PROPERTY lawyers in Dorset have welcomed a U-turn in HSBC’s controversial mortgage lending rules which should benefit thousands of home buyers.
Battens Solicitors says the lending giant’s decision to rethink its panel of accredited law firms will cut legal costs and speed up the conveyancing process for borrowers.
The move, effective from 29 August 2012, means that firms such as Battens, who are members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), can again act for both HSBC and the buyer.
As part of an anti-fraud measure, HSBC had stepped out of line with other major lenders in February this year by introducing a nationwide shortlist of just 43 approved law firms for mortgage instructions. This meant many home buyers had to seek separate representation during the conveyancing process, at higher cost to them.
Now, following a campaign by the Law Society and complaints made to the Office of Fair Trading, HSBC will again accept CQS solicitors onto its mortgage lending panel.
Battens solicitor Sarah Ford, who advises clients in both the residential and commercial property sectors, said: “This is a victory for common sense. Most lenders are happy to use the same conveyancer that the buyer appoints as it makes the overall process cheaper and easier for everyone involved. It’s very unusual to need separate representation. Since February the key issue we have had to handle with this particular lender is the delay that separate representation can introduce. In most cases it has been a minimum of two weeks, something that adds cost and often stress to the buyer during the conveyancing process.”
CQS is a recognised quality standard for legal practices operating in residential conveyancing. It applies to around 1,600 firms across England and Wales.
Battens is a Legal 500 firm with offices in Dorchester, Weymouth, Sherborne and Yeovil. For more information, contact Battens on 01935 846000.