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approved by Habito

Ready to buy a new home? Failing to check that a lawyer is on the Habito list of approved solicitors can put your transaction at risk of delay or failure.

Find an Approved Solicitor on the Habito Conveyancing Panel

Frequently asked questions relating to the Habito Conveyancing Panel

For what reasons could a law firm be removed from the Habito approved conveyancing panel?
A survey recently commissioned by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority found that three quarters of law firms had been removed from a lender panel. The most common reasons in order are :
  1. lack of transactions
  2. the lawyer is a sole practitioner
  3. as part of the HSBC panel reduction
  4. regulatory contact by SRA
  5. accidental removal. We are not aware of the specific or common criteria for removal by Habito
Our solicitor has uncovered a problem with the lease for the property we are purchasing. The other side have offered title insurance as a solution. We are content with insurance and will cover the costs. Our lawyer has advised that as he is on the Habito conveyancing panel he must check that the lender is happy with this solution. Who is the client here, us or Habito?
The short answer to your last question is that, notwithstanding the potential for a conflict of interest, you and Habito are the client. A precondition to being on the Habito approved panel is to comply with the CML Handbook requirements (last updated for this lender on Habito). The CML Handbook conditions require your lawyer to disclose issues such as defects will the lease so that Habito can be afforded the opportunity to check with their valuer as to the extent that the value of the property is affected . Should you refuse to allow your lawyer to make the appropriate notification then your lawyer will have no choice but to discontinue acting for you.
I note that you have a post code search directory listing firms on the Habito conveyancing panel. Do firms pay you a referral fee if I instruct them for my conveyancing?
We are a listing service only for law firms wishing to communicate if they are on the Habito conveyancing panel or other lender panels. We do not charge referral fees to the any conveyancer that you subsequently appoint.
I am selling my house. Does my solicitor have to be on the Habito conveyancing panel in order to deal with redeeming my mortgage?
Ordinarily, even if your lawyer is not on the Habito conveyancing panel they can still act for you on your sale. it might be that the lender will not release the original deeds (if applicable and increasingly irrelevant) until after the mortgage is paid off. You should speak to your lawyer directly before you start the process though to ensure that there is no problem as lenders are changing their requirements fairly frequently at the moment.
Why might a lender such as Habito withdraw a mortgage offer?
Banks and Building Societies such as Habito can withdraw their mortgage offer although this is unusual. If Habito withdraw their offer they may or may not inform you or the lawyer as to their reasoning. There are many potential reasons but here are 5 examples:
  • Habito may amend or withdraw an offer if the Habito conveyancing panel solicitor is unable to confirm compliance with any of the conditions of the mortgage offer or if any of the terms of the mortgage offer cannot be satisfied
  • Amendments if purchase price adjusted and the loan to value limits exceeded by this. Please note that Habito conveyancing panel solicitors would be obliged to notify Habito of a change in the price of the property.
  • A cashback to the buyer, or | part of the price includes a non-cash incentive to the buyer (eg paid stamp duty land tax),or | any indirect incentive (cash or non cash) or rental guarantee, of which the lender was previously unaware
  • Following advice from the property assessor on their lender panel or If the lender has doubts about the effectiveness of the valuation as a result of subsequent events or information received post valuation but pre completion
  • Where the sale is not at arms length for value to unconnected persons
It is not clear whether my mortgage offer obliges me to make sure the lease term for the flat is extended prior to the completion date . I have telephoned Habito on various occasions and told it wasn't a problem and they would lend. My solicitor - who is on the Habito conveyancing panel- telephoned and was told not they would not lend in accordance with their CML Handbook minimum lease term requirements. Who do I believe?
Your lawyer has to follow the CML Handbook Part 2 requirements for Habito. Unless your lawyer obtains specific confirmation in writing that Habito will go ahead your lawyer has no choice but to refrain from exchanging contract and committing you to the purchase. We would suggest that you ask Habito to contact your lawyer in writing confirming that they will accept the remaining number of years left on the lease.
After much negotiation I have agreed a price on an apartment. My mortgage broker pressured me to appoint their lawyers I paid an upfront payment of 200. Soon after the conveyancers contacted me to say that they were not on the Habito conveyancing panel. Am I right in thinking that I should be due a refund?
You should be able to recover this from the law firm if they were not on the Habito panel. They should have asked at the outset which lender you were obtaining a mortgage with. An important lesson to readers of this site is to check that the lawyers are on the appropriate lender panel.