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First sale completes under new "Conveyancers Code for Completion"

The first residential transaction has taken place under the so-called Conveyancer’s Code for Completion - a new procedure in which the buyer’s conveyancer agrees to transmit funds to the seller’s legal representatives one working day ahead of formal completion.

This means fewer chances of delays caused by funds being transferred on the day of completion and provides buyers and sellers with more certainty on when they will be able to pick up keys.

The code - which is voluntary - has been created by the Conveyancing Association as part of a larger plan which, in the organisation’s own words, “is an agreement between both conveyancers and clients to meet a series of undertakings to protect them and client assets, in order to provide a better completion day for all.”


The first completion of a property transaction has now taken place under the Code for Completion and was facilitated by two CA member firms, Convey Law and Attwells Solicitors LLP.

“The vast majority of delays which cause home movers huge stress on the day of completion are in relation to funds being received late by conveyancers and being passed on late in the day on related transactions. This new procedure ensures that all funds are in place the day before completion and are held to order pending completion actually taking place” explains Lloyd Davies, operations director of the Conveyancing Association and managing director of Convey Law.

“The home movers then get to move on the contractual time for completion between 12 [noon] and 2pm depending on the time specified in the contract. We are confident this form of practice will become commonplace and the norm within the conveyancing industry, and we are urging all enlightened conveyancers who care about client service, to adopt the Code for Completion” he adds.

In a white paper published by the CA a year ago, entitled Modernising The Home Moving Process, the association says that monies delayed between conveyancers may mean that a buyer at the end of a chain might not receive the keys to their new property until late in the day, particularly with the advent of the extended CHAPS hours for trasnferring funds.

It says in the white paper that by amending the Law Society Standard Conditions of Sale to require that completion monies are sent the day before completion, the completion can take place first thing on the completion date, giving all parties certainty of the time they’ll be able to collect the keys for their new property.

“Under the requirements of the Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme, amendments to the Law Society standard conditions are not permitted so there would need to be an amendment to the CQS requirements to achieve this” the association says. 

  • Rob Hailstone

    As long as all boxes are ticked (lender approval where necessary etc) and the undertakings are comprehensive, sounds like a sensible idea. Need to get on to The Law Society as I believe there are close to 3000 firms with CQS accreditation.

  • Peter Ambrose

    Without wishing to pour cold water on this ... but this has been going on for years - it's common practice albeit without a new label.

    It's called "held to order" and is not exactly rocket science.

    However. There are a couple of flaws to this cunning plan.

    1. What about the rest of the chain.
    2. That thorny problem of it breaching CQS "requirements".

    Mind you, there's a CQS requirement to act professionally and courteously and we see that breached every day so I guess that hurdle isn't quite so insurmountable.

  • Matt Faizey

    Praise Be.
    Absolutely a step in the right direction.

    I haven't read through the code (poor form on my part). I would like to know if within it can be mandated that the conveyancer is obliged to make their client fully aware of 'vacant possession' and at what time.

    Many many members of public simply don't get it.

    Examples this week;
    Monday, family moving themselves, thought they could take all day to move out. Total ignorance.

    Tuesday keys finally at four in afternoon. Why? Well, our clients solicitor sent funds prior to 1pm. There was ZERO communication from receiving side for more than two hours. Not even the phone answered.

    So, still a reasonable distance to go but this is a great step.

    Maybe fix the estate agents next.....

  • Rob Hailstone

    Most conveyancer will have told their clients what time the contract says completion should take place. Unfortunately, many don't read what they receive.

    As for completion, it isn't an exact science, client money comes in late, lender money comes in late, banks take too long to send money, banks take too long to acknowledge receipt of money etc, etc.

    Why don't you produce a client/customer guide Matt of what your most frequent problems are? Happy to assist with content.

    If a phone isn't being answered for two hours the firm should be named and shamed after being given the opportunity of defending itself.

  • David Bennett

    '... conveyancer will have told their clients what time the contract says'. That's new? Everyone knows Completion takes place around the middle of the day, on the contractually agreed, Completion day, when the funds come through, electronically. ! suppose a human has to press a button, though! Funds should be available from 0.01am on Completion day, in readiness for every other part of the process. How many times has a removal van been sat outside a property, at 3pm, waiting for keys to be released, to move in?

