FAQs : The Atom Bank Conveyancing Panel
from members of the public
I am progressing with the sale of my house and the EA has just telephoned to warn that the buyers are swapping solicitor. The reason given is that Atom Bank will only deal with solicitors on their approved list. Why would a major mortgage company only deal with certain solicitors?
Lenders have always had an approved set of law firms they are willing to work with, but in the past few years big names such as Santander, have reviewed and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have worked with them for decades.
Banks point to the increase in fraud as the reason for the cull – criteria have been tightened and a smaller panel should be easier to keep an eye on. No lender will say how many solicitors have been dropped, claiming the information is commercially sensitive, but the Law Society says it is hearing daily from firms that have been removed from panels, or have other concerns about them. Some do not even realise they have been dropped until contacted by a borrower who has instructed them as might be the situation in your buyer’s case. Your purchasers are unlikely to have any sway in the decision.
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 Atom Bank. What does the insurance need to cover?
Any lawyer on the Atom Bank 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 Atom Bank’s Part 2 requirements of the CML Handbook (last updated on Atom Bank). Being on the Atom Bank conveyancing panel your lawyer is expect to follow these requirements.
I see that you have a search directory listing firms on the Atom Bank conveyancing panel. Do firms pay you a referral fee if I retain them for my own house purchase?
We are a listing service only for law firms wishing to communicate if they are on the Atom Bank conveyancing panel or other lender panels. We do not charge referral fees to the any conveyancer that you subsequently appoint.
We're in Liverpool, First timers buying with a mortgage (lender is Atom Bank , but our solicitor is on the Atom Bank conveyancing panel). How long should the conveyancing process take?
The fact that your lawyer is on the Atom Bank conveyancing panel is a help. It would almost certainly delay matters if they were not. However, no conveyancer should guarantee a time-frame for your conveyancing due to third parties outside of our control such as delays caused by lenders,conveyancing search providers or by the other side’s solicitors. The time taken is often determined by the number of parties in a chain
Is it the case that all conveyancing solicitors on the Atom Bank conveyancing panel work on a no sale no fee basis?
On the whole there are no requirements by lenders for their firms to operate on a no-sale-no-fee basis. There a small number of lenders who operate a very restricted conveyancing panel managed by a third party company (often termed in the industry as a ‘gatekeeper’). That third party may impose certain conditions such as non-sale-no fee on the panel firms. If you require this as a condition of your conveyancing then you should check with the conveyancing firm that this is part of their package
I previously instructed online conveyancers based in Manchester who are on the Atom Bank solicitor panel. They have just invoiced me a separate fee of £150 for dealing with the Atom Bank mortgage. Is this a supplemental conveyancing fee set by Atom Bank?
Unfortunately, as long as it is in their Terms and Conditions or Quote then yes your solicitors can charge a fee for this. This fee is not set by Atom Bank but by your lawyers. Some firms on the Atom Bank will charge an ‘acting for lender’ fee and others do not.
We expect to receive a DIP from Atom Bank this week so we can work out what to offer on a property we like as otherwise we only have online calculators to go by (which aren't taking into account credit checks etc).Do the Atom Bank recommend a solicitor on the Atom Bank conveyancing panel, or is it better to find our own lawyer
You will need to appoint solicitors independently although you'll need to choose one on the Atom Bank conveyancing panel. The solicitor represents both you and the Atom Bank through the process.