7 Hot Topics in Conveyancing right now

During a recent conveyancing webinar, How law firms can make conveyancing more profitable, we were joined by Rob Hailstone (Founder & Managing Director, Bold Legal Group) who provided some brilliant insight into the hot topics in the world of conveyancing. In this article, we have summarised these and what impact they could have on conveyancing firms.

Conveyancing fees have increased (keep them up!)

Before we look at the seven hot topics on the conveyancing industry right now, we wanted to start by covering conveyancing fees. The average fees have gone up by 21%. It’s important that there isn’t a “race to the bottom” where fees are concerned as the market starts to slow down. Even though prices have increased (the average price for a leasehold property has increased from £900 to £1090), this still isn’t nearly high enough.

1. New referral fee proposals

Trading Standards issued guidance in 2019 to ensure that consumers are fully aware of the referral process – i.e. they are aware that the law firm recommended by their estate agent may have paid to be referred the work. New proposals due out later this year, are very unlikely to get rid of referral fees but hopefully it will increase transparency and compliance.

2. Levelling up

The government’s “Levelling-up” white paper talks about giving buyers more information up front, so potentially a replacement for the ill fated HIPs. HIPs themselves did not necessarily speed up the transaction as they didn’t involve conveyancing professionals at the right time. One way to influence this is to educate buyers and sellers more on the process and the benefits of instructing their conveyancer before their sale or purchase is agreed.

3. Leasehold changes

Proposed legislation means that leaseholders will now be able to extend their leases for a maximum of 990 years at a peppercorn ground rent, instead of being stung with potentially high ground rents. It does not, however, apply to current leases.

4. SRA outlines concerns over inadequate advice to leaseholders

Following on from the last point, the SRA is concerned about the advice given to leaseholders and has outlined certain obligations which include interpretation of material clauses which can affect the lease.

5. Making Commonhold a thing

A consultation is currently underway looking at whether, amongst other issues, commonhold should be reinvigorated as an alternative to leasehold ownership.

6. Property logbooks

The RBLA believe that residential property logbooks will help transform every aspect of owning and managing property in the UK. Whether they are a good idea and what the full implication and scope of the logbooks remains to be seen.

7. Dealing with estate agents

It’s also important to stress that your relationships with estate agents will continue to be key. As the market slows down and COVID restrictions disappear, take extra time to get to know them again – including in-person visits where you can!

This article was written as part of a live webinar delivered on 3rd March 2022 titled ‘How law firms can make conveyancing more profitable’ and included expert speakers Wayne McGhan (Legal Bricks), Lara Squires (Consortium – more than marketing) and Rob Hailstone (Bold Legal Group). Watch the full webinar for further insight.