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Solicitors responsibility to notify lender of transfer completion

Hi all,

I instructed solicitors on a transfer of equity process where I have acquired ex-partner's share of property we previously bought together, on which there is also a mortgage in our joint names.

Long story short – my solicitors have not notified my mortgage provider that the transfer has been completed and this is costing me money because my fixed rate mortgage deal ended soon after the transfer completion date, so I am now paying the lender's SVR and unable to apply for a remortgage until the 'change of borrower' application made as part of the transfer is closed.

My question is: are my solicitors responsible for notifying the lender of completion in a timely manner as part of their service/duty of care towards me? And could I claim compensation due to being unable to remortgage because of their (ongoing) failure to do so?

 Some additional context:

  • In a letter to my solicitors consenting to the transfer, my lender clearly set out that they required a ‘Completion Certificate’ be sent to them as a condition of their consent and to consider the transfer complete.
  • Ahead of completion, I made my solicitors aware of the situation with my mortgage deal expiring, including the specific timings, and told them how timely notification to the lender would therefore be important to enable me to remortgage.
  • Upon completion, solicitors (falsely) confirmed to me in writing they had sent the certificate to the lender.
  • Two weeks later when trying to remortgage I discovered from the lender they had not in fact sent it. And despite chasing solicitors for several weeks now they have still not sent it or engaged with my attempts at contacting them (beyond one email saying ‘it will be done’).

I submitted a formal complaint to solicitors last week and received an initial response saying it will be ‘looked into’ but that they accept no claims for financial loss because they ‘were instructed for a transfer not a remortgage’. This is true however I cannot understand how they can disclaim all responsibility for notifying the lender as part of a transfer of equity service, especially given the apparent disregard they have shown me as their client in their (continuing!) failure to action what is a simple administrative task that they know is causing me loss.

Any advice would be gratefully appreciated!

Comments

  • loubel
    loubel Posts: 821 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    edited 19 February at 1:44PM
    If you have already raised a complaint then I'm sure your solicitor will make sure the notification of completion is sent to the lender asap. You will need the application to register the transfer of equity at Land Registry to complete before you can remortgage in any event. Was there a reason you didn't remortgage at the same time, which would be usual?
  • EssexHebridean
    EssexHebridean Posts: 21,287 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary Photogenic First Post
    The usual reason for someone not remortgaging at the time is that they are in a decent fixed deal and don't want the cost of coming out of that. It's far from unusual to do a TofE with a mortgage in place - and usually a pretty simple addition to the process. 

    As far as notifying the lender goes - this is usually done once the registration has been completed - has this happened yet in your case OP? It would be sur[rising if it had if the completion date was only 2 weeks ago. 
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  • loubel
    loubel Posts: 821 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Anniversary First Post
    But the OP says their fix expired soon after completion and now they are having to wait to apply for a remortgage because they have just done a transfer of equity. So surely it would've made more sense to do them together rather than incurring costs and delays by doing as separate transactions.
  • Quiddy
    Quiddy Posts: 2 Newbie
    First Post

    Thank you both for your comments

    The usual reason for someone not remortgaging at the time is that they are in a decent fixed deal and don't want the cost of coming out of that.
    loubel said:
    So surely it would've made more sense to do them together rather than incurring costs and delays by doing as separate transactions.
    To be honest I wasn’t even aware that remortgaging at the same time was an option - always understood one process had to follow the other. Although it's also accurate that I would have wanted to remain on what was a favourable fixed deal for as long as possible.

    As far as notifying the lender goes - this is usually done once the registration has been completed - has this happened yet in your case OP? It would be sur[rising if it had if the completion date was only 2 weeks ago. 
    I am not sure although suspect not yet. But while I could understand that logic, it is inconsistent with my communications with both the solicitor and lender. Firstly, the lender’s consent letter requests a notification from my solicitors confirming that “registration is due to be completed at the Land Registry" - I would think my solicitors could give such a confirmation without issue having submitted the LR application. Indeed they have never told me the notification must wait for registration and in fact claimed they had already sent it. And when I spoke with the lender they said all they required to update their records and enable a remortgage was the completion certificate from the solicitors. 

    What's maddening is that I cannot even get an explanation for why the notification has not been sent, let alone one that makes sense given the wording of the letter and lender's comments to me. Appreciate I may just be in a tough spot, but if so I'd at least like to know how/why!

  • Hoenir
    Hoenir Posts: 1,881 Forumite
    First Post Name Dropper
    Quiddy said:

    Firstly, the lender’s consent letter requests a notification from my solicitors confirming that “registration is due to be completed at the Land Registry" - I would think my solicitors could give such a confirmation without issue having submitted the LR application. Indeed they have never told me the notification must wait for registration and in fact claimed they had already sent it. And when I spoke with the lender they said all they required to update their records and enable a remortgage was the completion certificate from the solicitors. 



    A common misconception. They are not your solicitors. The solicitors are working in a capacity for both yourself and the lender. You just happen to be incurring all the costs. The Completion Certificate is a matter between the Solicitor and the Lender. Safe to assume that the solicitor will pass this across to the lender once their responsibilities and all contractual duties have been discharged. If anything were to go wrong or amiss then they would be potentially in serious trouble. 
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