What is Separate Representation?
This is an issue that most people who are buying a property are not aware of until it happens to them. Separate Representation is when the Solicitor you chose to do your conveyancing is not on your mortgage lender’s approved Solicitor panel. This means that they cannot act for your mortgage lender and for you at the same time.
This creates some issues which we explain below along with some helpful tips.
If you are buying a property, you choose a Conveyancing Solicitor that you want to work with. You will probably have done lots of research and hopefully not just based your decision on how cheap they are – after all, buying a property is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make and you want to best Conveyancer for the job, not the cheapest.
Once you’ve done your research and found a Conveyancing Solicitor you want to work with you’ll probably think everything’s all sorted, but you should check with them to see if they are on your Mortgage Lender’s panel. If they are, that’s perfect and you won’t need to do anything else.
If not, your Solicitor will act for you and your mortgage lender will need to appoint a Solicitor to act for them. This is called Separate Representation.
For free initial advice get in touch with our Conveyancing Solicitors.
Helpful Tips on Separate Representation
You may find that your mortgage lender wants you to change your Solicitor to one on their lender's panel. You really shouldn’t do this, particularly if you have chosen a particular Solicitor because you trust them. It’s your right to choose who you want to represent you in your property sale and you shouldn’t have to change because your lender wants them on their panel.
Additionally, even though you are borrowing money from your mortgage lender so you can buy your property, you are their client. They are a business and are making money from the loan agreement with you. As the client, you decide who represents you, not them.
Make sure that you tell your lender from the beginning that this is a Separate Representation issue and that they should instruct their own Solicitor. You can tell them who your Conveyancing Solicitor is at the same time.
If you are using a mortgage broker, you’ll need to ask them to represent your position strongly and not advise you to change your Conveyancing Solicitor. They are being paid to get you a mortgage so they should work for you.
If you are being told by your lender that Separate Representation is not possible, that’s simply not correct. You are entitled to choose who represents you in your property purchase. But you should be aware that there could be some additional costs and delays because of it.
Because there are two sets of Solicitors on the buyer’s side instead of just one, the time to complete the transaction will take longer as the documentation will have to move between both sets of Lawyers.
In addition, because the mortgage lender will have to instruct a Solicitor separately, you’ll probably have to pay those costs too. They will tell you how much that will cost once you inform them that it will be a Separate Representation matter.
One other thing to consider is asking your Conveyancing Solicitor to ask to join that lender’s panel. This is likely to cause a delay of around 2 weeks whilst the application is processed.
Many Solicitors charge an additional fee to complete Separate Representation work. At Simpson Millar, we are on most of the major lender panels but if we’re not, we can probably apply so talk to one of our Conveyancing Solicitors.
Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.