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 Longer completion days: removals’ body steps up opposition to CHAPS change

The British Association of Removers has entered the dispute over changes to the CHAPS arrangements for the transfer of monies on completion day.

Earlier this month we ran a piece on the Bank of England’s proposals that CHAPS (well-known to most estate agents as the payment system that transfers funds for house purchases) will from next summer close at 6pm instead of 4.20pm. 

Some fear that some agents that do not already open late on completion days may have to remain in their offices until up to 7pm to release keys.

The operators of CHAPS, the Clearing House Automated Payment System, say the change will allow its users - including thousands of conveyancers - to offer later cut-off times to their own customers.  

But in the latest BAR newsletter the association says the change “has the potential to impact enormously on our industry and more importantly on its customers.”
It goes on to say “it is difficult to understand how the changes to be implemented can be positive, given that likely outcomes will include that time of access into the new home will be pushed back even later into the day.”

The BAR describes the move as “ill-advised” and serves to exacerbate existing problems over late key release - delaying the work of agents as well as removal teams, and adding to the nervousness of house movers. 

“This may lead to detrimental consequences increasing cost, staff welfare and morale. The client could well be in the unreasonable position of having to either work late into the night, to achieve some level of comfort in their new home or potentially need to fund a night’s accommodation in a hotel, thus incurring yet more expense” says the BAR.
“This regrettable change is, in our view, ill-advised and does nothing to alleviate the problems that have existed for many years” the association concludes.

  • Rob Hailstone

    Many conveyancers believe the extended time will help complete those transactions that have been delayed:


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    The problem is of course that the delays are mainly down to conveyancers not talking to each other. Pushing the cut off point back to 6pm will only serve to delay what could have been done earlier as human nature dictates that people work to deadlines and will leave it until the last minute.

    Kelly Evans

    Spot on, Gordon.

    Jon  Tarrey

    Gordon, how's life outside politics serving you? Wouldn't have thought a career in estate agency would have been for you, but each to their own.

    Anyway, jesting aside, I agree with your point. I don't think pushing things back to 6pm will actually help, it will just mean things will be done slower because they have more time. As you say, it's human nature. If there are deadlines, people work harder to get things done. If they have more time, they tend to procrastinate a little bit more and leave it to the last minute.


    In my experience, this is almost never the reason for a delay. Conveyancers want to finish their work on a Friday and go home as early as possible, just as removals people do.

    Rob  Davies

    Well said, Frances. Does seem to be quite a lot of bitterness against conveyancers/solicitors here. No, the service they offer isn't perfect, but neither is that of an estate agent. I'm sure - in fact I know - that they have a very difficult task, with time pressures from all sides, and to lay the blame for delays entirely at their door is harsh in the extreme.

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    All that this would do is make solicitors lazier than they already are! They have little regard for the practicality of moving house or the fact that their clients would be waiting around well into the evening for the transfers to complete whilst they themselves would have gone home.

    Jon  Tarrey

    Say what you mean, Ray. Crikey!


    This solicitor has personally moved house 28 times in her life - far more times than any removals man I've ever met has done it. "Little regard for the practicality of moving house..."?

  • Rob  Davies

    Bit harsh on solicitors there, Ray. They do a hard, thankless job when it comes to house sales and I think they are too easily criticised. Yes, they can be very slow at times. But, as we know, tarring a whole profession with the same brush is neither fair nor right. We don't like it when it happens to estate agents, why a different set of standards for solicitors?

  • Rob Hailstone

    There are a number of reasons why transactions are delayed and a slow conveyancer might be one, now and again. Bank issues/delays more often though. In my 40 years in this business have never known a conveyancer who would not want their client to get their keys as quickly as possible. Don't judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

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    I too spent 40 odd years in residential sales & lettings and in my experience most 'preventable' delays etc are caused by solicitors acting as conveyancers.
    Latest example: No searches commenced because waiting for money to pay for them.
    Solicitor waiting. Why not received? He had not asked for it! Result - delay of at least two weeks. Typical.


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