Conveyancing Association respond to White Paper feedback

With an aim to improve the current home moving procedure, the Conveyancing Association (CA) published a White Paper, which contained a utopian version of what it might resemble in the future.

Describing how the process could operate, our Paper provided an in-depth look at the current home moving procedure in the UK. Using both our own research as well as that from numerous stakeholders, we gathered comparative data and looked at systems used in other jurisdictions.

In regards to the more collaborative and digitally-based service the CA envisage for the future, we recognised that significant action needed to be taken in order bring this vision into being.

Within the Paper’s strategic plan, we believe the most effective ways to ensure a more positive moving experience are through:

  • Greater certainty;
  • Protecting against fraud; and
  • Communicating effectively.

Stemming from this, the strategic plan detailed eight workstreams, aiming to set out a framework for the modernisation of the process.

Since being published, we have received ample feedback on the framework which has been carefully considered.

As well as utilising this feedback to enhance the existing plan set out, as Director of Delivery I have produced responses to the varying feedback to the proposals.

  • Enhanced ID verification
    • One of the main responses in relation to this part of the framework was the need for confirmation of identity to be truly enhanced. The certainty needs to extend beyond that the person merely exists. I agree that this was a fundamental point, mentioning that in addition to biometric testing, verification should include evidence of proximity of relationship to the property.
  • E-Home Report
    • This proposal relates to data being collected in a comprehensive way, potentially utilising artificial intelligence to minimise enquiry volume. By implementing a system which identifies whether a form is complete and sends a notification to the sender when it isn’t, the need for repeated enquiries is reduced.
  • Completion Certainty
    • Enabling completion monies to be transferred the day prior to completion, this special condition received criticism in regards to its practicality. I relate this to the fear of fraud felt by many conveyancers. However, by introducing the framework and required elements necessary, the system could steadily be implemented. Along with the consent of the lender, other conveyancers would be encouraged to use this approach, having recognised that completion delays had been reduced.
  • Leasehold Reform
    • Focusing on reducing the costs and delays relating to leasehold transactions, this proposal aims to simplify the process for prospective tenants as well as supporting fairer terms being used in future leases. By working closely with other stakeholders, I think that obligatory use of the LPE1 form as the standard format would be an important step towards improving the process.
  • Local Search Data
    • This suggestion from the CA relates to the reduction of expenditure for local searches directly in regards to the CON29 element. I highlight that during the CA’s annual conference, attendees voted unanimously that the existing questions were not suitable for purpose. By reviewing the questions as well as their outcomes, the CA hope to produce a much more relevant result for both the buyers and the lender. Similarly, I would also like to mention that reducing post-valuation enquiries would cut the volume of questions that valuers received but were not getting paid to answer.
  • Secure Portal
    • The final workstream relates to creating a secure communications platform, with an aim to further minimise fraud. Providing a protected space online where consumer information and account details can be stored is likely to reduce the likelihood of clients being duped by fraudsters. Although I reiterate that the portal would not necessarily ‘deliver’ the conveyancing service, other results generated by pilots around transparency have seen transaction times fall. I think this provides a compelling argument to assist all parties involved in a transaction to identify where there is a delay.

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