So what are my pet peeves at the moment? What would I like in my wish list for things that other solicitors/estate agents should stop doing to make the process better in what is a very difficult time
- please do not ask me if I have verified my client’s identity – if I am in a CQS accredited firm, I will be complying with the Protocol which requires me to carry out all necessary identity checks, and the use of the Law Society forms and formulae is mandatory. I will therefore be completing the transaction in accordance with the Code for completion and the undertakings contained in it
- please do not ask me if I have met my client in person – correct me if I am wrong, but I do not think that there is an obligation on me to do so and even if I do, the person I meet could still be a fraudster.
- please do not ask me if my client has complied with all covenants if those covenants are clearly obsolete or clear from the documents supplied – it is apparent if my client has turned the property into a shop.
- please do not ask my client to sign a copy of the plan – what is being sold is detailed in the contract ; please just ask me if you think that the plan is wrong other than that please ask your client, the buyer, if the plan is correct and covers all that he believes that he is buying.
- please do not send me a list of non-specific enquiries , many of which will already have been answered in the Property Information Form.
- do not ask me for a copy of the FENSA certificate or any other competent person’s certificate if it is revealed in the result of your local search.
- do not repeatedly ask me the same question, expecting a different answer – you will not wear me down by asking the same question over and over again and you will not get a different answer (which ticks your box).
And following on from enquiries, whether relevant or not, it would really help if instead of just answering by using the word ‘confirmed,’ you provided a little more detail as to what is confirmed. It may save you time but it does not save my time and can cause confusion if the numbering goes awry.
Emails and phone calls
- do not call me and then email me to tell me that you have called me.
- do not email me and then call me to check I have received the email.
- do not email me, then call me and leave a message and tell the client/estate agent I am not responding to you.
- do not call me and not leave a message and then tell the client/estate agent that I have not answered your call when I do not know if you have called if you have not left a message.
- if you send the contract documents by email, do not then tell the estate agents five minutes after sending them that you have sent the documents but I have not yet raised enquiries – I need to review them and prepare a report on them – just because the means of delivery is quicker does not mean that I can deal with them any quicker and there is no reason to add pressure to a system which is already overloaded .
- do not raise enquiries four to six weeks after receipt of the contract documents and ask me to answer within 24 hours. If I had my way, I would wait four to six weeks before replying but then everyone would just blame me!
and there are so many more that I could add…. This is the “starter for 10.” Please feel free to add your own in the comments below…
This is written by a real high street conveyancer who wishes to remain anonymous. Read more in Today’s Conveyancer every week.