One of the UK’s most high profile conveyancing bosses has warned that the industry needs to have a common technology platform forced on it so that property transactions can be streamlined, and processes standardised.
Peter Ambrose (pictured) is MD of Guildford-based The Partnership, one of the UK’s largest conveyancing firms.
He says that the problems created by the huge rush of property transaction created by the stamp duty holiday and the post-Covid bounce-back will only be repeated unless the industry is forced to use a single platform.
“I interviewed someone for a job here recently who, in her current job at a small high street legal firm, was managing some 70 lease extensions using paper files and nothing else,” he says. “How can that be possible in 2022 when so many other aspects of the property industry have been digitised?”.
Ambrose says that, because conveyancing remains dominated by a patchwork of smaller firms some of whom shun technology, only being compelled to use a single platform will bring about change.
“It should be made compulsory either through legislation or an industry-wide agreement that transactions cannot be progressed unless they use an agreed technology to share information and manage enquiries. Any other approach is likely to fail.”
Ambrose says despite larger companies like his using their own in-house tech, the unusual nature of conveyancing where companies of all sizes must work together on each sale means this can lead to delays and miscommunication.
“The challenges of the post-Covid property boom exposed these structural weaknesses for all to see, and frustrated many estate agents, buyers and vendors as transaction times lengthened, but until conveyancers can come together, we’ll experience the same problem the next time there is a big property-boom rush.”