Conveyancers warned of letters causing delays

The Law Gazette

13 October 2020

One of the UK’s biggest mortgage lenders has told conveyancers to stop sending unnecessary letters that delay the homebuying process which could have been avoided by checking the UK Finance Mortgage Lenders’ Handbook first.

Robert Stevens, head of property risk operations, data and strategy at Nationwide, told the Law Society’s National Property Law Conference last week that the building society received an ‘awful lot of correspondence on a daily basis – the good, the bad and the ugly’.

Recently, a conveyancer wrote to the lender: ‘Please find enclosed solar panel lease for your consideration. Please confirm that you are happy to proceed.’

Stevens said: ‘My view on that is you have got clear UK Finance Handbook guidance on what needs to be in a solar panel lease.’ He said correspondence was unnecessary unless the conveyancer was flagging up a concern.

The building society also received many unnecessary letters about ground rent. One letter said: ‘We would like to inform you of the ground rent as during the term of the lease the ground rent will increase beyond £1,000. We propose putting an escalating ground rent policy in place in respect of this, please can you kindly confirm if you are agreeable to the same.’

Steven said: ‘These are just a few examples, but they are all challenging ones where it causes problems, and extra delays and time – your time as well.’

Meanwhile, HM Land Registry says it is close to publishing draft guidance on qualified electronic signatures. These do not require a witness because the process has an embedded check within it, the output is encrypted and it works to a regulated standard.

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