property and that if there is any damage to the Property, then they would not be liable to pay for this.

However from a legal perspective, you will not own the Property so there needs to be an agreement that you will fix any unexpected damage caused during the works if for any reason you fail to complete on the purchase of the Property. The agreement you will need is a Key Undertaking. You will need to give details of the works and agree to repair any damage you may cause to the Property.   You will need to sign it and send it to your Solicitors so they can send it to the Seller’s Solicitors. The Seller’s Solicitors will then give the Estate Agents a copy of the agreement so that you can collect the keys to begin works. Please note that as you will not own the Property, you will be required to return the keys and this may need to be done at the end of each day which you are entering the Property.

If you would like a free no obligation estimate of our fees, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Our insights are accurate at the date of publication – they are not intended to contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter.

Joshua Watkins
Partner, Head of Residential Property
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This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.

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