Points for conveyancers to consider in 2015

Perhaps it was just me but already, in retrospect, it has become clear that 2014 was a year that refused to conform to expectations. Traditional patterns and norms simply went out of the window and what was left was a difficult year of adapting to meet my client’s expectations. This year I am resolved to do better. To balance the pressures of increasing billing figures, pleasing clients whilst still maintaining my obligations to lenders. I have previously written about the benefits of process management and I absolutely believe that this is a big part of our future survival however there are also things that I as an individual can do to improve. This column is today given over to a series of tips to make sure that we are sharp for 2015 as, believe me, the competition is overwhelming and the costs of making mistakes has never been higher.

CML

The CML is notorious for changing their requirements on a whim and even the most prudent conveyancer can be caught out. What I intend to do this year is to print or download Parts 1 and 2 of the CML handbook for each transaction and retain them on the file. To pay closer attention to changes to the CML handbook and to adhere to it to an even greater degree. For those of us who have signed up to the Lender Exchange, I am sure you would agree the stakes have never been higher.

Flood

Over the last few years flooding has become a more and more common phenomenon. Serious flooding has taken hold in regions where it never has before. Also, we as professionals are drawing our work from further and further afield, Ie. I am based in Manchester however if a client wishes me to act for them in a purchase in Blackburn I am unlikely to decline solely on the basis of geographical distance notwithstanding that I may not know the Blackburn area. In this instance, additional precautions should be taken. I would recommend obtaining an environmental search in such circumstances and also pay more attention to physical factors shown on the ordnance survey map. In short, we should always consider advising the client to consider checking whether flood insurance is available. Chris Langford has written very well on this in more detail here http://www.todaysconveyancer.co.ukdon-t-let-flooding-dampen-your-transactions-cms-14874

Solar Panel/Green Deal

These types of arrangements are becoming increasingly common. Either people will have a Green Deal scheme in operation and this will need to be assigned to the buyer or the solar panels will be owned outright in which case the buyer will have to produce the initial receipt for installation in order to claim the feed in tariff. Whilst one may be lucky and the Seller will have retained all of this information this will not always be the case. In this instance how do you address this? What do you look for? This area is fraught with difficulties and in the high pressure environment of a busy property department these things demand attention.

Always check with the Seller is registered with a FIT number or with Ofgem. If not the Seller should ensure that registration takes place and registration information is readily available. Other problems include locating the MCS Certificate (without this the FIT may not be registered and the solar panels may be rendered useless). Always ensure that there is an obligation in the Contract for the Seller to provide any help or assistance in registering the FIT or with Ofgem.

Clearly I cannot cover all topics here but I hope that this provides a taste of things to watch. Whilst some may predict patterns for the year I would prefer focus on spotting areas of change and trying to improve these. If anyone else has any big areas of concern please feel free to list these below and give us all a heads up.

Today's Conveyancer