COVID-19: CONVEYANCING UPDATE #2

Further to our update on Thursday 26th March, Registers of Scotland have now issued further guidance following their discussions with the Law Society of Scotland and UK Finance.

Imminent settlements: an update

A system is now in place which will enable a limited number of imminent conveyancing transactions to settle, despite the closure of the application record, providing that your transaction meets the following three criteria:-

  1. Your Advance Notice is already registered. Solicitors cannot rely on a letter of obligation.
  2. If your Advance Notice is not yet registered, the guidance states that “Registers of Scotland may – on a case-by-case basis – be able to selectively open the Application Record to allow for registration of Advance Notices for imminent transactions”. How this would work is not yet clear, but we are told that guidance on this will be released by Registers of Scotland.
  3. The signed Disposition and signed Standard Security must be available and delivered at settlement. The guidance notes, however, that an agreement between solicitors can be made which confirms that the Disposition has been executed and that it will be physically delivered to the buyer’s solicitor immediately following the re-opening of the Application Record.

Lenders

The update advises solicitors to check the Law Society’s guidance, which includes a list of lenders who have agreed to the proposals put forward by the Registers. Most major lender are on the list, including Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and RBS, and are on board with the temporary measures. We understand that the list will continue to be updated as more lenders agree to the proposals. The Law Society has advised solicitors to obtain clear instructions from their clients and from the lender in order to proceed on the basis of the above system.

Non-urgent transactions

The advice for non-urgent conveyancing transactions is still that purchasers and sellers should consider postponing settlement due to the Government’s current restrictions and until the Application Record re-opens for registrations.

BBM are continuing to monitor any updates in relation to Conveyancing during this time and will endeavour to report any further changes as they are released.