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Out of office - absent conveyancers causing transaction delays

Fresh data from a PropTech firm suggests that 'conveyancer absenteeism' is causing severe delays to property transactions.

When You Move reports that some 30% of over 2,000 homemovers it surveyed experienced an average transaction delay of over six weeks because their conveyancer was not in the office.

The study, carried out within the last month, also claims that one in four conveyancers are out of the office during the most critical periods of a property transaction. 


When You Move, a platform which aims to connect movers and agents with conveyancers to increase transparency and improve case tracking, has revealed a number of other figures relating to conveyancers being absent and how this is affecting consumers:

- 25% of consumers whose solicitor was away were not told when they would be back;
- 27% did not know when their property lawyer would return;
- 24% said that their property lawyer was on personal leave, such as a holiday; 
- 27% said their case was not worked on while their solicitor was away, delaying the process;
- 29% experienced an average delay of seven weeks due to an absent conveyancer;
- 31% experienced an average delay of eight weeks due to 'other reasons';
- 29% of respondents said that during the sale or purchase of their property, they had to speed up the process themselves by chasing for updates; 
- 25% found that lawyers offered the lowest level of customer service that they encountered during major transactions;
- 21% would not use the same lawyer that they’ve used previously due to their poor customer service.


"Ensuring transactions are completed with greater efficiency, transparency and speed is fundamental to delivering a consumer-focused service for all those buying and selling homes in the UK," says Simon Bath, When You Move chief executive.

"Consumers should no longer be put off by the lengthy conveyancing process and the conveyancing industry should be able to stick to its promise of completing transactions by the projected date whether your conveyancer is away or not."

Poll: Are absent conveyancers one of the biggest causes of delays in property transactions?


  • Christian Woodhouse

    If you conduct a survey during the school summer holiday period, you’re going to get a much higher than average response of “Out of Office”.
    Admittedly, solicitors need to up their game in terms of communication and transparency but change is afoot. Also tools like View My Chain allow visibility of the entire process and chain.

  • icon

    I suggest that those who polled Yes that absent solicitors are the MAIN reason for delayed transactions have been sucked in by what appears to be an advert for a potential supplier of a different system. Nonsense, delays are due to staff shortages in many areas including district councils, SSDC are hugely behind due to funding cuts. Land Registry ditto, causing delays of up to 12 months where title has not been correctly registered! Conveyancers can easily be projected to us estate agents as the culprits when in fact the delays are often with the people who they are trying to get facts from.

  • icon

    What an odd article, aside form the immediate flaw, what conveyancer takes an average of 6 weeks for a holiday.

    I have handled thousands of conveyancing files over the years and an absent conveyancer has never been a factor in a slow deal, not once - and anyone who follows my social media comments knows I berate poor conveyancing, but no, an absent conveyancer is never a factor delaying the whole deal. A conveyancer may be away for 48 hours max without cover, but nothing more.

    Weird stats, sorry.

  • Peter Ambrose

    Tim - as ever, clear and on the money!

    The stats are very curious because unless it takes someone 4 weeks to catch up from a 2 week break then something is amiss here.

    That said, I cannot agree that conveyancers are away max for 48 hours without cover - sadly. We have first hand evidence where lawyers can be away for two weeks without cover. Sadly this is not that uncommon...


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