Conveyancers have outlined ways they believe the property transaction process could be improved including shutting down or improving “dabblers” and getting agents to provide more upfront information.
Industry guru Rob Hailstone asked the Bold Legal Group membership for a five-to-ten-point ‘wish list’ of how to improve the process, but it turned into a 25-points. You can find the list below… However, the question is, where do we go from here?
- Reduce the backlog at HMLR.
- Simplify SDLT.
- Ban completely, or limit, the amount allowed to be paid by way of a referral fee.
- Shut down, or improve, the conveyancing firms that are continuously slow and inefficient, and are either often connected to paying referral fees, or just considered to be conveyancing ‘dabblers’.
- Agents and conveyancers to provide more information up front.
- Get conveyancers involved earlier in the process.
- Make owning a Property Logbook compulsory.
- No longer let caveat emptor be the principle that sellers have to adhere to.
- More policing and enforcement of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
- A unification of instructions and requirements from all lenders.
- Chain sheets to be provided by estate agents.
- Make ID and anti-money laundering checks more practical.
- Deeds of Variation are required more and more often now regarding section 121 of The Law of Property Act 1925 – government should legislate.
- Tackle the issues with regard to leasehold, managing agents and the completion and return of LPE1s.
- Target to improve their process on completion of redemption of H2B charges and removal of their charge at the Land Registry.
- Improve the way completion money is transferred on completion.
- Greater use of electronic signatures.
- More use of standard protocol documents as not everyone uses the Law Society versions.
- Reduce the number of additional searches being marketed as essential – especially environmental and planning searches. The more you ask, the more you must advise and act on the results.
- Reduce the ridiculous demands from new-build developers for urgent action in every transaction.
- Reduce the number of interruptions conveyancers receive throughout the working day.
- Ensure estate agents have a basic understanding of the conveyancing process.
- Lenders to advise when the mortgage advance has been released and is on its way.
- Do not ask conveyancers to advise on climate change.
- Provide clear guidance as soon as possible on how conveyancers should deal with the Building Safety Act 2022.
Add to the above the fact that some firms relying on conveyancing for a significant amount of their income can now pay as much as 20% of their turnover for PII cover and you have a sector of the legal profession that is being hit from all angles.
Recommendations include simplifying Stamp Duty and getting agents to understand the conveyancing process better.
It also proposes tackling conveyancing firms that are “continuously slow and inefficient, and are often connected to paying high referral fees, or just considered to be conveyancing dabblers.”
Firms added that they don’t want to be asked to advise on climate change.
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