Conveyancing solicitors have been warned by the Law Society of England and Wales that they have an overall duty to advise on climate legal risks when acting in transactions.
They must now consider whether climate searches are required for every property transaction they oversee, with the caveat that they ‘should not advise on climate change physical risks where it is outside their knowledge or qualification’.
The new guidance reflects the 2008 Climate Change Act, which commits the UK to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% by 2030 and 78% by 2035.
Chris Watson of X-Press Legal Services Lincolnshire said: “The Climate Change Act is already having a significant impact on the construction and housing sectors so to see it now filtering into property transactions is of little surprise.
“For the home buyer this guidance means many solicitors will now feel duty bound to recommend a climate change report as part of the suite of property related searches undertaken during the conveyancing process.
“Climate risks can be physical, transition, or liability related, and can negatively impact the value of land and buildings. In view of that, these searches will provide home buyers with an extra level of insight into their purchase and any climate related risks.”