The little-publicised extension of the CHAPS settlement day - taking the closure up to 6pm from next summer - has received fierce criticism from a removals expert who says it places a completely unreasonable burden on estate agents, removals and customers.
CHAPS - well-known to most estate agents as the payment system that transfers funds for house purchases - currently closes at 4.20pm but from an as-yet-undecided date next summer this will be extended by another 100 minutes.
The Bank of England, which initiated the change, says the new closing time comes as a result of consultation with various parties. The Law Society has also welcomed the move saying it is “a useful and positive step that increases the likelihood of transactions being completed on the agreed date, and lessens the chances of home buyers not being able to move into their new property.”
However, it has been blasted by Matt Faizey of Midlands-based removal and storage company M & G Transport.
Faizey, a former board member of the British Association of Removers, has told Estate Agent Today that in his opinion many agency offices could have to stay open until 7pm to handle late key releases on clients’ completion days.
In a blog on his firm’s website he makes clear that he believes consumers will not benefit from the change either.
“I always knew that the conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors were way, way out of touch but this is plain ridiculous. I haven’t even started yet on what this means for our industry, but for now let us concentrate on the poor customers” writes Faizey.
“The Bank of England and Law Society think it is reasonable to leave a family homeless for an entire afternoon and then have them move in to their new home, late into the evening, in the dark, after having been sat in their car for five hours? That is the implied belief in this change. The Law Society must think this is acceptable practice, because this change will extend this time, not shorten it. Way to go! WooHoo, you truly do act in the interests of your own kind customers don’t you?”
He goes on: “So, instead of actually concentrating on making the system better, and forcing transactions to start sooner, or perhaps creating a code of practice which movers and estate agents might have had a chance to consult on – No, instead it has been decided that the crap system needs more time to be even more crap.
“The solicitor who takes three hours to send funds, due to a lacksy daisy bad attitude, well, can now take four. Why fix the real problem when you can mask it? Why force a lazy feckless individual to start funds transfer at 09:30 when you can just extend the time available and leave it so they can do nothing until after lunch?”
The full blog raises an interesting and under-reported subject, and you can read it here.