FAQs for the Mortgage Agency Services Conveyancing Panel
from members of the public
My fiance and I are hoping to buy a 3 bedroom flat in Leeds with a mortgage from Mortgage Agency Services. We like our solicitor but Mortgage Agency Services says she’s not on their "panel". We have to appoint one of the Mortgage Agency Services panel firms or keep our solicitor and pay for one of their panel ones to represent them. We feel as though this is unjust; is there anything we can do?
No, not really. The mortgage offered to you is subject to its terms and conditions, one of which will be that lawyers will on the Mortgage Agency Services conveyancing panel. Until recently, most lenders had large numbers of law firms on their panels: a borrower could choose one for themselves, as long as it was on the lender's panel. The lender would then simply instruct the borrower's lawyers to act for the lender, too. You can use your lender's panel lawyers or you could borrow from another lender which does not restrict your choice. Another option that might be available is for your solicitors to apply to be on the conveyancing panel for Mortgage Agency Services
We are due to exchange on the purchase a house but as a result of damage from the recent storms I have agreed compensation from the seller of £3k approx by way of a reduction in the price. This was going to be dealt with as part of the conveyancing process but my mortgage company Mortgage Agency Services will not agree to this. Why was Mortgage Agency Services even consulted?
Your lawyer being on the Mortgage Agency Services conveyancing panel is duty bound to inform Mortgage Agency Services of any changes to the purchase price. If you were to refuse your lawyers to disclose the reduction to Mortgage Agency Services then they would have to discontinue acting for you and Mortgage Agency Services.
Do all the firms listed on your directory have online case tracking as I was under the impression that this was a precondition of being on the Mortgage Agency Services solicitor 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.
Can you clarify what the consequences are if my lawyer’s firm is expelled from the Mortgage Agency Services Solicitor panel before completion?
First, 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 at a cost.
I am currently in the process of buying my council flat. I have a mortgage offer with Mortgage Agency Services. Conveyancing is not something I have any knowledge of. Can I proceed without a solicitor easily? I think we can but we keep being told I should use one. Any advice?
It is not advisable proceed with a house purchase without a solicitor. The council's solicitor are not acting for you. You need a solicitor for a number reasons. One of which is to verify what plans the Council have for repairs and refurbishment for the next five years. Many leaseholders have been stung for contributions of thousands of pounds. In any event if you are getting a mortgage with Mortgage Agency Services you will need to appoint a solicitor on the Mortgage Agency Services conveyancing panel.
Can I register a complaint to Mortgage Agency Services about the lawyers being on the Mortgage Agency Services conveyancing panel?
Complaining to Mortgage Agency Services about their conveyancing panel is unlikely to yield much of a response. Every solicitor firm and conveyancer must have a complaints procedure. You can get 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 addressed 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.
I am due to exchange contracts on my apartment. I had a double glazing fitted in month 2010 but did not receive a FENSA certificate or Building Regulation Certificate. My purchaser’s mortgage company, Mortgage Agency Services are being difficult. The solicitor who is on the Mortgage Agency Services conveyancing panel is happy to accept ‘lack of building regulation’ insurance but Mortgage Agency Services are insisting on a building regulation certificate. Why do Mortgage Agency Services have a conveyancing panel of they don’t accept advice from them?
It is probably the case that Mortgage Agency Services have referred the matter to their valuer. The reason why Mortgage Agency Services may not want to accept indemnity insurance is because it does not give them any reassurance that the double glazing correctly and safely installed. It merely protects against enforcement action which is very unlikely anyway.