Astra Mortgages Conveyancing Panel Information

The information on this page is designed to keep solicitors and licensed conveyancers abreast of latest requirements changes by Astra Mortgages and to assist in remaining on the Astra Mortgages Conveyancing Panel.

Astra Mortgages Solicitor Panel Assistance:

What are the Astra Mortgages conveyancing panel criteria?
Unlike the CML the Building Society Mortgage Instructions deal with this. Section A.12 states ‘In order to act on our behalf your firm or company must be a member of our conveyancing panel provided we are a society that operates one – see specific requirements for details of our arrangements. The Special Requirements state:

To be a member of our conveyancing panel you must be CQS accredited, must have submitted an application form, be registered on www.lawsociety.org, produced your current Practising Certificate together with evidence of professional indemnity insurance cover for a minimum of £2m (£3m if the firm is a Limited Liability Partnership or a company). Any panel application is subject to individual assessment and approval.

You must also comply with the terms and conditions of your Astra Mortgages solicitor panel appointment.

As a firm on the Astra Mortgages conveyancing panel who do I call should we have a question conerning the BSA Specific Requirements ?
If you are a conveyancer and have a query regarding the Specific Requirements, you should make contact with Astra Mortgages. The BSA will not advise or comment on specific queries relating to Astra Mortgages or other lenders.
What sort of information are Lenders such as Astra Mortgages are asking for when it comes to applying to be on their approved solicitor list?
Criteria differ from lender to lender. We do not hold specific requirements relating to the questions raised as part of the application to be on the Astra Mortgages conveyancing panel. Typically lenders need to have full knowledge of a firm including (but not limited to):
  • Number of lender conveyancing panels the firm is currently on
  • PII Cover details, including, if relevant, whether the firm is or has been in the assigned risks pool and structure of cover – basic split and history of any refusals
  • Whether the firm has ever applied for accreditation and the outcome of the application
  • Charge registration history
  • List of all Licensed Conveyancers within firm
  • Full career history for each solicitor including admission date to the relevant Law Society
  • Full disciplinary history for each licensed conveyancer
  • Areas of Law covered by the firm
  • List of all those who can sign off the Certificate Of Title
  • Whether the firm is able to operate in other jurisdictions
Why has the BSA introduced differing instructions from the CML?
The Building Society Association introduced it’s Mortgage Instructions in 2010 to ensure that licensed conveyancers or solicitors on a building society conveyancing panel had full access to a complete set of standardised mortgage instructions.
My firm is on the Astra Mortgages conveyancing panel. I am dealing with Astra Mortgages mortgage on a purchase. My borrower client is asking not to disclose an issue to Astra Mortgages. What do I do in this conflict situation?
When a solicitor is acting for both Astra Mortgages and borrower there is potential for conflicts to arise. You owe duties to both clients. All information received by you from your client is confidential and cannot be disclosed without the client’s consent.

In your situation, if the purchaser will not consent to the information being passed on to the lender, the solicitor must cease to act for Astra Mortgages and it may well be prudent for you to cease to act for the purchaser as well. You must not inform Astra Mortgages of the reason for termination of the retainer over and above the fact that a conflict has arisen. The fact that you can no longer act should alert even the most somnambulistic of lenders that something is wrong with the borrower and/or purchase. The fact that you have disinstructed yourself should not affect your Astra Mortgages conveyancing panel status.

I seldom receive a copy of a lender valuation any more. Does the extent of my Astra Mortgages conveyancing panel obligations extend to checking the valuation details where I am acting on a purchase with Astra Mortgages as the Mortgagee?
There are various requirements you need to follow if you wish to comply with your lender client’s instructions as set out in the BSA Mortgage Instructions. (a) You must take reasonable steps to verify that there are no discrepancies between the description of the property as compared to their old address.
The Council of Mortgage Lenders Handbook includes instructions for a roof with a solar panel. Astra Mortgages do not seem to have any similar obligations via the BSA Mortgage Instructions. Am I missing something?
The BSA Mortgage Instructions don't specifically deal with Solar Panels but it would be prudent as approved solicitors for Astra Mortgages to raise the issue with them (as you would if the UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook applied). In any event you need to raise the appropriate questions for your buyer client.
What lender panels do you receive the most questions about?
BSA lenders do not come within the top 20 lenders in terms of frequency of questions. The most popular lender panels in terms of questions are as follows:

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Average number of days to register title including a charge in favour of Astra Mortgages
This information relates to purchase only and not remortgages.
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* Data aggregated from sources including COMPLETIONmonitor