Bluestone Mortgages Conveyancing Panel Information

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

Bluestone Mortgages Solicitor Panel: Recently Asked Questions

Given my firm’s membership on the Bluestone Mortgages conveyancing panel how long am I expected to keep hold of the original conveyancing file?
The CML Part II requirements of Bluestone Mortgages are silent on this. Most mortgage companies address the question of file retention via their Terms and Conditions where they generally provide that for evidential purposes, the firm must keep the file for at least of 6 years from the date of the mortgage. Data imagining is normally suitable compliance with this requirement. Many lenders point out in that it is the practice of some fraudsters to demand the conveyancing file on completion in order to destroy evidence that may later be used against them. It is therefore important to retain these documents to protect Bluestone Mortgages’s interest. To be absolutely sure of Bluestone Mortgages requirements in this regard please check the Terms and Conditions of Bluestone Mortgages’s conveyancing panel acceptance.

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A recent SRA survey reveals that 76% of solicitors have been removed from a lender conveyancing panel. Bluestone Mortgages and other lenders have restricted their panel over the years. Why?
In operating open conveyancing panels, lenders such as Bluestone Mortgages face a number of fraud and negligence risks. While there is no authoritative source of data on lender exposure to solicitor–led mortgage fraud, anecdotal evidence from lenders indicates exposure on individual cases are often in the millions of pounds. The National Fraud Authority estimates that £1bn per year is lost in mortgage -related frauds in total, which is seen as a conservative estimate.

These risks are exacerbated by the lack of a comprehensive set of data on all conveyancing firms (which, for the avoidance of doubt, would include solicitors and conveyancers across the UK) which is in a readily accessible format. Currently, lenders vet the suitability of their panel firms against a variety of disparate, incomplete and potentially inaccurate sets of information. One top 5 lender pointed out to us that it is almost impossible to track individual fraudsters who move from firm to firm, especially where they are no longer registered or no longer hold a valid practicing certificate.

Bluestone Mortgages and other lenders are in varying stages of reviewing their approach to vetting firms on their conveyancing panels, to ensure their ongoing exposure to unsuitable firms is reduced. There is also regulatory impetus on lenders to ensure that they have satisfactory oversight of their third party panels, including a due-diligence process.

Given that I am the Compliance Officer for Legal Practice should I be thinking about SRA Handbook implications if my firm is removed off the Bluestone Mortgages conveyancing panel?
The answer to this question really depends on the reason that your firm has been removed off the Bluestone Mortgages conveyancing panel. The top 3 reasons are as follows:
  1. lack of transactions
  2. the lawyer is a sole practitioner
  3. as part of the HSBC panel reduction.
In these three circumstances it is unlikely that you would expected to take any action. Disclosure and other compliance considerations are more likely to be relevant if the reason for removal is due to breaches of lender requirements or allegations of fraud or negligence. Whether the reasoning should trigger a disclosable 'material' breach will depend on the firm and the circumstances around possible failures to comply with the SRA Authorisation Rules, and the SRA will judge each case on its own merits. Factors such as the detriment or risk of detriment to clients, the scale of the issue and overall impact on the firm will need to be considered in deciding whether a failure is 'material'. As the COLP you will need systems to identify patterns of breaches. Even if you don't consider there to be regulatory implications the firms COFA should give some thought to whether she/he needs to take any action as result of being removed from the Bluestone Mortgages conveyancing panel.
Where can I find the Bluestone Mortgages conveyancing panel requirements in connection with Transfer of Equity Conveyancing?
Bluestone Mortgages approved panel lawyers have to comply with the UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook instructions relating to Transfer of Equity. These are set out in Section 16.3. First, your firm must approve the form of Transfer of Equity (which should be in the Land Registry's standard form) and, if Bluestone Mortgages require, the deed of covenant on their behalf. You will need to check Bluestone Mortgages CML Part 2 conditions to see if Bluestone Mortgages have standard forms of transfer and deed of covenant. Please note that this requirement can change from one transaction to another so do check! Second,When drafting or approving a transfer, you should bear in mind that: although the transfer should state that it is subject to the mortgage (identified by date and parties), it need give no details of the terms of the mortgage; the transfer need not state the amount of the mortgage debt. If it does, the figure should include both principal and interest at the date of completion, which you must check ; there should be no statement that all interest has been paid to date. Further obligations are set out in the UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook which have to be followed by all firms on the Bluestone Mortgages conveyancing panel
When in comes to leasehold due diligence do Bluestone Mortgages conveyancing panel lawyers have to examine whether there is an absentee freeholder?
Given that your practice in is on the Bluestone Mortgages conveyancing panel and you are representing them in relation to a leasehold property, you must report to them if it becomes apparent that the landlord is either absent or insolvent. If Bluestone Mortgages are to lend, they may require indemnity insurance. In any event,you will need to check Bluestone Mortgages’s specific requirements. Notwithstanding whether Bluestone Mortgages will lend in such circumstances you still need to advise the borrower (unless you are acting for Bluestone Mortgages alone) as to the risks of buying a property with an insolvent or absentee landlord.
Prime Professional’s PI Insurance renewal form enquires if my firm had been excluded from any bank panels in the last year. I recently discovered that the practice is no longer on the Bluestone Mortgages conveyancing panel? Will that effect my insurance?
Your insurance brokers are your best port of call to address this question. The chances are that on the basis that you have not been removed for fraud or negligence reasons that there will be little or no impact. The main reason why a firm would be removed off of a lender panel is due to low volume of conveyancing cases although there may be a number of criteria for Bluestone Mortgages solicitor panel membership. Please remember that it is always important that you complete your insurance forms accurately.
Our practice is on the Bluestone Mortgages conveyancing panel and due to complete a purchase shortly. My papers do not include a Legal Charge for the client to execute. Who do I contact at Bluestone Mortgages to request substitute deeds?
You would be advised to get in touch with Bluestone Mortgages to obtain standard documents. The CML Handbook contains an explicit inquiry for lenders to enumerate who to contact to obtain standard documents. Bluestone Mortgages in their Part 2’s state:
You will need to quote the firm’s Bluestone Mortgages conveyancing panel number.

Find a Lawyer on the Bluestone Mortgages Conveyancing Panel

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Average number of days to register title including a charge in favour of Bluestone Mortgages
This information relates to purchase only and not remortgages.
YearDays*
2024 [no data]
2023 [no data]
2022 [no data]
2021 [no data]
2020 [no data]
2019 53.0
* Data aggregated from sources including COMPLETIONmonitor