What changes do the new third edition of the Standard Commercial Property Conditions bring?


About a month ago the Law Society announced that a new version of the Standard Commercial Property Conditions ("SCPCs")  were being released. If you're anything like me, my well-thumbed second edition SCPCs sit close beside my desk for constant referencing, so I was intrigued to hear about what changes were being brought in. 

Rather than bore you with a lengthy in-depth discussion of what changes there are, here are the highlights for speedy referencing: 

  1. 8 new special conditions are incorporated
  2. there are updated provisions on the VAT treatment of commercial property
  3. it is now clear that the earliest that a notice to complete can be served is immediately after the completion time (i.e. 2 pm) on the date for completion (previously it was "on or after the completion date," with no reference to timing)
  4. there are improved terms for the sale of leasehold property (SCPC 10), e.g. the seller is now required to give the buyer (without delay) a copy of all correspondence with a reversioner in relation to obtaining any consent required to complete the contract
  5. all commonhold provisions in SCPC 11 have been deleted (not sure I've ever actually had to refer to those anyway!)
  6. there are updates to reflect legal changes relating to capital allowances. 

Frustratingly, the wording at 2nd edition SCPC 9.3.2 relating to the calculation of late completion interest remains unchanged. It still reads "compensation is calculated...for the period between completion date and actual completion", so, unfortunately, the potential ambiguity over whether this includes the contractual completion date and the actual completion date has still not been clarified. Maybe next time?! 

Hopefully, that is sufficient to whet your appetite to track down your own copy and get familiar with the new changes. I'm loathe to bin my well-loved 2nd edition, but looking forward to clarity in at least some areas! 

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The third edition of the Standard Commercial Property Conditions has been published, updating the widely-used forms to incorporate changes in law and practice in commercial conveyancing.