Leasehold Changes Allow Conveyancers To Offer Vital Advice Earlier

The law society has welcomed the regulatory changes to the leasehold sector by speculating that speeding up the compulsory flow of information will prevent future home buyers from becoming emotionally invested in a property purchase they may regret in the future.

Under the new proposals, unveiled by James Brokenshire on 27th June, freeholders will be capped on the time they can take and the amount they are able to charge for vital information regarding a leasehold contract. Moving forward, freeholders will have a maximum of 15 working days to send this information and can charge no more than £200 for the service.

The Government are confident that this change will improve efficiency and speed of a home sale.

The Law Society claimed that immediate access to information could also improve the communication between conveyancers and buyers. Reducing the time it takes to receive key information, that may deter a buyer, has been viewed as important in preventing buyers from falling in love with the property before they review all the information.

It has been argued that buyers will be more inclined to follow legal advice if they are less emotionally invested in the property.

Communication has been a skill lacking within the conveyancing sector recently according to contemporary report findings. In June, the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) ‘Thematic Review’ revealed that almost a quarter of conveyancers were failing to offer vital information to their clients.

The review found that 23% of conveyancers were accused of ‘failing to properly explain long-term implications of complex contractual clauses. In particular, the SRA found that, within a leasehold purchase, 23% of conveyancers had failed to adequately explain the difference between leasehold and freehold models of ownership.

 Simon Davis, Law Society president, commented:

“It is encouraging to see government has recognised just how much easier it will be for consumers to make informed decisions if full information is provided at the very beginning of the home buying process.

“Conveyancing solicitors are usually involved at a much later stage, by which time clients may have already emotionally committed to the purchase – and may be less open to hearing advice about onerous conditions. This can make it much more difficult to advise. A time limit of 15 working days for developers and estate agents to provide the necessary information is therefore entirely appropriate and to be welcomed.

“It is particularly pleasing that alongside the Government-proposed key features document for new build homes, there will also be some provision for the second-hand market. This will help consumers to make comparisons between properties they wish to view.

“We are keen to see a satisfactory resolution to all of the issues currently facing affected owners and prospective purchasers of leasehold properties. Although these proposals appear to be a step in the right direction, we look forward to seeing further details of how the proposed legislation will work in practice.”

Do you think the leasehold changes will help to improve the communication between conveyancer and buyer?

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