'Scope creep' has led to increased conveyancing times, expert warns

The increased responsibilities placed upon conveyancers in recent years has resulted in considerable ‘scope creep’ for the sector and is placing increased pressure on the ability of firms and staff to complete housing sales within the required timeframe.

Related topics:  Conveyancing
Amy Loddington | Online Editor, Barcadia Media Limited
16th May 2024
time fast slow deadline

That was the view of the Conveyancing Association’s (CA) Director of Delivery, Beth Rudolf, when presenting evidence to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee Inquiry into ‘Improving the home buying and selling process’ earlier this week.

Taking questions from the various cross-party MPs on the Committee, Rudolf highlighted how the work now required of conveyancers had grown considerably in recent years, resulting in average transaction times of 22 weeks-plus.

Examples of the extra areas conveyancers now have to handled included onerous leaseholds, estate rent charges, managed freeholds and the Building Safety Act.

The session also discussed the benefits of a system where more information was provided to buyers upfront, with Rudolf arguing this would provide more transparency and stop people pulling out of transactions further down the line. She suggested that some information on listings should be mandatorily collected and reviewed upfront to improve speed on long housing chains, and said the greater use of tech - including for digital ID and digital logbooks for each property - would further assist conveyancers in making transactions quicker.

Beth Rudolf, Director of Delivery at the Conveyancing Association, commented:

“Scope creep has grown hugely in recent years and it presents conveyancers with a huge amount of work to go through. This has been made even more difficult by that dematerialisation of deed packs, and it needs solutions such as digital packs and digital logbooks to be able to bring all that information back together to cut down on the times that conveyancers have to spend trying to find this. In years gone by, that information was kept together and could be readily used by conveyancers in future transactions. Without the digital version of this, we can’t deliver the improvements we need.”

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