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How To Put Pressure On Solicitors

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11th Oct 2023 (Last updated on 12th Apr 2024) 10 minute read

Putting pressure on solicitors can push them to be more efficient in the conveyancing process. The process begins once an offer has been accepted and ends on completion. There are many steps in between and there are many reasons that can contribute to delays.

The conveyancing process takes up the most time of any property transaction. This is because the buyer’s and seller’s solicitors will need to ensure that negotiations are completed and submit all the legal paperwork.

In this guide, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about putting pressure on solicitors. This includes what factors can cause delays and what you should do once you have exhausted every option.

  1. How Long Does the Conveyancing Process Take?
  2. What Could Be Delaying the Process?
  3. Step by Step: Putting Pressure on Solicitors
  4. How Often Can I Contact My Solicitor?
  5. Can I Chase the Other Solicitor?
  6. How Do You Deal With Slow Solicitors?
  7. Choosing the Right Solicitor

How Long Does the Conveyancing Process Take?

The conveyancing process takes between 8 and 12 weeks on average to complete. It begins when an offer has been accepted and ends following completion.

Every property transaction is different, meaning that it may not fall into the average time. Your transaction may be completed well before 8 weeks. Although this is not as common, it is most likely to occur when dealing with a chain-free buyer. This includes first-time buyers and cash buyers. Also, freehold properties are easier to process as they are more straightforward in their paperwork.

On the other hand, more complex transactions mean that the process is likely to take longer. Purchases that include historical properties can see delays due to the inspections involved. This includes having a RICS Home Survey Level 3, formerly known as a Building Survey, carried out which can be timely and highlight severe defects.

Also, leasehold properties require more paperwork in the conveyancing process. One of the reasons for this is the freeholder will need to approve the transaction.

What Could Be Delaying the Process?

Delays may not always be down to the solicitors; however, being aware of any problems can give you a better understanding of the process. Many things can delay the conveyancing process on both the buyer's and seller’s sides.

Here are some major factors that can cause delays:

Complex Transactions

Complex transactions are one of the most common reasons for delays. This is most likely to occur when dealing with historical or listed buildings. It could also be because there are issues with the buildings or additional paperwork that has to be submitted.

Leasehold properties also require extra steps in the conveyancing process. You may also be faced with outstanding planning permissions and titles among other forms that need to be submitted.

Mortgage Lenders

Mortgage lenders may be slow to respond or request further information, causing a delay in the process. When buying with a mortgage, it’s essential to have the correct documentation submitted on time. Not doing so will prolong your property transaction as your mortgage lender may refuse to issue your mortgage offer.

Conveyancing Searches

There may be a delay in the buyer’s conveyancing searches, especially when dealing with complex properties. For historical properties, there may be issues with the Local Authority Search if there is a lot of information to read through. However, your solicitor should keep you in the loop if this is the case.

Read more on How Long Do Conveyancing Searches Take?

Survey Results

The property survey results are one of the most integral parts of property transactions. This is because the buyer will use the results to determine the next steps. Therefore, if there are issues found in the property or the results are delayed, this can lead to prolonged delays. Severe defects may lead to renegotiations which can last a long time.

Having the survey carried out at the start of the process will help ease the transaction. Both parties can iron out the finer details well before the exchange of contracts is due to take place.

Enquiry Concerns

Your solicitor may not be satisfied with a response given by the other party. This could be due to the wrong paperwork being submitted or a result that causes a halt in the process. Your solicitor may have to stop the process altogether while the issue is fixed.

Property Chain

Being part of a property chain can cause issues as any problems further up the chain can cause a domino effect. It doesn’t matter if it is you or the other party who is part of the property chain. If this domino effect occurs, your transaction may also be affected. This could be due to a collapsed property transaction further up the chain which means the person is not able to move house.

Hectic Schedule

If your solicitor has a lot of clients and properties on their plate, this can cause delays. If this is the case, you can arrange a weekly catch-up with them to ensure that your property transaction is not lost in the workload.

Response Delays

There may be delays in responses from the other party that can cause a major delay in the process. If the other party’s solicitor is not as efficient, they may be tardy when it comes to submitting documentation and drafting up contracts.

Unregistered Land

There may be delays at the end of the conveyancing process if the property sits on unregistered land. In these cases, the property will have to be registered with the Land Registry to ensure that the transaction can be completed. This can cause delays while waiting for the registration to be submitted and confirmed.

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Step by Step: Putting Pressure on Solicitors

Knowing how to put pressure on solicitors is important. It will ensure you are taking the necessary steps before taking action such as filing a complaint. No matter how far along in the conveyancing process you are, it’s crucial that you are kept in the loop on your property transaction.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to put pressure on solicitors:

1. Communication

You should maintain regular communication with your solicitor. This includes contacting them on a weekly basis to ensure that progress is being made. One of your solicitor’s main jobs is contacting you with updates. However, if you are taking the initiative to contact them, it puts a bit of pressure on them to get the job done.

