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Conveyancers to consider how to cut costs, delays and fall-throughs

The Conveyancing Association is setting up a working group to consider how to increase transparency, cut unnecessary delays and costs, and provide more information during the fraught house-buying process. 

The move by the CA - made up of solicitors and licensed conveyancers who collectively conduct 20 per cent of property transactions and 70 per cent of remortgages in England and Wales - is in response to the expected ‘call for evidence’ on the home buying process from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

The CA’s new group will be made up of the executive, management committee and member firm representatives will create a ‘white paper’ to be debated at the association’s annual conference at the end of the year, and will form the basis of the organisation’s formal response to the BIS.

“We see the publication of its forthcoming ‘call for evidence’ by the BIS as presenting a real opportunity for the conveyancing profession to establish what we would like to see change and happen within the process” says Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association. 

“Given the depth and breadth of this Government initiative, this represents the chance to draw a line in the sand and to help formulate and develop how the conveyancing process should look like in the future. ... This feels like a pivotal moment for how the home-buying process develops.” she says.

  • Matt Faizey

    I wonder if there will be anything in terms of collating outside thoughts?

    Unless evidence is sought from those on the receiving end, from client to associated parties then what good will it do?

    You can't put people from a flawed process in a room, with no outside evidence or testimony explaining exactly why what they're doing is so flawed (and what the effects and damage caused are) then expect them to know how to solve it.

    Hopefully, prior, the CA will seek to understand why the flaws exist from all the parties suffering, otherwise it's just a group of people talking from an inwards perspective.

    When this happens they'll always find ways to make their own professional lives easier rather than their paymasters.

    That applies for any circumstance like this, not just this one

  • Rob Hailstone

    It is good to see that the Conveyancing Association is setting up a working group to consider how to increase transparency, cut unnecessary delays and costs, and provide more information during the fraught house-buying process. My concern is that the CA is made up (mainly) of the volume conveyancers and bigger players. Will their views, comments and suggestions be as relevant to the other firms who collectively conduct the other 80% of property transactions?

    The CA have said:

    “This feels like a pivotal moment for how the home-buying process develops and the CA is committed to ensuring the views of our members are fully represented and we are able to support the BIS in delivering on what are sure to be some wide-reaching aims and ambitions.”

    The Bold Legal Group (420 member firms and growing, many of whom are also CA members) has similarly been working with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and will also be responding to the ‘call for evidence’ when it comes. Maybe some joined up thinking at the outset would be a good idea.

    Responding to your comment Matt, I think we know what you, some removers and agents think is wrong with the process. You have been very vocal about these issues in the past:

    “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?”

    Having said that, I think all stakeholders should be involved and whether the CA and BLG work together or not. I now extend the hand of co-operative friendship.

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    With law firms providing the Government's review into the same issues, and a critique of volume conveyancing, I can see why some organisations are panicking.

    Standards are at all time low, and big changes are needed to the quality of the actual person offering the legal work. That keeps being overlooked in any new idea to improve things.

    (Can't say we are many fall throughs though at all, do others? And Conveyancers carry the biggest risks in a home move yet already charge far too low a fee of anyone else in the process. Cut price fees and kickbacks/owning agents/conveyancers are the two biggest financial issues to address.)

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    Hi Rob

    As always absolutely we will be consulting on this (in fact I was discussing these very things with a group of estate agents yesterday!), this is the next step after the Roundtable we had with everyone in April, so taking those ideas and beginning to flesh them out.

    We will then we debating them at further roundtables to which all industry stakeholders will be invited at our conference in December.

    If anyone would like to be involved then please do email me. brudolf@conveyancingassociaiton.org.uk.

  • Jane Finch

    Hi Beth

    Well done to the CA for actively taking steps to see how the conveyancing process can be improved.

    As Matt and Rob suggested, collaboration between all the parties, who get impacted throughout the customer's journey of moving home, should be involved in the discussions to improve the process. Biased opinions aside, critical but healthy feedback from estate agents, mortgage lenders and removers, is extremely important. Myself, Matt and thousands of other removers have personally witnessed, and had to deal with the fallout, when completions fall through or get delayed. Or when there's only a couple of days between exchange and completion and clients are left scrabbling around looking for a remover, because they've not had enough time to book properly.

    Minimising and finding a legal way around all the issues is well overdue. Especially where the transfer of funds on completion day is concerned.

    Count me in for your roundtable discussions, or if you need input in between as well.

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