We wonder if anyone else shares our frustration, in the current conveyancing climate, with being prevented from discharging our clients’ mortgages on selling their property simply because we are not on a lender’s panel? Most recently we have been frustrated in this way with Bank of Scotland, Halifax and C&G mortgages.
As a small firm with only two fee-earners doing a relatively small amount of conveyancing (but still conducting a reasonable number of transactions each year), we are no longer on many panels – an experience no doubt shared by many other firms of similar size nationwide.
Is it not a sad reflection of the times that a law firm, duly authorised and regulated by the SRA, is not deemed trustworthy enough to transfer money to a lender to discharge a mortgage, but has instead to engage another firm of solicitors to receive the monies on completion which they are automatically authorised to transfer to the mighty lender?
The net result is we either have to pass on that additional fee to our client, or accept a reduction in our fees if we do not want the client to suffer unduly. Is this not, in turn, a hindrance to the client’s freedom of choice as to who should act for them in a transaction?
We have had to accept that we must advise our clients who require mortgages that we may not be able to act for them in that regard on a purchase, but why should we be prevented from discharging mortgages on our clients’ behalf?
This is not a universal policy, so it is always exciting when we come across a lender we haven’t yet had the pleasure of approaching for a redemption statement to see whether they will talk to us.
Deryn Coe, consultant solicitor, Fowler de Pledge, Cambridge