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I am selling my apartment and the estate agent has just e-mailed to advise that the buyers are changing their property lawyer. The reason given is that Chelsea Building Society will only work with property lawyers on their conveyancing panel. On what basis would a leading mortgage company only engage with specific solicitors?
Mortgage companies 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 hearing daily from firms 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.

My husband and I intend to remortgage our flat with Chelsea Building Society. We have a son approaching twenty who lives with us. The solicitor on the Chelsea Building Society conveyancing panel requested us to identify anyone over the age of 17 other than ourselves who reside at the property. Our lawyer has now e-mailed a document for our son to sign, waiving any legal rights in the event that the property is repossessed. I have two concerns (1) Is this form unique to the Chelsea Building Society conveyancing panel as he did not need to sign this form when we bought 5 years ago (2) Does our son by signing this giving up his rights to inherit the property?
On the face of it your lawyer has done nothing wrong as it is established procedure for any occupier who is aged 17 or over to sign the necessary Consent Form, which is purely to state that any rights he has in the property are postponed and secondary to Chelsea Building Society .This is solely used to protect the Chelsea Building Society if the property were re-possessed so that in such circumstances, your son would be legally obliged to leave.

It does not impact your son’s right to inherit the apartment. Please note that if your son were to inherit and the mortgage in favour of Chelsea Building Society had not been discharged, he would be liable to take over the loan or pay it off, but other than that, there is nothing stopping him from keeping the property in accordance with your will or the rules of intestacy.

Are the lawyers identified as being on the Chelsea Building Society conveyancing panel, together with their details provided by Chelsea Building Society?
The law firm practices themselves provide us confirmation that they are on the Chelsea Building Society conveyancing panel as opposed to being supplied with a list from Chelsea Building Society directly.
I am trying to get my former partner removed the mortgage deeds. Can Chelsea Building Society really tell me which solicitor I can or can not retain?
You can use any solicitor you like but Chelsea Building Society then has the right to appoint a different solicitor to act for them at your expense. It might be more cost effective and quicker to instruct a lawyer who is on the Chelsea Building Society solicitors panel
Can I be sure that the solicitor on the Chelsea Building Society panel is any good?
Getting recommendations is a sensible start. Before you go ahead check if they offer a no sale no fee offer. Also you often get what you pay for - a firm which quotes more will often provide a better service than one which is cheap as chips. We would always recommend that you speak with the solicitor handling your conveyancing
Planning on purchasing a flat with a mortgage with Chelsea Building Society. I have received an online quote from a licensed conveyancer, which states: "There will be no charge for dealing with the Lender if you are obtaining a mortgage". I take this to mean that there will be no additional fee if the solicitor is on the Chelsea Building Society conveyancing panel. I wanted to make sure it means there will be no additional fees for dealing with the mortgage.
They are simply saying that the cost for acting for the lender is included in the fee being quoted. It is worth you checking that they are on the Chelsea Building Society conveyancing panel
My offer on house has been accepted, the seller does however have a dependent purchase. The vendors have offered on somewhere, but not been accepted yet, and have viewings of other properties in the pipeline. My conveyancing solicitor has been instructed. What do I do now? At what point should I appy for the mortgage with Chelsea Building Society?
It is usual to have concerns where there is a chain as you are unlikely to want to be too out of pocket too early (mortgage application is approx £1k, then survey/valuation, conveyancing search costs, etc). First you should check that your solicitor is on the Chelsea Building Society conveyancing panel. As to the next stages this very much depends on the circumstances of your case, desire for this property and on the state of the market. In a hot mortgage some buyers would pally for the mortgage with Chelsea Building Society and pay for the valuation and only if it comes back ok would they pay their solicitor to press on with searches.