Britannia Conveyancing Panel Information

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

Britannia Conveyancing Panel: Recently Asked Questions

Can my firm submit a complaint to the CML about being removed from the Britannia conveyancing panel?
The Council of Mortgage Lenders is an association rather than a regulator and therefore cannot advise on complaints against lenders. You can of course contact Lexsure to see if we can assist.

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What obligations do I have, being on the Britannia conveyancing panel, to carry out a LMO4 search?
Britannia make no specific obligation to carry out any of the searches listed. The UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook simply states that ‘you must ensure that any other searches which may be appropriate to the particular property, taking into account its locality and other features are carried out’.

Please note that most ‘less usual searches’ (as described in the Law Society’s Conveyancing Handbook) are not optional as far as Britannia are concerned if they are ‘appropriate’. Most lenders will not require environmental searches (you should Check Part 2 of UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook to be sure), but you are obliged to explain risks and availability to the client.

Ground stability, Plansearch,flood searches as well as the searches listed in the question are optional – but only to the extent that you have allowed the borrower client to make an informed choice. Regardless of whether there is a mortgage, If you have not advised the client that these (and other) searches are available and what risks they cover, then you will be liable if the client suffers loss through not conducting one. Does your ROT and Ts and Cs cover this?

One search supplier lists over 70 property searches – do you know what all of them are and when they may be relevant? If you are unsure as to which searches are appropriate based on location call your search provider or call one of the leading search companies such as STL.

It is possible that Britannia could request or audit my files as I am on the Britannia conveyancing panel. How should I respond in the event of such a demand?
We can't comment specifically on Britannia. Many major lenders are now introducing ‘file auditing’ as standard practice in relation to completed matters. This raises questions of confidentiality in relation to the buyer client and the purpose to which the results of such audits will be put. The starting point is to remember that the file does not belong to your firm, it belongs to the ‘client’. But, of course, we will normally have two clients – the buyer and the lender - and you will owe a duty of confidentiality to each. So basically, you have to separate the file and just send the lender the parts solely relating to themselves. But, of course, as this will basically be correspondence with the lender, mortgage instructions etc.

Check with your COLP but a firm should not send the complete conveyancing file without the buyer client’s express consent – and if she is in dispute with the lender she is hardly likely to agree. However, if the lender can establish a prima facie case of fraud, then you may be under an obligation to disclose the whole file.

The emerging convention is that lenders are including an authority to disclose in loan application forms to counter this problem. Mortgage Express v Sawali, [2010] EWHC 3054 (Ch) indicates that such provisions are valid. Please click here for more information about that case.

Can you give me an example of some of the reports available via COMPLETIONmonitor to support my appeal to be reinstated on the Britannia solicitor panel?
There are many reports available, five of which are as follows:
  • Evidence of undertaking logs
  • Average mortgage advance
  • Average time frame to register charges at the Land Registry
  • Disclosure/Notification to Lender analysis indicating frequency and nature of disclosures - to include benchmarking analysis against aggregate data
  • The percentage of the firm’s business which is conveyancing (broken down into sale/purchase and remortgage)
I seldom receive a copy of a lender valuation any more. Do my Britannia conveyancing panel obligations extend to checking the valuation details where I am acting on a purchase with Britannia as the Mortgagee?
You have a number of obligations in this regard which are to followed if you wish to comply with your lender client’s instructions as set out in the UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook. (I) You must take reasonable steps to verify that there are no discrepancies between the description of the property as valued and the title and other documents which a reasonably competent conveyancer should obtain, and, if there are, you must tell Britannia immediately. (II) You should take reasonable steps to verify that the assumptions stated by the valuer about the title (for example, its tenure, easements, boundaries and restrictions on its use) in the valuation and as stated in Britannia’s mortgage offer are correct. If they are not, please let Britannia know as soon as possible as it will be necessary for Britannia to check with the valuer whether the valuation needs to be revised. Britannia conveyancing panel solicitors are not expected to assume the role of valuer. Britannia are simply trying to ensure that the valuer has valued the property based on correct information. (c) Britannia recommend that you should advise the borrower that there may be defects in the property which are not revealed by the inspection carried out by their valuer and there may be omissions or inaccuracies in the report which do not matter to them as a lender but which would matter to the borrower. Britannia recommend that, if we send a copy of a valuation report that Britannia have obtained, you should also advise the borrower that the borrower should not rely on the report in deciding whether to proceed with the purchase and that he obtains his own more detailed report on the condition and value of the property, based on a fuller inspection such as a homebuyers survey or comprehensive survey. If you do not receive a copy of the valuation you can always ask for a copy of one from Britannia or the borrower. You still need to comply with the UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook Requirement relating to valuation reports even if you don't receive one directly. Failure to comply not only runs the risk of facing a claim by the lender but also being removed from the Britannia conveyancing panel
Our membership of the Britannia conveyancing panel was revoked but was reinstated on appeal, do I need to disclose this information on my CQS application?
It would be advisable to provide details of the date of removal, information on the reason for removal, date of appeal and any reason given for reinstatement. This should not adversely impact your firm’s application but gives the CQS team a complete picture of what has occured.
I am on the Britannia conveyancing panel and all set to complete a purchase within the next week. I can not locate a Mortgage Deed for the client to execute. Who do I contact at Britannia to obtain duplicate documents?
You would be advised to communicate with Britannia to obtain standard documents. The CML Handbook incorporates a specific question for lenders to enumerate who to contact to obtain standard documents. Britannia in their Part 2’s state:
Please remember to disclose the firm’s Britannia solicitors panel number.

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Average number of days to register title including a charge in favour of Britannia
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 [no data]
* Data aggregated from sources including COMPLETIONmonitor