A Key undertaking is given by a conveyancing lawyer after contracts between the seller and buyer are exchanged to allow the purchaser access into the property. This access is usually required where the purchaser wishes to carry out work on the property. It will usually restrict the buyers from storing any items at the property..
There is no standard form of key undertaking and indeed a key undertaking can sometimes be complex. Usually it provides that access is only limited to the works referred to in a detailed schedule. Furthermore, the key undertaking will often specify that the buyer will be responsible for any services which are to be used at the property during the period of the key release
Legally, there is no reason why you should not allow your Buyer access to the property to carry out agreed works provided a tightly drafted key undertaking is in place. A key undertaking sets out the basis on which the Buyer is entitled to access to the property and sets out exactly what can be and must not be done. If the Buyer was to breach the terms of the key understanding they would be in breach of a legally binding contract and it would be possible to pursue a claim against them in the Court.
In property law context an undertaking is an agreement or promise to do or provide something, or to refrain from doing or providing something, which is meant to be binding on the party giving the undertaking. An undertaking should never be given lightly and you should only agree to this kind of promise if you are sure that you are capable of keeping to the terms of the agreement.
In consideration of permitting access the Property between exchange of contracts and completion the purchase, for the purposes of:
Carrying out the works referred to in Schedule One hereto (“the Works”) and for no other reason, we hereby agree and undertake:
SCHEDULE ONE (list the works)
It should also be noted that in order to protect the Sellers’ interests a deposit should be paid on exchange out of which compensation can be claimed for any damage or alterations to the property should the matter subsequently not proceed and the contract be breached.
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