Logbooks about properties must be made available up-front at the point of marketing and not later in the buying process if conveyancing and house purchase are to become more efficient and effective.
That’s the view of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, meeting today in London; the organisation has issued a White Paper - Conveyancing 2030: A Discussion Paper - on taking conveyancing into the digital age.
“Technology will radically improve transparency for consumers about what they are buying and the progress of their transaction. Because of the Internet of Things, properties will maintain up-to-date logbooks with little human intervention” it predicts.
The document stresses how central data will become, delivering a ‘single source of truth’ on a property. It asks how to ensure all parties can trust the data: “Who will validate the information and who becomes responsible if that data is incorrect or something goes wrong?”
Chair of the CLC Dame Janet Paraskeva says: “With so much work going on to improve and reform the process, we think now is the right time to take a wider view on what this all means in the long term and how we can ensure that the home buying and selling process works best for consumers, service providers and ultimately the UK economy.
“We do not claim to have all the answers but with change coming it is vital that we as a regulator and the community we regulate are thinking about how we make sure we are ready for what future developments may bring. I hope this report will fuel a discussion across the property industry and that conveyancers themselves will grasp the opportunity to shape their future.”
The paper traces how the conveyancing process has and will continue to change, and highlights a range of questions that everyone involved – regulators, lawyers, estate agents, lenders, technologists and others – will have to grapple with to ensure that consumers benefit from it.
The document also claims that key questions for the industry include whether government should mandate the move to electronic conveyancing, rather than wait for incremental change, whether the law firm model will need to evolve to survive, and the extent to which regulators might need to regulate technology in addition to lawyers.