FAQs for the ASTRA mortgages Conveyancing Panel
from members of the public
For what reasons could a law firm be removed from the ASTRA mortgages solicitor panel?
A survey recently commissioned by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority found that three quarters of solicitor practices had been removed from a lender panel. The top reasons in order are :
- Low volume of transactions
- the lawyer is a sole practitioner
- as part of the HSBC panel reduction
- regulatory contact by SRA
- accidental removal. We are not aware of the specific or common criteria for removal by ASTRA mortgages
I am due to move into my new home next Thursday. My conveyancing lawyer has asked me to provide him with a copy of the building insurance for the house as he says that he has to check this in has capacity as lawyer for ASTRA mortgages. What does the insurance need to cover?
All property lawyers on the ASTRA mortgages conveyancing panel would need to check that the following risks are covered fire; lightning; aircraft; explosion; earthquake; storm; flood; escape of water or oil; riot; malicious damage; theft or attempted theft; falling trees and branches and aerials; subsidence; heave;landslip;collision;accidental damage to underground services;professional fees, demolition and site clearance costs; and public liability to anyone else. There are some other issues such as the level of excess that are set out in ASTRA mortgages’s Part 2 requirements of the CML Handbook (last updated on ASTRA mortgages). Being on the ASTRA mortgages conveyancing panel your lawyer is expect to follow these requirements.
Do all the firms listed on your search have online case tracking as I was under the impression that this was a precondition of being on the ASTRA mortgages conveyancing panel?
The Council of Mortgage Lenders or BSA do not require online case tracking. Some law firms operate such technology and some don't.
My conveyancers in Birmingham have advised me that no longer have my conveyancing file. To assist with my purchase I took out a mortgage with ASTRA mortgages. Is it case that being on the ASTRA mortgages conveyancing panel they need to have retained the file for a prescribed period?
Different lenders have different requirements but many of the Terms and Conditions of Conveyancing Panel Appointment require the file to be held for a period of 6 years. That being said we have not seen a copy of the ASTRA mortgages Conveyancing Panel Terms. It might be worth you contacting ASTRA mortgages directly.
Can you point me to a directory of ASTRA mortgages panel solicitors on the Council of Mortgage Lender’s Website?
No. There is no such tool on the Council of Mortgage Lenders or Building Society Association websites. Very few lenders make their panel listings available online.
We have agreed to purchase a house.One unusual aspect is that the roof has a solar panel. ASTRA mortgages have issued a mortgage offer so presumably this is not a concern to them. Why is my solicitor raising questions about the panel?
Given that your lender is ASTRA mortgages your lawyer must to check the ASTRA mortgages conveyancing instructions contained in the Part of CML Handbook for ASTRA mortgages . The CML Handbook contains minimum requirements for solar panel roof-space leases, and solicitors are required to report to ASTRA mortgages where a lease does not meet these requirements. The requirements relate to the installation of panels on properties in England and Wales. The CML are developing guidance for Northern Ireland and Scotland.
I am selling my flat. I had a double glazing fitted in month 2010 but did not receive a FENSA certificate or Building Regulation Certificate. My purchaser’s lender, ASTRA mortgages are being difficult. The solicitor who is on the ASTRA mortgages conveyancing panel is happy to accept ‘lack of building regulation’ insurance but ASTRA mortgages are requiring a building regulation certificate. Why do ASTRA mortgages have a conveyancing panel of they don’t accept advice from them?
It is probably the case that ASTRA mortgages have referred the matter to their valuer. The reason why ASTRA mortgages may not want to accept indemnity insurance is because it does not give them any reassurance that the double glazing correctly and safely installed. It merely protects against enforcement action which is very unlikely anyway.