2. Set a Deadline

Setting a clear deadline will motivate your solicitor to complete the conveyancing process at an efficient pace. If there is a clear timeline for each stage, it can give both parties a clear indication of what to expect and minimise delays. You can set a deadline for the entire process or multiple deadlines for each stage of the process, depending on circumstances.

It’s important to make sure that your deadline is realistic. This means considering the buyer and seller’s circumstances and other relevant factors to calculate a suitable date.

3. Do Your Part

While delays can be down to your solicitor or the other party’s solicitor, it’s also essential that you are as proactive in the transaction as possible. This means making sure you are filling out all paperwork required on time. You must also carry out other relevant tasks as efficiently as possible.

If you are keeping up with all the requirements on your end, it will become clear where the delays lie and what you need to do to proceed with the transaction.

4. Contact Your Estate Agent

The main contact you have as either a buyer or seller is the estate agent. The estate agent has access to both solicitors, meaning they will have updates on the purchase. They can also apply pressure when needed as they have a financial incentive for the transaction going through.

Your estate agent can be a valuable ally in speeding up the conveyancing process. They have a vested interest in getting the deal done and can check in with your solicitor regularly, reminding them of the urgency of the situation.

5. Use Other Contacts

You can also use other relevant contacts to help speed the process if the delay is down to the other party’s solicitor. This includes contacting the other party directly if you have their contact details.

Remember that the other party is probably just as eager to get through the conveyancing process as efficiently as possible. By contacting them, they can then put pressure on their solicitor and help speed up the process.

6. Utilise Your Mortgage

If you are taking out a mortgage for your property purchase, this can be used as leverage. When you receive a mortgage offer, this will have an expiration date. Your solicitor will have to make sure the transaction is completed before this date to ensure that your mortgage goes through. If your solicitor does not speed up the process and cause the mortgage offer to expire, you will have to reapply for a mortgage. This will most likely cause even more delays in the process.

Therefore, it’s in your solicitor’s best interests to not let the mortgage offer expire, especially if they have a “no sale no fee” guarantee in place. This is because the other party may withdraw from the transaction if the process is prolonged any further.

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How Often Can I Contact My Solicitor?

There is no limit on how often you can contact your solicitor. However, it’s important to note that contacting them on a daily basis could annoy them and cause delays in their progress. Most people check in with their solicitors on a weekly basis. This means they will likely have more to discuss in terms of the property transaction. It also gives your solicitor a chance to work through your case efficiently and without interruptions.

Your solicitor will likely keep you updated with any progress, so it shouldn’t be your responsibility to contact them. However, there is nothing stopping you from contacting them if you don’t feel they are keeping you in the loop. Bear in mind that the reason you may not be hearing from them is that they are awaiting responses from the other party’s solicitor.

Can I Chase the Other Solicitor?

Chasing the other solicitor is a conflict of interest and will be against their terms, regardless of whether you are the buyer or the seller. If the other party’s solicitor is delaying the process, you can contact them indirectly without breaching their terms. If you do contact the other party’s solicitor, this can cause further delays.

The best way to contact the other party’s solicitor is through the estate agent or your own conveyancer, who can pass on your concerns. Equally, you can also contact the buyer or seller directly if you have their contact details.

How Do You Deal With Slow Solicitors?

It can be frustrating if the conveyancing process doesn’t seem to be moving along, especially if the delays are due to your solicitor.

Here are some ways to deal with slow solicitors:

Change Solicitors

Changing solicitors may cause delays at first, but you may find that it speeds up the transaction if you choose a more responsive solicitor. Swapping solicitors may be more challenging the further along the process you are. Therefore, it’s best to consider this if you are not approaching the exchange of contracts.

File a Complaint

Filing a complaint should be seen as a last resort if your solicitor is slowing down the process. Most solicitors have a complaints procedure in place. It’s important that you follow this to ensure your concerns are addressed properly via the legal ombudsman.

In some cases, it’s possible that simply enquiring about the complaint policy will motivate your solicitor. This can help put your transaction back on track.

Threaten to Pull Out of the Transaction

If the other party’s solicitor is delaying the process, you can threaten to pull out of the property transaction altogether. If you are the seller, you can threaten to put your property back on the market. If you are the buyer, you can pull out of the property purchase altogether.

This can motivate the other party’s solicitor to be more efficient. However, it’s important to note that this can also cause the other party to withdraw if they feel pressured. Therefore, you should make sure you’ve done everything you can to communicate with the estate agent before considering this.

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Choosing the Right Solicitor

Compare My Move can connect you with up to 6 conveyancers and conveyancing solicitors in your area. Simply fill out our conveyancing comparison form to compare quotes and save up to 70% on your conveyancing fees.

Conveyancing partners on our network are fully verified and have passed a strict verification process. This includes providing proof of regulation by one of the following regulatory bodies:

  • Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
  • Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC)
  • Law Society of Scotland (LSS)
  • Law Society of Northern Ireland (LSNI)
  • Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX)

Another way to find the right solicitor is by asking friends and family for recommendations. Make sure you research the company thoroughly by reading online reviews beforehand.

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