Northern Ireland ‘memorandum of understanding’ could be blueprint for England and Wales

In March this year, solicitors, surveyors and estate agents in Northern Ireland agreed to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to improve communications between all parties. The agreement, which offers “another layer of reassurance of ‘best practice’ in home-buying and selling”, could now be used as a template for the conveyancing process in England and Wales.

The Law Society of Northern Ireland, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and NAEA Propertymark all signed the MOU on behalf of their members. The three professional bodies have been actively working together to identify ways to improve the residential conveyancing process.

The initiative aims to make the process of buying and selling a home in Northern Ireland much smoother for consumers and establishes what each party should be communicating, to who, and when. The MOU also enables the “identification and efficient resolution of any problems and issues at a much earlier stage in the conveyancing process”.

Ultimately, it is expected that the consumer will benefit from a more efficient conveyancing process without impacting costs.

Commenting on the launch of the MOU, Alan Reid from the Law Society of Northern Ireland said: “The Law Society of Northern Ireland is delighted to be working in partnership with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (NI) and the National Association of Estate Agents (NI) on this important initiative which will seek to make the conveyancing process in Northern Ireland more efficient and effective”.

Sam Dickey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (NI) added: “RICS welcome this new initiative which underscores the need for cooperation and communication amongst all parties involved in the residential conveyancing process in Northern Ireland”.

While Kirsty Finney from the National Association Estate Agents (NAEA) said: “This initiative provides a template for best practice moving forward and continues to keep the consumer at the heart of the conveyancing process”.

Observing on how the agreement could affect conveyancing in other parts of the UK, Dame Janet Paraskeva, chair of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers in England and Wales, said: “This initiative underpins the importance of all professionals involved in the process working together to improve the consumer experience.

“We welcome efforts to demystify and streamline home buying and selling and we are keen to see how a similar approach could be rolled out in England and Wales with the support of regulators and professional bodies.”

You can read the joint memorandum here.

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