FAQs for the Saffron Building Society Solicitor Panel
from members of the public
My wife and I are FTBs. Within the last couple of days our conveyancer has forwarded the sale agreement to sign with a detailed report with the expectation that exchange is imminent. Saffron Building Society have this evening contacted us to advise us that they have now hit a problem as our conveyancer is not on their approved list of lawyers. What do we do from here?
If you are buying a property with the assistance of a mortgage it is usual for the purchaser's solicitors to also act for the purchaser's lender.
In order to act for a bank or building society a law firm has to be on that lender's conveyancing panel. An application has to be made by the law firm to the lender to become a member of the lender's panel and there are increasingly strict criteria which the firm has to satisfy and indeed some lenders now require their panel members to be part of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme.
Your property lawyers should contact Saffron Building Society and see if they can apply for membership of the Saffron Building Society conveyancing panel, but if that is not viable Saffron Building Society will instruct their own lawyers to represent them. You don't have to instruct a firm on the Saffron Building Society conveyancing panel as you are at liberty to use your preferred lawyers, in which case your legal fees may increase, and it may delay matters as you are adding another lawyer into the mix.
Much to my surprise my solicitor has requested from me ID documents stating that this is part of his requirements as a conveyancer on the Saffron Building Society Solicitor panel. Can this be correct?
Anti-terror and anti-money-laundering rules require solicitors and licensed conveyancers to verify the identity of the person or body they are dealing with before they can accept their conveyancing business. The Terms and Conditions that you need to sign will no doubt confirm this. Your lawyer is right that Saffron Building Society also require certain documents to be viewed. If a you refuse to provide ID verification documents, your conveyancer would not be able to accept instructions from you. Your lawyer also has obligations to obtain certain documents in accordance with Saffron Building Society CML Handbook requirements last updated on Saffron Building Society
Do I need to visit the offices of the Saffron Building Society conveyancing panel solicitor to execute the legal charge? If so, I will instruct a firm who offer conveyancing in Bristol
so that I can attend their offices if required.
As opposed to twenty 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
What happens if my lawyer’s firm is suspended from the Saffron Building Society Conveyancing panel in advance of the completion date?
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 at a cost.
I had instructed online conveyancers based in Cardiff who are on the Saffron Building Society solicitor panel. They are now charging me a separate fee of £135 for the legal aspects of the Saffron Building Society mortgage. Is this a supplemental conveyancing fee specified by Saffron Building Society?
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 Saffron Building Society but by your lawyers. Some firms on the Saffron Building Society will charge an ‘acting for lender’ fee but plenty of firms include it on their overall fee.
I'm in the throws of looking at apartments and now considering a potential offer. Should I already have a conveyancer appointed at this stage? I will be getting a mortgage with Saffron Building Society
You should start obtaining conveyancing quotes from solicitors ASAP. 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 EA. As you are getting a mortgage with Saffron Building Society , make sure you remember to check that your lawyer is on the Saffron Building Society conveyancing panel.
I have decided to exercise my right to buy my property off the council. I have a mortgage agreed with Saffron Building Society. Conveyancing is new to me. Can I proceed without a solicitor easily? I think we can but we keep being told I should have 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 Saffron Building Society you will need to appoint a solicitor on the Saffron Building Society conveyancing panel.