Propertymark highlights key changes needed for conveyancing

Jessica Bird

August 13, 2021


Propertymark has submitted a response to the Law Commission outlining three key changes to improve the conveyancing process for agents and consumers.

In March the Law Commission opened a consultation on the 14th Programme of Law Reform which closed in July.

The consultation sought to identify areas of the substantive law of England and Wales that need reform, and to help decision makers prioritise those reforms.

Propertymark submitted a response regarding conveyancing issues found by agents and consumers.

The response highlighted three key elements in the conveyancing process that could be modified to improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and boost consumer experience.

In 2018, the UK government made clear its intention to make the conveyancing process in England and Wales “quicker, cheaper and less stressful.”

However, Propertymark pointed out that it still takes an average of 20 weeks to buy or sell a property[i] and over a third of sales fall through at a cost of £250 million to the consumer.

Propertymark argued that shifting to vendor disclosure and upfront information, digitisation of local land searches, and implementation of digitised property logbooks will speed up the process, helping agents and consumers, as well as reducing fall throughs and the wastage of time and costs involved.

In 2020, data showed that 31% of failed transactions were due to purchasers changing their minds and a further 11% of sales fell through due to survey findings, issues Propertymark argued could be countered in part by providing more information at the start of the buying process.

The Law Commission is due to publish its programme of successful projects in the first half of 2022.

Timothy Douglas, policy and campaigns manager at Propertymark, said: “There are significant resources in the industry being wasted unnecessarily which could be solved by Propertymark’s proposed changes.

“We want to bring the process into the 21st century, reduce fall throughs, improve customer satisfaction, and avoid cases of mis-selling.

“These changes could be made with relative ease and should be adopted consistently on an industry-wide level to ensure transparency and uniformity in the conveyancing process.

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