Q and A’s regarding the Britannia Solicitor Panel
from members of the public
I instructed a firm of solicitors to conduct the legal paperwork on my remortgage 5 weeks ago having applied for a mortgage with Britannia. The firm confirmed to me that they are on Britannia conveyancing panel and advised me their panel number. Britannia then told me that their panel number was dormant and would need to be reactivated. What do I do from here? Should I appoint a new solicitor currently on the approved panel for Britannia?
The answer depends on whether you still have confidence in the said solicitors and how long it will take for the firm to be reinstated on the Britannia conveyancing panel You may wish to enlist the help of your broker to check with the Britannia as to the time frame to get your lawyer reinstated on the panel once again.
I am due to move into my new home next Monday. I have now been asked to send a copy of my building insurance schedule by my solicitor as he says that he has to check this in has capacity as lawyer for Britannia. What risks do Britannia expect the insurance to cover?
Any lawyer on the Britannia 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 Britannia’s Part 2 requirements of the CML Handbook (last updated on Britannia). Being on the Britannia conveyancing panel your lawyer is expect to follow these instructions.
Are the lawyers identified as being on the Britannia conveyancing panel, together with their details provided by Britannia?
The firms themselves provide us confirmation that they are on the Britannia conveyancing panel as opposed to being supplied with a list from Britannia directly.
I was scheduled to move into my dream home last Friday. My lawyer’s firm is on the Britannia conveyancing panel but has changed address in the past couple of months and had not informed Britannia of their new address. Britannia has locked down the release of mortgage funds until such time as their systems are up to date with the correct details.
This is as unusual as it is unlucky. Most lender Terms of Conveyancing Panel Appointment specifically oblige the solicitor to inform the lender of an address change. Your solicitor needs to treat this with the utmost urgency. Do speak with or register your concern with the senior partner (assuming he or she is not your direct lawyer). Most lenders would be reasonable in this situation and expedite the resolution of this issue. It may be prudent to enlist the help of your local Britannia branch or your mortgage broker to see if they can help.
Do conveyancing lawyers on the Britannia conveyancing panel work on a no move no charge basis?
There is generally 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 service
What are the common reasons for a lender such as Britannia to withdraw a mortgage offer?
Lenders such as Britannia can withdraw their mortgage offer although this is unusual. should Britannia withdraw their offer they may or may not inform you or the lawyer as to the reasons why. There are many potential reasons but here are a number of examples:
Britannia may amend or withdraw an offer if the Britannia conveyancing panel solicitor is unable to confirm compliance with any of the conditions of the mortgage offer or if any of the terms of the mortgage offer cannot be satisfied
If the borrower informs Britannia of a change in the loan amount agreed
Where to proceed with the Mortgage offer would be unlawful
Where the sale is not at arms length for value to unconnected persons
If the lender reasonably suspects that the applicant, borrower, mortgagor or guarantor is involved in any criminal or fraudulent activity, including trading in illegal drugs or other substances, theft, robbery, deception or other serious offences, or if the applicant borrower, mortgagor or guarantor has a conviction for any serious criminal offence, including theft, deception, fraud, robbery or trade in illegal drugs or other substances;
The mortgage over my property is with Britannia. Conveyancing has been completed 12 months ago. If I am intending to rent out the flat and do not currently have a buy-to-let mortgage do I need to remortgage to a BTL mortgage or inform Britannia?
Britannia must be informed of your intention in advance of letting out your property as this is likely to be a breach of Britannia’s mortgage conditions. It may be that Britannia will permit you to let out your former home without needing to switch to a buy-to-let mortgage but some lenders will add a surcharge to your mortgage rate to reflect the higher risk. You should contact Britannia directly. You need not do this via a Britannia conveyancing panel solicitor.