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Buying or Selling Your Home: What are the Scottish Standard Clauses and what do they mean?

Buying or Selling Your Home: What are the Scottish Standard Clauses and what do they mean?

You have saved up scrupulously for months, found the property of your dreams, and now you have had your offer accepted. You are finally ready to begin moving home and you have instructed your solicitor to arrange the legalities for you.

However, there are many practical aspects to consider when moving to a new property. For example, which items within the home are to be included as part of the sale? What if any of those items are not in working order? Is the home connected to mains water and electricity supply? When might you become liable for any factoring charges?

Well, your answer to most of these questions are contained within the Scottish Standard Clauses.

But, what are the Scottish Standard Clauses and what do they mean?

The Scottish Standard Clauses are incorporated into the contract for purchase and sale in almost all transactions for residential property in Scotland. The current edition comprise thirty-five clauses in total and, together with the missives for sale (i.e. the written offer and the written acceptance), they form the basis of the legal contract.

Amongst their wide-ranging terms, the Standard Clauses provide for many fundamental matters of buying or selling a home. For example, the Clauses detail the fixtures and fittings which are to be sold as part of the sale (Clause 1), they provide warranty in respect of central heating, systems and appliances (Clause 4), and they also provide for the apportionment of any factoring charges which may be payable upon sale (Clause 7). In addition, the Standard Clauses provide warranty that the property is connected to a water and drainage supply (Clause 11) and provide for any circumstances where there is a breach of the contract by either the buyer or the seller (Clauses 12 and 13).

Amidst the busy and booming property market, the Clauses were recently updated and Edition 4 was brought into full effect from 1st March 2021. The newly updated Clauses can be found in their full terms here and the client’s explanatory guide to these can also be found here.  Whilst these have been updated only recently, earlier versions have been in force for a number of years.

The introduction of Edition 4 has brought with it a number of updates to the previous terms and, in particular, many of these reflect modernisations within the market. For example, the list of fixtures now included within a standard sale has been increased to include items such as wall-mounted television brackets, smart meter thermostats and electric car charging ports. A new clause has also been inserted to provide for the increasingly prevalent use of title indemnity policies, whilst other updates have been made to acknowledge contentious points raised by recent case law.

Since these clauses form the basis of the contract in a purchase or sale, it is essential that anyone buying or selling property in Scotland familiarises themselves with their terms and consults their conveyancer immediately should they have any questions whatsoever.

Should you have any queries about conveyancing matters or wish to instruct a solicitor in the purchase or sale of your property, please contact our Private Client Department.

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Written by : Ross O'Donnell