As anyone who has ever bought or sold a house will know, the conveyancing process can sometimes seem frustratingly slow. Even if there is no chain, the sheer volume of documents that need to be shared and agreed between solicitors, estate agents and lenders often mean that things can take a long time. Of course, most solicitors firms now use case-management systems. But there has until now been no way of linking the systems directly with those of the other professionals involved. For example, a seller’s solicitors can prepare a contract or a transfer on their own system, but it still has to be sent to the buyer’s solicitor, either by email or post. The buyer’s solicitor will then have to check it and perhaps add some details and make amendments before it is sent back. And of course, throughout all this, clients have to rely on updates from their solicitor.
Hopefully, a new scheme will help to speed things up and make the process more transparent. The Law Society’s conveyancing portal, due to be up and running in 2014,will cut out the need to send documents by post or email. Instead they will simply be uploaded onto the online portal, where they can be accessed immediately by the other solicitors and estate agents involved in the transaction. It is intended that the Land Registry and HM Revenue & Customs will also be linked into the system, to speed up theprocessing of property transfers and stamp duty payments. Of course, clients will also have access to the system, to enable them to check the progress of their transaction on a “chain view” feature whenever they choose. All information will be accessible through a smartphone or tablet.
Firms such as Beecham Peacock LLP, which is already accredited by the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, will be able to start using the portal as soon as it is up and running. Those who are not accredited will have to be vetted to ensure their work is of the high standard required.
Of course, security will be a major consideration. Practitioners will have access to a secure online “deal room” in which to make transactions, thus safeguarding the personal and financial details of the parties and making it much harder for fraudsters to hack into the process.
It is hoped that the new portal system, once up and running, will mean faster and more efficient conveyancing for practitioners and their clients.
Beecham Peacock Solicitors in Newcastle can advise on buying or selling your home or commercial property. Call us on 0191 2323048 or email email@example.com.