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I am progressing with the sale of my house and the estate agent has just texted me to say that the purchasers are switching law firm. I am told that this is due to the fact that Adam & Company will only deal with solicitors on their conveyancing panel. Why would a major mortgage company only engage with specific lawyers?
UK lenders have always had an approved set of law firms they are willing to work with, but in the past few years big names such as Nationwide , have reviewed and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have worked with them for more than 15 years.
Lenders point to the increase in fraud as the reason for the cull – criteria have been tightened and a smaller panel should be easier to keep an eye on. No lender will say how many solicitors have been dropped, claiming the information is commercially sensitive, but the Law Society says it is being contacted daily by practices that have been removed from panels, or have other concerns about them. Some do not even realise they have been dropped until contacted by a borrower who has instructed them as might be the situation in your buyer’s case. Your purchasers are unlikely to have any sway in the decision.
Expecting to complete my purchase next Monday. My conveyancing lawyer has asked me to provide him with a copy of the building insurance for the house as he says that he has to check this in has capacity as lawyer for Adam & Company. What does the insurance need to cover?
All property lawyers on the Adam & Company conveyancing panel would need to check that the following risks are covered fire; lightning; aircraft; explosion; earthquake; storm; flood; escape of water or oil; riot; malicious damage; theft or attempted theft; falling trees and branches and aerials; subsidence; heave;landslip;collision;accidental damage to underground services;professional fees, demolition and site clearance costs; and public liability to anyone else. There are some other issues such as the level of excess that are set out in Adam & Company’s Part 2 requirements of the CML Handbook (last updated on Adam & Company). Being on the Adam & Company conveyancing panel your lawyer is expect to follow these requirements.
I am searching for online conveyancing estimates. Can I be sure that all the practices that are identified on your website are on the Adam & Company conveyancing panel?
The solicitor and licensed conveyancing practices listed on our site have assured us via an online form that they are on the Adam & Company panel and agreed to advise us to take down their listing in the event of removal off of the Adam & Company panel. To date we have not been informed by either a mortgage company or a member of the public that the data about a specific firm being on the Adam & Company conveyancing panel is incorrect.
The firm that just started acting on my house acquisition in Hendon has suddenly shut down. I only went with them because I had to have a solicitor on the Adam & Company conveyancing panel and my preferred lawyer was not. I paid them £200 on account. What do I do now?
If you have an estate agent involved then inform them straight away so that they can let the sellers know that there may be a slight delay due to the problems encountered. Hopefully they will be sympathetic and urge their lawyer to send a new set of papers to your new solicitors. You will need to appoint new lawyers that are on the Adam & Company conveyancing panel and notify the lender. If you have paid over any money it will hopefully be held by the SRA as money in an intervened firm's bank accounts is transferred to the SRA. Then, the SRA or the intervention agent looks at the intervened firm's accounts to work out who the money belongs to. To claim your money you will need to contact the SRA. If the SRA cannot return money you are owed from the firm's bank accounts, or if they can only return part of the money, you can apply to the Compensation Fund for a grant. Your new solicitors should be in a position to assist
Do conveyancing solicitors on the Adam & Company conveyancing panel work on a no move no charge basis?
On the whole there are no requirements by lenders for their firms to operate on a no-sale-no-fee basis. There a small number of lenders who operate a very restricted conveyancing panel managed by a third party company (often termed in the industry as a ‘gatekeeper’). That third party may impose certain conditions such as non-sale-no fee on the panel firms. If you require this as a condition of your conveyancing then you should check with the conveyancing firm that this is part of their package
Are all solicitor practices on the Adam & Company conveyancing panel overseen by the SRA?
As solicitors, in order to be on the Adam & Company conveyancing panel they would need to be regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. Many lenders do allow licenced conveyancers on their panel in which case such firms would be regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).
After shopping around on the internet I have found a solicitor having checked that they are on the Adam & Company conveyancing panel. Does my lawyer arrange the survey of the property?
Having read lots of mortgage guides,I note that they all recommend that you should get your house surveyed prior to buying it. When I asked my solicitor - who is on the Adam & Company conveyancing panel - on this she said they don't do this and I need to contract an independent surveyor. is that correct?
Adam & Company will need an independent valuation of the property. Your lawyer will not arrange this. Usually Adam & Company will appoint their own surveyor to do this, and you will have to pay for it. Remember that this is a valuation for mortgage purposes and not a survey.
You may wish to consider appointing your own surveyor to carry out a survey or prepare a home buyers report on the property. It is up to you to satisfy yourself that the property is structurally sound before you buy it. If the survey or report reveals that building work is needed, you should tell your solicitor. You may wish to renegotiate with the seller.
Your lawyer will not organise the survey but they may be able to put you in touch with a local one that they recommend. RICS offers a find a surveyor service (just google it) where you can search for a qualified surveyor by postcode. As you are getting a mortgage with Adam & Company you could contact your them to see if they have a list of approved surveyors.