Common questions asked concerning the Godiva Mortgages Solicitor Panel
from members of the public
I am selling my apartment and the EA has just texted me to warn that the purchasers are switching solicitor. The excuse is that Godiva Mortgages will only work with solicitors on their conveyancing panel. Why would a big named lender only work with certain law firms?
Mortgage companies 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 more than 15 years.
Lenders 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.
We are only a couple days away from an exchange and my parents having sent the 10% deposit to my lawyer. I am now advised that as the deposit has not come from me my lawyer needs to disclose this to my lender Godiva Mortgages. Apparently, being on the Godiva Mortgages conveyancing panel and acting on their behalf he must inform Godiva Mortgages if the balance of the mortgage advance is not just from me. I informed the bank about my parent’s contribution when I applied for the mortgage so is it really necessary for this now to be an issue?
Your lawyer is obliged to check with Godiva Mortgages to make sure that they are aware that the balance of the purchase price is not from your own funds. Your solicitor can only report this to Godiva Mortgages if you agree, failing which, your lawyer must cease to continue acting.
Do I have to have a meeting at the offices of the Godiva Mortgages conveyancing panel solicitor to execute the mortgage deed? If so, I will appoint a lawyer who conducts conveyancing in Bristol
so that I can pop in to their offices if required.
Whereas this was necessary 15 years ago, most lenders no longer require their conveyancing panel solicitor to witness the borrowers signature. You will still be obliged to provide ID Documents and there are still distinct advantages to using a local solicitor, in your case a conveyancing solicitor in Bristol
Can you clarify what the consequences are if my lawyer’s firm is removed from the Godiva Mortgages Conveyancing panel before completion?
The first thing to point out is that, this is a very rare occurrence. In most cases even where a law firm is removed off of a panel the lender would allow the completion to go ahead as the lender would appreciate the difficulties that they would place you in if you have ti instruct a new solicitor days before completion. In a worst case scenario where the lender insists that you instruct a new firm then it is possible for a very good lawyer to expedite the conveyancing albeit that you may pay a significant premium for this. The analogous situation is where a buyer instructs a lawyer, exchanges contracts and the law firm is shut down by the regulator such as the SRA. Again, in this situation you can find lawyers who can troubleshoot their way to bring the conveyancing to a satisfactory conclusion - albeit for a fee.
Are all Conveyancing Quality Solicitors on the Godiva Mortgages conveyancing panel?
Some major lenders now use CQS as the starting point for Panel membership such as HSBC and Santander. The Law Society’s CQS membership however is no guarantee to lender panel acceptance. That being said,the Council of Mortgage Lenders have indicated that it is likely to become a pre-requisite for firms wishing to join their approved list of firms.
My fiance and I are at the point of viewing flats and am about to put in an offer. Is it best to have a conveyancer on ‘stand by’? I intend to finance via a mortgage with Godiva Mortgages
It would be sensible to have your start your search soon rather than later. Once you decide who you want to use and once your offer is accepted you can instruct them to work for you and pass their details on the the estate agent. As you are getting a mortgage with Godiva Mortgages , make sure you remember to check that your lawyer is on the Godiva Mortgages conveyancing panel.
Can I register a complaint to Godiva Mortgages about the lawyers being on the Godiva Mortgages conveyancing panel?
Complaining to Godiva Mortgages about their conveyancing panel is unlikely to yield much of a response. Every solicitor firm and conveyancer must have a complaints procedure. Usually one can find this information from the solicitor’s or conveyancer’s website or ask at their office. They must tell you about it if you ask.
The Legal Ombudsman will make sure that your complaint is properly dealt with by the solicitor. It can also advise you how to complain.
If a licensed conveyancer does not have a complaints procedure or will not tell you about it, contact the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC), which will make sure that your complaint is properly dealt with by the conveyancer. Please see below for more information.