Government regulation and reform of house buying should see the process made faster and easier in 2022, it’s been predicted.
Lloyd Davies - managing director and founder of specialist residential practice Convey Law and a former director of the Conveyancing Association - says reform will be cross-industry in the next 12 months.
He says: “I hope that we will see some changes to conveyancing protocol and the government intervening to kick start the changes needed to change the way that we convey to make it quicker and more effective for all concerned.
“I would like to see Legal Contract Packs, approved by the seller’s Conveyancer, prepared at the point of marketing or within three weeks of the property being placed on the market.
“This will speed up the time to exchange from offer by three to four weeks and is a no brainer. We need to look at conveyancing digital protocols and implement them – greater input from our regulators will be required in this respect.
“A word of warning on the conveyancing changes required. To facilitate change, the changes should be non-evasive where possible and gradual in terms of processes. An example is changing the process of ordering searches at the start of a transaction by the seller.”
Davies says asking sellers to pay for the cost of property searches as well as a Legal Sellers Pack could amount to £500 to £600 extra per transaction and could curtail properties coming onto the market in the first instance.
He continues: “We need one protocol across the industry, not varying ones for each regulator, and we need to be mindful of the impact of change on the businesses of professionals in the industry. Completely changing processes and procedures takes time and is disruptive – and we could all do with a break from the disruption of the last 18 months!”
And he adds: “I think that we will see the electronic signature of deeds come to fruition next year as well as systems and defined procedures to enhance client identity measures, curtail cyber fraud and money laundering.
“The events of 2021 and the Simplify group with their IT systems being the target of a cyber-attack sent shockwaves across the industry and we are yet to see the full impact of the slowdown of instructions to the conveyancing giant, which was undertaking thousands of transactions every month.
“It is an exciting time for our industry and we need to grasp the nettle and work collectively to implement the changes required to make conveyancing faster and safer for all concerned.”