The Mortgage Lender Conveyancing Panel Information

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

The Mortgage Lender Solicitor Panel: Recently Asked Questions

Being on the The Mortgage Lender conveyancing panel how long am I obliged to keep hold of the original conveyancing file?
The CML Part II requirements of The Mortgage Lender are silent on this. Most mortgage companies deal with the issue of file retention via their Terms of panel appointment where they generally provide that for evidential purposes, the firm must keep the file for a minimum six 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 The Mortgage Lender’s interest. To be absolutely sure of The Mortgage Lender requirements in this regard please check the Terms and Conditions of The Mortgage Lender’s conveyancing panel appointment.

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A recent SRA survey reveals that 76% of solicitors have been removed from a lender conveyancing panel. The Mortgage Lender and other lenders have restricted their panel over the years. Why?
In operating open conveyancing panels, lenders such as The Mortgage Lender 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.

The Mortgage Lender 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.

Do I face being suspended off the The Mortgage Lender conveyancing panel if I have not sent the deeds on a purchase within a certain period of completion?
You might expect The Mortgage Lender via their Part Two requirements to address this but the Handbook is silent on time frames. You need to look at the Terms of The Mortgage Lender’s Conveyancing Panel Appointment that you entered into. For many lender's these Terms have a provision along the following lines: ‘To keep us informed of the reasons for any delay in your being able to send the title deeds and documents we require to us within 3 months of completion or evidence of proof of registration within that period. (We will send reminders if the deeds have not been received but will not acknowledge receipt of deeds’ It is imperative to keep The Mortgage Lender updated. Law firms can often compound their problems by not communicating with the lender when there is a delay or problem.
My firm is representing a seller of a property and we have just received an email from the buyers solicitors who are not on the The Mortgage Lender conveyancing panel requesting that we undertake to send certain post-completion documents to a law firm on the approved solicitor list for The Mortgage Lender. We have not come accross this before. Do we give the undertaking?
You will be aware of the trend in recent years for lenders such as The Mortgage Lender to take a much more pro-active approach in relation to the management and make up of their conveyancer panels. The knock on effect of this is that it is more likely that there will be a higher number of cases where a conveyancer is not on the The Mortgage Lender panel. The situation that you find yourself in is where your client’s purchaser has his/her own lawyer and The Mortgage Lender have appointed a separate lawyer to act on their behalf where the new CML Part 3 requirements apply. Section 11.1 of the UK Finance Lenders’ Handbook Part 3 requires The Mortgage Lender’s panel solicitor to ‘ ...transfer the mortgage advance directly to the Seller’s conveyancer. The Seller’s conveyancer must be required to hold the mortgage advance on the terms of the required undertaking. The example borrower’s conveyancer’s undertaking letter includes a specific example of the seller’s undertaking’. You should expect to be advised to received the mortgage advance directly from the conveyancing solicitors for The Mortgage Lender. You will no doubt be required to undertake directly to The Mortgage Lender’s solicitors to discharge any charges secured on the property and to send directly to them the executed transfer and any other documents required to enable us to effect registration. Please remember to carefully consider undertakings in accordance with your firm’s protocol and record them in your undertakings logg. Please remember that as well as this breach of this undertaking having regulatory and compliance implications it’s breach could also result in your firm being removed off the The Mortgage Lender conveyancing panel.
Are there any specific The Mortgage Lender conveyancing panel obligations in respect of Transfer of Equity Conveyancing?
The Mortgage Lender approved panel lawyers have to comply with the Part II 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 The Mortgage Lender require, the deed of covenant on their behalf. You will need to check The Mortgage Lender CML Part 2 conditions to see if The Mortgage Lender 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 The Mortgage Lender conveyancing panel
Our membership of the The Mortgage Lender conveyancing panel was revoked but was reinstated on appeal, do I need to disclose this information on my application for CQS accreditation?
It would be advisable to supply details of the date of removal, information on the reason for removal, date of appeal and any reason given for reinstatement. This should not negatively affect your firm’s application but gives the Law Society viability as to what has happened.
Our practice is on the The Mortgage Lender conveyancing panel and all set to complete a purchase within the next few weeks. My papers do not include a Legal Charge for the client to execute. Who do I contact at The Mortgage Lender to request substitute deeds?
You should get in touch with The Mortgage Lender to obtain standard documents. The CML Handbook contains a specific section for lenders to set out who to contact to obtain standard documents. The Mortgage Lender in their Part 2’s state:
It is likely that you will need to disclose the firm’s The Mortgage Lender conveyancing panel number.

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