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Conveyancers beg estate agents to ‘be patient’ as sales delays continue

The biggest names in conveyancing have issued a joint statement warning agents that ongoing problems with sales progression are unlikely to ease soon.

Nigel Lewis

The Society of Licensed Conveyancers (SLC), the Bold Legal Group (BLG) and the Conveyancing Association (CA) have asked agents to understand that transactions are going to take longer than usual to progress and to ‘please be patient’.

The triumvirate have also pointed out that ‘continually chasing’ conveyancers makes them less productive and indirectly is a further cause of delay in the process.

Simon Law, Chair of the SLC says that conveyancers are ‘stretched to the limit’ but that other problems are not helping.

Conveyancing giant BLG says other factors are at play including councils struggling to complete local searches or provide data to personal search companies; lenders being swamped by demand, many of whom are now taking longer to supply offer letters; and valuers being under extreme pressure.

BLG founder Rob Hailstone highlights one member who told him: “Chasing, on the face of it seems sensible, but the more we chase people the more they get distracted. You might get put to the top of the pile for a few moments but doesn’t seem to last for long.”

conveyancingLloyd Davies (left) of the Conveyancing Association says the impact of Covid created a vacuum of activity which has been followed by a ‘tidal wave of property instructions’.

He also says that many conveyancers furloughed or let staff go during the lockdown, and that getting headcount back up to strength, making offices Covid safe and setting up home working systems has taken time.

“Whilst firms have performed wonders in making such arrangements work it is inevitable that maintaining productivity is a real challenge, and of course allowance has to be made for the fact that unfortunately some employees have been affected by the disease,” says Davies.

Read more about delays to the sales progression process.

October 19, 2020


  1. Everyone involved in the business should try to understand the pressures and see what they can do to help out. Some delays sit with third parties not the conveyancers themselves and without other stakeholder taking action very little can change.
    This is not time for everyone to just shout louder at the legal system but a time to help out with what you can do to support it.
    Searches will not be getting back faster any time soon. The Only answer is for clients themselves to get on the queues sooner by ordering Searches when going to the market as a vendor, or, by ordering them on day one of a sale being agreed by the buyer if there is no pack ordered. This has to be estate agent lead.
    Property Searches Direct continue to help with this immediate issue by enabling home movers to access Searches Direct, saving significant transaction time. The Hazard Checker help anyone to understand which Search Pack should be ordered to avoid further delays and are made available to Vendors and Buyers.

  2. Where do I begin? The biggest change to the conveyancing sector since 1925 was HIP’s yes … The one good thing about the SDLT holiday that Rishi decided to unleash on the property sector is that maybe in 2021, the conveyancing industry and the lenders and the surveyors will do some ‘joined up thinking’ and digitize vast swathes of the business which are not yet covered. Paper and legacy models out, smart, secure, coded digital solutions in.

    With over 1.1M successful completions annually, it is time to accept that the repetitive groundhog processes and minutiae of the conveyancing system can be speeded and enabled by machines, time for those in ivory towers to take a look around, and start to grasp the opportunities, rather than bemoan the bottlenecks.

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