FAQs for the New Life Mortgages Solicitor Panel
from members of the public
I am in the process of selling my house and the EA has just telephoned to say that the purchasers are appointing a new law firm. I am told that this is due to the fact that New Life Mortgages will only work with property lawyers on their approved list. Why would a leading mortgage company only deal with specific lawyers?
UK lenders have always had panels of law firms they are willing to work with, but in the past few years big names such as Nationwide , have reviewed and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have worked with them for decades.
Lenders point to the increase in fraud by way of justification 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 being contacted daily by practices 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 do hope you can help me. My conveyancer is advising me that she is duty-bound to apply for a Local Authority search as the firm are on the New Life Mortgages conveyancing panel. The searches cost a lot of money. Can this be avoided?
You have limited options available to you. Given that you are taking out a loan with New Life Mortgages your lawyer has to comply with their conditions as set out in their version of the CML Conveyancing Handbook. Your lawyer would have previously signed the Terms and Conditions of New Life Mortgages’s conveyancing panel appointment which obliges them to follow the CML Handbook requirements last updated New Life Mortgages. even if you were a cash buyer you would be ill advised not to carry out a local authority search.
Do all the licensed conveyancers and solicitor practices listed on your search have online case tracking as I understood that this was a condition of being on the New Life Mortgages conveyancing panel?
No. There is no CML Part 2 or Building Society Association requirement relating to online case tracking. Some law firms operate such technology and some don't.
I was supposed to move into my first house last Friday. My solicitor is on the New Life Mortgages conveyancing panel but has changed address in the past couple of months and had not informed New Life Mortgages of their new address. New Life Mortgages 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 New Life Mortgages branch or your mortgage broker to see if they can assist.
I had instructed online solicitors located in Manchester who are on the New Life Mortgages solicitor panel. They have just invoiced me a separate fee of £135 for the legal aspects of the New Life Mortgages mortgage. Is this a supplemental conveyancing fee specified by New Life Mortgages?
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 New Life Mortgages but by your lawyers. Some firms on the New Life Mortgages will charge an ‘acting for lender’ fee but plenty of firms include it on their overall fee.
Do the majority of lenders operate their own panel of solicitors?
Many lenders do operate a restricted conveyancing panel but a lot of lenders allow any solicitors to join their panel so long as they meet their criteria. Each lender sets their own criteria. For example the New Life Mortgages conveyancing panel requirements are different to New Life Mortgages’s conveyancing panel requirements.
Hi, thinking about buying a house off my mate. Assuming we can agree a figure, what’s the best way to proceed? I plan to obtain a mortgage with New Life Mortgages. Is it possible to avoid using solicitors to save on the costs? My dad reckons back in the day he did a lot of it himself, just went into the land registry office and providing them with the info they needed himself
If you are getting a mortgage with New Life Mortgages involved you will need to appoint a solicitor on the New Life Mortgages conveyancing panel. We would not encourage you to both use the same solicitors' firm. There are clear conflict of interest issues and it's not going to make a huge difference to the speed of the overall process. So as not to hold things us you should pass on your solicitors details to New Life Mortgages. Feel free to use our search tool to look for a licensed conveyancer or solicitor on the New Life Mortgages conveyancing panel.