Estate agents meet Law Society to address conveyancing delays

The Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers said a recent study of its members found that more than 60 per cent of auctioneers were experiencing unwarranted delays

Pat Davitt, chief executive of IPAV: calling for the introduction of purchase contracts. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Pat Davitt, chief executive of IPAV: calling for the introduction of purchase contracts. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Frustration with conveyancing delays of up to four and a half months prompted estate agents organisation IPAV to meet the Law Society this week in an effort to address the situation. The Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers (IPAV) said a recent study of its members found that more than 60 per cent of auctioneers were experiencing unwarranted delays between the time of sale agreed and close of sale on property transactions.

IPAV chief executive Pat Davitt said the organisation had a constructive meeting with Michael Kelly, head of eConveyancing implementation at the Law Society on Tuesday. An unwillingness by solicitors to do business via email or telephone, preferring instead to use the traditional method of letter writing, is contributing to huge delays at a time when Davitt says banks are releasing a lot more properties to the market. IPAV is calling for the introduction of e-conveyancing, whereby the process will be completed digitally, to be fast-tracked. It is currently scheduled to take two years to implement here.

In the meantime IPAV is proposing the introduction of legally binding “purchase contracts” to be signed by the buyer and vendor at the time a property goes sale agreed which would protect parties from the deal falling through before the transaction is completed. With gazumping on the rise, deals fall through despite being sale agreed when a better offer comes along. Davitt says they are looking at a South African model of purchase contracts, and the Law Society has agreed to take a look at early drafts.

The process would involve solicitors being up to speed on property transactions before they go sale agreed, with a lot of the red tape around instruction, fees and document draw-downs already taken care of. The one caveat for consumers is that they may be required to shoulder the cost of administration upfront, rather than waiting for the final solicitors’ fee.