Conveyancers respond to suggestions of leasehold scandal responsibility

Conveyancers have dismissed accusations their actions alone could have stopped the leasehold home scandal.

During scrutiny of heavily criticised contract terms which resulted in ground rent doubling every ten years, questions were raised in regard to the responsibility of the solicitors involved.

Commenting on the suggestion that conveyancers could have prevented the problems caused, Rob Hailstone stated that buyers would have been unlikely to act upon rent increase warnings. Whilst he acknowledged that the professional may be at fault had the term not been highlighted, he stated that it this was unlikely to have been the case.

The founder of Bold Legal Group stated: “Most, if not all, solicitors and conveyancers would have spotted the rent increase clause in a lease and would have pointed it out to their buying client and any mortgage provider, along with a lot of other important issues.

“The sad fact is that in many cases, their buying client will not read or act upon the advice given.

“Most buyers will want to proceed, understandably, with their purchase as quickly as possible, head down and with rose-tinted glasses on.

He went on to state that many buyers may not fully appreciate the role of the conveyancer, with the extent of their role and responsibility not completely being taken into consideration.

Highlighting the significance of all parties in the home buying process,  the Council of Mortgage Lenders commented on the need to acknowledge that housebuilders and estate agents also share the responsibility of providing clients with all important information.

“All players in the housing market have a part to play in making it work for everyone.

“This begins with the housebuilders or estate agents, who should be clear with their customers about the details of the house they are considering buying and later the surveyors who are confirming the valuation of the property…

“We require the conveyancer to act in the best interests of clients – this includes the lender when the conveyancer is also acting for them – providing good quality, independent information, representation and advice.”

Following their proposals on residential leaseholds in the UK, the Government recently launched a consultation where they are seeking feedback on the plans set out.

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