Members of the Conveyancing Association (CA) have set out a number of measures for member firms to adopt during the Coronavirus crisis, in order to keep lease administrators up to date on lease assignments and ensure prompt payments.
Following feedback from CA member firms and lease administrators, the following best practice measures have been agreed which the CA believes will assist both lease administrators and their customers, especially where a lease administrator may be working from home or unable to access or process physical documents.
- For conveyancers to always send documents by e-mail rather than post, and for all lease administrators to provide e-mail contacts and accept e-mailed documents. Many lease administrators already publish guidance and online contact details for conveyancers, as well as to their customers on standard documents such as rent and service charge demands – conveyancers should use these to avoid posting documents.
- For conveyancers to ensure all payments are sent electronically and for lease administrators to provide bank details or other payment facilities to conveyancers to avoid cheques being issued.
The CA is also urging those lease administrators who can do so, to authorise HM Land Registry during the lock down to accept conveyancer evidence that they have contacted the lease administrator, and that there has been confirmation of compliance with the alienation provisions required for lifting a restriction against registration, if the lease administrator is not able to provide a certificate of consent in required form within 20 working days due to the current crisis.
The CA has acknowledged that this is a departure from previous practice but says there are major concerns over cancelled registrations where some lease administrators might be struggling to deal with paperwork during the coronavirus crisis and any authorisation given by lease administrators would be temporary during the lock down period.
Both conveyancers and lease administrators are also calling on the Land Registry to help the industry by relaxing their rules on acceptance of deeds with e-signatures. In the current crisis, they argue that physical execution of deeds can be burdensome and time-consuming. They say the industry would welcome the Land Registry offering assistance and solutions at this time.
Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, said: “Clearly, this is a difficult time for all conveyancing stakeholders as we seek to keep the process moving and therefore, following member feedback, we hope that these practical steps if adopted by lease administrators will make things easier for all concerned. The third measure is a shift however we believe that this will help maintain an up to date register at HM Land Registry.”