The Society of Licensed Conveyancers says it is worried that HM Land Registry’s decision to publish details of apparent errors in conveyancing firms’ paperwork could be misleading to the public.
Yesterday we reported that the registry was making some 5,000 ‘requisitions’ daily - that is, requests for further information from conveyancers so the registry can process the paperwork related to a property transaction.
The registry suggests at least some of the requests could have been avoided if the applications had been completed appropriately at the outset; it says it will publish a league table of the 500 largest conveyancing operators who file to the registry, listing the number of requisitions required in each case.
Now the SLC says this could be misleading.
“Firms that deal with new title applications (plots purchased and leases) and a high volume of leasehold transactions could be disadvantaged as these applications invariably raise unavoidable requisitions” says a statement from the SLC.
“As an example, one of our member firms report that of their requisitions in 2017, 33 per cent related to Certificates of Compliance from Landlord/Management Companies and nine per cent related to discharges awaiting release from existing lenders. In other words, over 40 per cent of their requisitions were outside of their control” the statement continues.
The society’s statement goes on: “It must be clear to the public that requisition rates are post completion matters, and therefore are not necessarily an indication of the Conveyancers performance or quality of service in the home buying process. It must be stressed that releasing this data will have no direct impact on the speed of conveyancing for home buyers and sellers.”
The society also claims there are “long standing backlogs of work” at HM Land Registry, which “have still not been cleared.”
The SLC says it also believes that there should be a quid pro quo whereby the delays and problems caused to conveyancers are finally resolved to truly demonstrate that the Land Registry is playing in its part in making conveyancing simpler, faster and cheaper.
“Perhaps ‘Heal thyself’ is an appropriate mantra here” says the SLC.