Top 5 causes of conveyancing delays

21st Oct, 2021

Photo by Victor Huang on Getty Images Pro


When buying a home, there are hundreds of variables that could slow down the process and you may find yourself taking much longer to complete your home move than you had imagined.

The number of people that are quite clueless about the home moving process and what the timeframes may look like is quite astonishing. To help you better understand how the process work and how to push things forwards, we have compiled a few of the most common causes for delays in the conveyancing process and how you can best avoid these.


1. Management companies being slow in returning information on leasehold properties

If you’re buying a leasehold property, the transaction may be more complicated than buying a freehold property. This is because you are effectively leasing the property from the freeholder for a specific period, rather than owning it.

With this type of purchase, your solicitor will need to obtain information from the freeholder/ and or management company. This usually includes costs (such as ground rent and monthly service charges), proof of buildings insurance and previous years’ accounts. To avoid delays, from the outset inform your solicitor that you are buying a leasehold property, and give the freeholder or management company prior warning that they will need to provide this information.


2. Buyers failing to disclose their gifted mortgage deposit

Whether it’s 5%, 50% or any other amount, the mortgage lender will want to know where your deposit is coming from. If all, or even part of it, is a gift from a family member, for example, your solicitor must declare this to the bank or building society and, therefore, you will need to declare it to your solicitor as soon as possible.

Make sure you give your solicitor clear and accurate information about your deposit at the very start of the conveyancing process. Warn the gifting party they’ll need to sign a letter and potentially provide ID. Most lenders will require a signature from the source of the deposit, confirming the money does not need to be repaid.


3. Delays from third parties in providing answers to outstanding enquiries 

Your solicitor will go through all the paperwork from the sellers and raise a several queries, which could be anything from how to resolve a problem exposed by the survey, to a discrepancy on the property deeds. Hold-ups can occur if the third parties required to provide this information are operating on different timescales. And even if they are moving fast, particularly complex issues, can take weeks to resolve.

To avoid this, keep regular contact with your solicitor and be patient – they are required to follow a code of conduct and getting these checks done thoroughly is crucial.


4. Local authorities dragging their feet in returning searches

Local authority searches are carried out to uncover potential issues that could affect the home you are purchasing, such as nearby planned development or tree preservation orders. Separate Environmental and Water searches, which flag problems like the risk of flooding, will also be carried out and while some local authorities will return these searches within a few days, others could take several weeks.

We suggest that you lodge funds for the searches with your solicitor straight away and request they be carried out as early as possible to reduce the risk of delays.


5. Slow or under-resourced solicitors 

Lastly, even if you have an efficient and dedicated solicitor working just on your property purchase, this is unlikely to be the case for every other party in the chain. Solicitors are often busy with other transactions, especially during the summer or Christmas holidays, and could simply be understaffed. This can cause hold-ups and significantly slow down the time it takes to complete your purchase.

Our advice is to try to reply promptly to queries or requests for documentation yourself and then if you must chase other parties in the chain, make a note of what was said. Get an estimated timeline from your solicitor upfront and, if possible, avoid the holiday season.


How can Moveable help?

Fed up with endless forms, delays and not knowing what’s next? With Moveable, you stay informed on all stages of your home move, including what you need to do next to avoid delays.

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