Lockdown Legals - Moving House

Another day of lockdown legals.

The setup - of me as the lone office junior/spider in the middle of the virtual web connected out to my solicitors and admin staff all at home - has been working pretty well. Austin's scanning and cash room skills are becoming less crap as I go along, and my expert and long-suffering colleagues have been gracious even if remotely shaking their heads in incredulity and exasperation, sitting laptoppily in their home kitchens, bedrooms, sheds.

But the real curveball was when the Registers of Scotland unexpectedly and suddenly told the legal profession that from today they would not accept any title registration applications.

What this means is that no-one can move house. Not just for new purchases and sales planned for months away, but for those whose transactions are just about to complete this very Friday, next week, and so on.

Not only is this a disaster, but it is evidence - actually confirmation, we lawyers have known it for years - that our system of registration of property title is not fit for purpose. Not to bore you with detail, but in these days of online holiday, insurance, commodity purchase all paper-free, you can't buy a house without someone wet-signing an actual piece of paper and sending it snail mail to a Government agency. It's more or less like using the quill pen and parchment to give an order on the Starship Enterprise. Set phasers to take the stagecoach to York! 

Anyway, even though we completely respect the needs of RoS workers to have personal safety and health (this debacle is not in any way their fault, fantastic public servants), the notification provoked an instant tsunami of protest.

From our point of view as conveyancing practitioners, why can't we either log on securely and report the transaction as complete, or even just scan the docs and email them in? Not rocket science. 

Well, it sounds like they might be listening. Urgent, even desperate, discussions between the Registers, the Law Society of Scotland, and others have been taking place, and the development of the conversation seems optimistic.

Tens of millions of pounds worth of client and mortgage funds, families being stuck with nowhere to stay for an indefinite period and, frankly, the credibility of our legal system, are all at stake.

Fingers crossed. Quill pens poised... for chucking into the bin at last.

First time buyer? Moving home?

Message us direct

Online enquiry

Call your nearest branch

Related services