FAQs for the Lloyds TSB Scotland Solicitor Panel
from members of the public
I am progressing with the sale of my house and the EA has just e-mailed to say that the buyers are swapping conveyancer. The reason given is that Lloyds TSB Scotland will only engage with property lawyers on their conveyancing panel. Why would a major mortgage company only engage with specific law firms?
Banks 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 Lloyds Banking Group, have reviewed and reduced their conveyancing panel– in some cases removing conveyancing firms who have worked with them for more than 15 years.
Banks blame a rise 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 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.
Please help. My conveyancer is assuring me that she is duty-bound to conduct a Local Authority search stemming from the fact that the firm are on the Lloyds TSB Scotland conveyancing panel. The searches cost a lot of money. Can this be avoided?
Unfortunately both you and your lawyer have little choice here. As you are taking a mortgage with Lloyds TSB Scotland 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 Lloyds TSB Scotland’s conveyancing panel appointment which obliges them to follow the CML Handbook requirements last updated Lloyds TSB Scotland. even if you were a cash buyer you would be ill advised not to carry out a local authority search.
I see that you have a search directory identifying law firms on the Lloyds TSB Scotland conveyancing panel. Do firms pay you a referral fee if I appoint them for my own conveyancing?
We are a listing service only for law firms wishing to communicate if they are on the Lloyds TSB Scotland conveyancing panel or other lender panels. We do not charge referral fees to the any conveyancer that you subsequently appoint.
Can you clarify what the consequences are if my solicitor is suspended from the Lloyds TSB Scotland Conveyancing panel in advance of completion?
First, this is very unlikely to happen. 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 at a cost.
Do the majority of banks 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 Lloyds TSB Scotland conveyancing panel requirements are different to Lloyds TSB Scotland’s conveyancing panel requirements.
My wife and I have arranged a further advance on our mortgage from Lloyds TSB Scotland as we wish to carry out alterations or improvements our home. Do we need to appoint a solicitor on the Lloyds TSB Scotland conveyancing panel to deal with the legals?
Lloyds TSB Scotland do not ordinarily instruct firms on their conveyancing panel to deal with such a matter. If they did require any legal work then you would need to ensure that such a lawyer was on the Lloyds TSB Scotland list
We have agreed to purchase a house.One unusual aspect is that the roof has a solar panel. Lloyds TSB Scotland 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 you are obtaining a mortgage with Lloyds TSB Scotland your lawyer must to check the Lloyds TSB Scotland conveyancing instructions contained in the Part of CML Handbook for Lloyds TSB Scotland . The CML Handbook contains minimum requirements for solar panel roof-space leases, and solicitors are required to report to Lloyds TSB Scotland 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.