Property logbooks challenged by leading conveyancers

Following comments within the Home Buying and Selling Group by the sceptical law firms, logbook providers are to launch a new 'pilot' to reassure them.

Property logbooks providers have launched an initiative to prove the technology’s worth after nine law firms revealed their concerns about using them at an industry gathering.

These fears were raised within the property industry’s Home Buying & Selling Group last summer, it has been revealed, during which the law firms said they were unhappy that there was no agreed ‘standard’ as to what a logbook should contain before a property can be listed for sale.

They also questioned how they could trust the information provided to them via a logbook, given there can be up to 19 different sources for property information.

stuart young logbook
Stuart Young

To answer these questions, the HBSG Logbook Working Group’s ‘lead’ Stuart Young is organising a pilot that will help bolt down a standard set of information for all logbooks.

That will include the owner’s details, as reflected in the Title; an Energy Performance Certificate; Title Plan; Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN); and the identity of the owner.

Other data is expected to include planning permissions, building regulation notices, neighbour agreements and guarantees.

But whether conveyancers accept them or not, the working group says logbooks will only work if everyone uses them – a huge task given this will need the cooperation of all the UK’s surveyors, lenders, conveyancers, local authorities, the Land Registry and estate agents.

The HSBG says the only way for this to happen is if the Government “plays a stronger role in driving adoption” and also makes its own data easier to access.

HIPs in disguise?

But estate agents in particularly will need persuading – many in the past have said they believe logbooks to be Home Information Packs (HIPs) in sheep’s clothing and are sceptical that they will speed up the sometimes glacial conveyancing process.

Nevertheless, the property industry is trying to do its bit via the Open Property Data Association (OPDA) which, in collaboration with key stakeholders, is addressing the issues of data reliability through the development of a Property Data Trust Framework.

“We are delighted that, having done this work, we are looking forward to running ‘test and learn’ pilots with these law firms, with some of the Logbook Working Group members,” says Young.

“In addition to this, the next steps involve the Logbook Working Group facilitating another session with surveyors to understand their requirements and estate agents to follow.”

One Comment

  1. A great article thanks The Negotiator. A really good point raised is “law firms said they were unhappy that there was no agreed ‘standard’ as to what a logbook should contain before a property can be listed for sale.” I believe that through collaborative efforts within the industry, we can establish standards that greatly benefit hashtag#conveyancers, who rely heavily on accurate information. Their role presents significant challenges, so simplifying processes wherever possible is crucial. Standardising administrative aspects of conveyancing will not only assist conveyancers in their work but also enhance the experience for customers.

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