  • Matt Faizey


  • Matt Faizey

    How many.....
    We estimate there are, on average 65-70,000 physical moves happening per month.
    (For info there are in the region of 4250 movers in the UK with 25-30k staff, and our industry is worth £2bn)
    Of these, from our data circa half of customers will not get the front door of the new open open until 2-3pm.
    So that is 30-35k per month.
    Circa 20% are after 3pm. And, at this point it has become unfair, unreasonable and downright horrid for the family/couple etc and the moving company too.
    So, 12-15k per month have a naff day.
    1/10 are circa or after 4pm. Indeed recently (last 2 weeks) We've had 2 go over half four.
    So, every month, on average 20,000 families/couples are, effectively shafted by the system and people within it.
    Not too mention, for our industry this is 7500 operatives who, on these days, through no fault of their own do not go home until night time, and likely their kids are already asleep in bed.
    The families moving have a horrible evening, wake up next day like sh** and attempt to get straight. All when they should have had a nice day.

    For what

    Certain people should think about this when they're 'in a meeting' for three hours.

    Or when they're blaming banks when in reality they couldn't be faffed to check their client account. Or indeed when they can't be bothered to chase the money through.

    How many EA's or Solo's etc have watched a mother break down sobbing at 4pm because her kids are screaming and she fears she's going to be homeless?

  • Matt Faizey

    And Rob,

    I accept conveyancers fall back on 'we'll, we sent the info out'. It's lazy.

    As a mover I shouldn't be the one to inform clients of their legal obligations. Their con/soli should.

    The issue of 'it ain't your home past this point and you should be fully out, with it presentable - keys at agents etc etc' should be properly communicated.

    Con/soli reading this - you're the ones who'd poop yourself if the next one along served notice to complete .......

    And your client blames you.....

    All because you couldn't be bothered to have an empathetic conversation.

  • Rob Hailstone

    I tried Matt the olive branch approach , but you are a brick wall. Maybe we should swop jobs. Oh, yes, you would be the one conveyancer in thousands who miraculously solves everything in one go. How we need you!

  • Matt Faizey

    No, not at all. It's really, really simple.

    And not at all revolutionary.

    That time, in the contract. That small detail. Just comply with it.

    I appreciate it is an 'out-there' suggestion. And the idea of complying with the terms of the contract might be a smite weird.

    But what about it?

    Every conveyancer and estate agent wakes up and actually works to ensure that their clients are out of the old house, and into the new one, by the legally binding time already agreed.


    Comply and adhere to the very job that is already being paid for.


  • Rob Hailstone

    I think I understand more about brain surgery and rocket science Matt than you do about Land Law , conveyancing and the rules, regulations and constraints etc that conveyancers, in many cases reluctantly, have to adhere to.

    Let's hope the Government's Call for Evidence (did you respond, because you probably have some great ideas), the CA's initiatives and my efforts and those of my members (and others) make some improvements.

    Have a good evening.

  • Matt Faizey

    You carry on in your world of denial Rob.

    As I've shown, tens of thousands of people know without doubt that this process isn't being executed properly.

    Is it really 'news' that this code with funds being transferred the day before has been effective?

    Yes. And why is that?

  • mark cairns

    As a conveyancer I have for some time now when acting for the buyer at the bottom of the chain authorised the payment to the Sellers solicitors the night before completion. This means that it leaves my firm's account at circa 4.00 am on the day of completion and in the Sellers solicitors account well before they log on
    Mark Cairns

  • icon

    It would also be helped by discouraging clients from moving on a Friday - I don't know anyone who's only taken a weekend to unpack everything, having done any necessary redecoration first; and most civvies only move house about once every ten years, so it's worth giving up a few days to it. My other top tip (having moved house myself at least 28 times in 50 years) is to encourage clients to move out the day before, let the removals company take their furniture away, and having pushed the vacuum cleaner around, go and stay in a hotel or with friends for the night before completion. When they're spending hundreds of thousands on a house, £120 for a hotel room is chicken feed. All my clients who've taken that advice say it's the best advice they've ever had, and they'll tell everyone who'll listen that that's the way to do things. Even if it all goes horribly wrong, the chances are that the friend or hotel will have a room available for the following night, too.


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