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Q and A’s regarding the Cambridge Building Society Conveyancing Panel
My wife and I are novices when it comes to buying a property. Within the 48 hours our conveyancer has forwarded the sale agreement to sign with a detailed report in anticipation of exchanging contracts shortly. Cambridge Building Society have this afternoon contacted us to advise us that there is now an issue as our lawyer is not on their approved list of lawyers. Is this a problem?
When purchasing a property with the benefit of a mortgage it is usual for the purchaser's solicitors to also act for the purchaser's lender.
In order to act for a bank or building society a law firm has to be on that lender's conveyancing panel. An application has to be made by the law firm to the lender to become a member of the lender's panel and there are increasingly strict criteria which the firm has to satisfy and indeed some lenders now require their panel members to be part of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Accreditation Scheme.
Your property lawyers should contact Cambridge Building Society and see if they can apply for membership of the Cambridge Building Society conveyancing panel, but if that is not viable Cambridge Building Society will instruct their own lawyers to represent them. You are not legally obliged to appoint a law firm on the Cambridge Building Society conveyancing panel and you may continue to use your own solicitors, in which case it will likely add costs, and it may delay matters as you have another set of people involved.
I am due to complete my purchase next Tuesday. My conveyancing lawyer has asked me to provide him with a copy of the building insurance for the house as as he informs me that he is duty bound to validate that it is in order for Cambridge Building Society. What risks do Cambridge Building Society expect the insurance to cover?
All property lawyers on the Cambridge Building Society 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 Cambridge Building Society’s Part 2 requirements of the CML Handbook (last updated on Cambridge Building Society). Being on the Cambridge Building Society conveyancing panel your lawyer is expect to follow these requirements.
Do all the licensed conveyancers and solicitor practices listed on your directory have online case tracking as I understood that this was a condition of being on the Cambridge Building Society solicitor panel?
No. There is no CML Part 2 or Building Society Association requirement relating to online case tracking. Some law firms operate such technology and some don't.
I was expecting to move into my first house two days ago. My lawyer’s firm is on the Cambridge Building Society conveyancing panel but has moved offices in the past couple of months and had not advised Cambridge Building Society of their new address. Cambridge Building Society is now refusing to release my funds as the information from the solicitors isn't correct.
This is a rare situation indeed. Most lender Terms of Conveyancing Panel Appointment specifically oblige the solicitor to inform the lender of an address change. Your solicitor needs to treat this with the utmost urgency. Do speak with or register your concern with the senior partner (assuming he or she is not your direct lawyer). Most lenders would be reasonable in this situation and expedite the resolution of this issue. It may be prudent to enlist the help of your local Cambridge Building Society branch or your mortgage broker to see if they can assist.
When it comes to mortgage companies such as Cambridge Building Society do lawyers have to be pay a fee to be on the list of approved solicitors?
We are not aware of any lender fees to be on their panel although some do charge an administration charge to deal with the processing of the conveyancing panel application.
I previously instructed online solicitors based in Manchester who are on the Cambridge Building Society solicitor panel. They have just invoiced me a separate fee of £175 for the legal aspects of the Cambridge Building Society mortgage. Is this an additional conveyancing fee specified by Cambridge Building Society?
Unfortunately, as long as it is in their Terms and Conditions or Quote then yes your solicitors can charge a fee for this. This fee is not set by Cambridge Building Society but by your lawyers. Some firms on the Cambridge Building Society will charge an ‘acting for lender’ fee but plenty of firms include it on their overall fee.
Do most lenders operate their own panel of solicitors?
Many lenders do operate a restricted conveyancing panel but a lot of lenders allow any solicitors to join their panel so long as they meet their criteria. Each lender sets their own criteria. For example the Cambridge Building Society conveyancing panel requirements are different to Cambridge Building Society’s conveyancing panel requirements.
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