The Law Society is introducing a code of practice for exchange of property contracts, to ensure digital transactions are made easier.
The draft code aims “to remove the uncertainty” around exchanging contracts for residential and commercial property, the society says.
We know that [conveyancers] are under pressure from clients to update the way you do business”.
“We know that [conveyancers] are under pressure from clients to update the way you do business following technological changes and the impact of Covid-19.
“And we know that the law isn’t entirely clear around certain aspects of using electronic documents in the conveyancing process,” it says.
The society is consulting on the code with conveyancers and solicitors to ensure the it is workable and will be widely used.
Both sales contracts and leases will be covered by the code, which will be issued next year.
Protocols on immediate exchange and release of contracts will be followed by solicitors who agree to adopt the code.
Estate agents are increasingly frustrated with the time it takes from an offer being accepted to exchange of contracts.
The frustration is felt by homebuyers as well. Nearly half (45%) of homebuyers say slow property conveyancing response time is a major problem, research from risk management platform Thirdfort revealed last week.
Compliance and administrative procedures, including paper documentation and ID verification, contribute to a negative experience for people using conveyancers and property lawyers, the survey found.
Meanwhile, the Home Buying and Selling Group is asking estate agents to help test and pilot new ways of moving home as it continues to look at ways to overhaul the process.
The Group is an informal mix of people from across the property, legal and finance sectors.
The Law Society draft code is available here