Informing Home Movers about the Conveyancing Process:
Our BIG Question survey indicated that there was a real need to provide home movers with clear information on what happens during the home moving, how to prepare for it and how long it all takes.
The Association have responded by commissioning two animated videos describing the process, both of which can be seen here:
Pre Sales Preparation
The Conveyancing Process
The Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government issued a call for evidence in 2017. The CA’s response contained many of the ideas and ongoing work streams from our own 10-point Strategic Plan, outlined in our White Paper, aimed at delivering tangible improvements to the home buying process.
Many of the Conveyancing Association proposals were supported by sufficient respondents to the consultation for the Ministry to take them forward. The Ministry has indicated that it will work with industry to establish solutions to the issues identified.
The Home Buying and Selling Group was set up as the industry working group to assist the Ministry and the CA are active in the Group, Beth Rudolf chairs the sub group on Reservation Agreements and, along with other CA members, is part of the sub-groups for The Provision of Upfront Information and Leasehold.
As part of our campaign to improve the home moving process and place the home mover at the heart of the process the Conveyancing Association carried out a survey of home movers to understand how many were receiving all the facts prior to making an offer on a property. The results were eye opening.
Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations the person marketing the property is legally required to disclose all material facts which would impact their offer. However, the survey showed that 98% of people received no information prior to viewing the property and only 8% received anything prior to making an offer.
The impact of this should not be underrated. In leasehold in particular it perpetuates the opportunities for the abuse of incoming leaseholders as our report demonstrates.
We have been campaigning to bring reasonable fees and timescales to the leasehold sales process, including the launch of the Leasehold Property Enquiry Form (LPE1) and Freehold Management Enquiry Form (FME1) developed with 13 trade and representative bodies across the housing industry.
We have provided real life examples and transactional data, provided by our members, to highlight to the policy makers the exploitative attitudes of some lease administrators.
We have supported the Ministry and Law Commission in their consultation on Leasehold and Commonhold Reform and continue to campaign to against onerous lease terms.
We have produced the Leasehold Solutions Guide to identify solutions, where they exist, to the leasehold issues reported to us by our members, along with templates to remind lease administrators of the leaseholder’s rights.
Cyber fraud is an increasing risk in the conveyancing industry and the CA is supporting its members in tackling this ever evolving issue. The CA has brought together experts across the cyber security industry to input on a Cyberfraud and Fraud Protocol to highlight best practice which, if adopted by law firms, will reduce exposure to fraud and to provide a common sense training tool accessible to all Conveyancing staff. The Protocol has been reviewed and approved by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), part of GCHQ, and we review it annually with the help of NCSC and other Cyber Fraud experts to reflect emerging threats.
The Conveyancing Association White Paper on modernising conveyancing was released in November 2016 and has been brought about as a result of the Government’s call for evidence on modernising the home moving process. Our objective at the CA is to improve the home moving process for the consumer and our White Paper outlines the issues within the conveyancing process that need to be addressed in order to allow for a quicker, more consistent and a consumer focused process. The issues identified in our White Paper form the basis of the CA Campaigns.
Some of the most successful conveyancing practices in the UK, along with legal experts and conveyancing panel managers, worked together to produce the Conveyancing Association Technical Protocol, which outlines the legislation and practice which can be applied to solve the issues which conveyancers come across on a daily basis. Condensed into 5 pages the protocol is a intended to provide a training tool for trainee conveyancers and recap for experienced conveyancers.
We are working with leading mortgage lenders to address the issues that conveyancers and our clients encounter when dealing with the post offer process. Our roundtable meetings engage debate between lenders and members to improve communication and reduce post offer queries.
We are also working with the valuer community and their software providers to identify where divergent working practices between lenders, conveyancers and valuers may create delays and agree alternatives to reduce delays including our standard post offer query referral form.
Our mutual commitment to excellent customer service formulated the Conveyancing Association Pledges – the first customer service commitments in the conveyancing industry.
Our Estate Agent – Conveyancer Best Practice Guide aims to improve communication between conveyancers and estate agents. Our associate members are made up of large estate agency and legal panel management representatives, who helped to define this best communication and working practice guide.
We established our Conveyancing Academy in 2015 to provide cost effective online training platforms for our Members to train their staff at all levels. This was the first such facility available within the conveyancing industry.
Our collective commitment to charity fundraising led to the establishment of our Registered Charity, the Conveyancing Foundation. The Conveyancing Foundation Free Legal Fee Competition inspires our Members to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for their chosen charity.