The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality this morning (Wednesday) heard that over six in every ten auctioneers are experiencing unwarranted delays in conveyancing  and almost 70pc attribute such delays to an unwillingness by solicitors to do business via email or telephone, preferring instead to use the traditional method of letter writing,

The survey involving over 200 members of IPAV, the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers, the findings of which were presented to the Committee identified that the average delay from sale agreed to close of sale is almost four and a half months. The institute expressed concern that with banks increasingly offloading more properties the current situation is likely to be exacerbated and it sought that the Committee would do all in its power to speed up electronic conveyancing

The Committee agreed, arising from this morning’s hearing, to write to the Minister for Justice to see if legislative change was needed to advance electronic conveyancing and the Committee also said it would seek an update from the Property Registration Authority.

IPAV welcomed this and said the results of its study contrast sharply with the experience across Europe where a  similar survey conducted among members of CEI/CEPI, European Council of Real Estate Professions, found that lawyers conduct a great deal of real estate business via email and telephone.

Keith Anderson, President of IPAV said: “While 37pc of auctioneers only experience delays sometimes, which is perfectly understandable and can be anticipated in the conveyancing process, the real problem is the six in ten cases where unwarranted delays have become the norm.  These delays are having very serious consequences, almost seven in ten auctioneers have lost sales while 27pc have experienced banks withdrawing finance.

“This is impacting hugely on people trying to buy and sell properties. House buyers spend time researching the market and when they eventually find a suitable property within their budget they make an offer.  If they are not outbid, they expect to take possession within weeks but this is not happening for many and some are losing out on the home of their choice,” he said. “It’s a very unsatisfactory situation for buyers and sellers.”   He also said these “inordinate delays” are causing auctioneers to have their reputations unfairly tarnished.  “This situation is not good for anyone – consumer, auctioneer or solicitor and we want to work with the Law Society to address the situation,” he said.

Pat Davitt, IPAV’s Chief Executive says:  “It needs to be addressed urgently.  Plans to introduce electronic conveyancing do need be fast tracked.”  He said while the Property Registration Authority has indicated that electronic conveyancing could be up and running in two and a half years, this was far too long. 

“If it’s not speeded up we could be facing a chaotic situation,” he warned.  Mr Davitt said IPAV has written to the Law Society to attempt to get the society to intervene.



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