Not a day goes by without hearing a grumble about an occupier form, be it "why is this needed?" or "why is this so expensive to have signed?"
I thought it may be useful to review this area and cover lenders that do and don''t require them, as well as pitfalls to watch out for.
1. It is worthwhile to say that we cannot witness the occupier''s documents as we act for the borrower. The Law Society forbids it due to the potential for a conflict in advice.
2. The cost of having the document witnessed and advised on (it cannot be just witnessed without advice - albeit M2L are the one exception to this) can range from £50-300 plus vat. Why, I hear you ask? The answer is because our law books are littered with cases where Solicitors are sued by disgruntled occupiers so advising on occupiers forms is viewed in the profession as high risk.
3. Not only is the cost an issue, but don''t forget that a copy of the offer has to be attached to the form and explained to the occupiers. So if the borrowers wanted to keep the detail private I am afraid they lose that ability.
4. So what are the demands of the lenders?:
- Aviva - Do not require an occupier''s form unless it is a spouse occupier.
- Hodge - Will always require a form for anyone in occupation over age 17. They may make an exception for tenants if the tenancy agreement meets their requirements.
- Just Retirement - Will only want a form for a spouse.
- Stonehaven, LV, New Life and Bridgewater- Will want a form signed for anyone aged 18 in occupation.
- M2l - Generally will only want a form signed by people who are not blood relatives, but I would always recommend checking.
However, the above list is issued by me with a note of caution. The lenders, if they have concerns that an occupier may have an interest in the property, can ask for a form to be signed, even if they wouldn''t normally. It is at the lenders discretion.
I hope the above is helpful. If you have any queries on this or any subject please do let me know.