The Conveyancing Association (CA) has worked together with Connells, Move with Us, Countrywide and LSL Property Services, to develop the CA Protocol in a bid to make the conveyancing process more efficient.
According to research the CA commissioned over the last five years, consumers believe that 23% of all home purchases or sales have fallen through due to delays caused by poor communication between lawyers lenders and estate agents.
52% of those who have bought or sold a house since 2008 felt the transaction took longer than expected, with 48% saying the process involved unforeseen delays.
The protocol was launched today at the Conveyancing Association’s Christmas Dinner and is designed to collate guidance from the Law Society, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Legal Ombudsman, the Council of Mortgage Lenders and case law — providing licensed conveyancers and solicitors with a single point of reference for best practice.
The Conveyancing Association believes the Protocol could shorten the length of time of a house transaction by up to five working days — and that it will ultimately enable licensed conveyancers and solicitors to provide their customers with a better service.
Sheila Kumar, Chief Executive, Council of Licensed Conveyancers, said: “I congratulate the CA on developing this useful protocol aimed at improving service to clients.
“Acting in the client’s best interest will always come before sheer speed but as we know any step to improve the conveyancing process is a welcome one. I hope that we can see more cross-sector action like this in future to improve the ways we work and to deliver better outcomes for consumers.”
Eddie Goldsmith, Chairman of the Conveyancing Association, said: “Anyone who has purchased or sold a house knows what a stressful time this can be. The Conveyancing Association’s mission is to look for ways to make these transactions quicker and easier — ensuring our members’ customers are provided with the best service possible. The CA’s Protocol aims to do just that."
A copy of the Protocol will be available here.
The protocol has been welcomed by many in the industry. Bethany De Montjoie Rudolf, Legal Services Consultant, Move with Us, said: “We welcome the new protocol initiative which has been launched at an ideal time for home movers in Britain. As higher transaction numbers are taking place, delays in communication and the increased timescales caused are often the biggest frustrations among homebuyers, solicitors and estate agents in the UK which the CA Protocol will go some way towards improving.
"The Conveyancing Association Protocol clearly sets out guidance for conveyancers with a point of reference for best practice. If everyone involved in the conveyancing process is aligned to these standards, timescales should naturally quicken as everyone will be reading from the same page.
"Faster timescales make for a happier homebuyer, allowing them to move into their new property much sooner, safeguarding their sale. For the conveyancer or solicitor, having the certainty of an agreed Protocol means that they should be able to have questions answered faster and access to necessary information will be much easier.
"Finally, estate agents will undoubtedly support an initiative that encourages faster timescales as this reduces the number of sales that are likely to fall through and better serves their clients’ wishes."
Roger Wilson, Conveyancing Services Director, Connells Group said: "We have been actively involved in the development of this protocol and fully endorse it. We will be monitoring its implementation across our panel of lawyers within Connells Group."