Pepper Money (UK) Conveyancing Panel : Questions and Answers
from members of the public
My fiance and I are hoping to buy a 3 bedroom apartment in Hackney with a mortgage from Pepper Money (UK). We have a solicitor but Pepper Money (UK) says he's not on their "panel". It seems we have little choice but to instruct one of the Pepper Money (UK) panel solicitors or keep our solicitor and pay for one of their panel ones to represent them. We feel as though this is unjust; Can we not simply insist that Pepper Money (UK) use our lawyer?
Unfortunately,no. The mortgage offered to you is subject to its terms and conditions, one of which will be that lawyers will on the Pepper Money (UK) 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 Pepper Money (UK)
Our lawyer has discovered a problem with the lease for the property we are buying. The other side have suggested title insurance as a solution. We are content with insurance and will pay for it. Our solicitor says that as he is on the Pepper Money (UK) conveyancing panel he must check that the lender is happy with this solution. Who is the client here, us or Pepper Money (UK)?
The short answer to your last question is that, notwithstanding the potential for a conflict of interest, you and Pepper Money (UK) are the client. A precondition to being on the Pepper Money (UK) approved panel is to comply with the CML Handbook requirements (last updated for this lender on Pepper Money (UK)). The CML Handbook conditions require your lawyer to disclose issues such as defects will the lease so that Pepper Money (UK) can be afforded the opportunity to check with their valuer as to the extent that the value of the property is affected . Should you refuse to allow your lawyer to make the appropriate notification then your lawyer will have no choice but to discontinue acting for you.
I see that you have a search directory identifying solicitors on the Pepper Money (UK) conveyancing panel. Do firms pay you a commission if I instruct them for my own conveyancing?
We are a listing service only for law firms wishing to communicate if they are on the Pepper Money (UK) 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 lawyer’s firm is suspended from the Pepper Money (UK) Solicitor panel prior to completion?
The first thing to point out is that, 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.
When it comes to lenders such as Pepper Money (UK) do lawyers have to be pay a fee to be on the conveyancing panel?
We are not aware of any lender fees to be on their panel although some do charge an administration charge to deal with the processing of the conveyancing panel application.
I currently have a mortgage with with Pepper Money (UK). Conveyancing has been completed some time ago. If I am intending to rent out my property and do not currently have a buy-to-let mortgage do I need to remortgage to a buy-to-let mortgage or inform Pepper Money (UK)?
Pepper Money (UK) must be informed of your intention prior to renting your property as this is likely to be a breach of Pepper Money (UK)’s mortgage conditions. In many cases banks or building societies 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 Pepper Money (UK) directly. It should not be necessary to do this via a Pepper Money (UK) conveyancing panel lawyer.
My ex -wife’s name is on the Pepper Money (UK) mortgage of my property but not on the land registry. The apartment was transferred to me on our divorce many years ago by way of a sealed court order. Does my ex still have a say on the sale even though the land registry showing the property in my name alone? Will I be required to take her name of the Pepper Money (UK) mortgage in order to sell?
As regards the Pepper Money (UK) mortgage, it is unusual that your ex-wife’s name remains on the mortgage but not on the title. It is conceivable that this is an oversight on the part of your conveyancers to ensure that her name was removed or even an administrative error on the part of Pepper Money (UK) in failing to update their data. In any event, it should cause difficulty providing her name no longer appears on the Land Registry title and you have a court order ordering that the property is transferred to you.