Separate representation was of course common years ago as lenders did not operate open Solicitor panels however increased competition in recent years meant that it was extremely common to act for the Borrower and the Lender and this meant the borrower avoided delays and extra costs.
Following the credit crunch and mortgage fraud issues, there has been a change in the way many lenders approach open Solicitor panels, with tight criteria for membership now much more commonplace. Small practices will know only too well how difficult it may be to join a panel for even the big high street lenders.
More lenders are insisting on separate representation, but the customer is often unaware of this and the extra charges that they may incur. We will all be aware that where separate representation is used it can often lead to duplication of effort and delays both before exchange, and between exchange of contracts and completion, as well as the extra cost to the customer.
The market seems to be looking at giving the customer a list of a panel of trusted firms from which to choose their legal services but this is likely to put more pressure on the Sole Practitioner or small Practice, if separate representation really is on the increase.
What do you think?
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