IPAV Calls On Minister McEntee To Act On CCPC Concerns On Conveyancing Delays

Sunday 14th April 2024

IPAV Calls On Minister McEntee To Act On CCPC Concerns On Conveyancing Delays

The stark contrast in the positions adopted this week by two separate State bodies on measures needed to speed up conveyancing, the legal transfer of property title from seller to buyer, is something Minister for Justice Helen McEntee should take on board urgently and act in the best interest of consumers, IPAV, the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers, said this weekend.

On Wednesday (10th April) the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) published its long awaited report and recommendations on conveyancing. Chief among these were the digitalisation of the system, enhanced price transparency and consumer awareness campaigns.

Pat Davitt, IPAV’s Chief Executive said: “While recommending digitalisation of the system the LSRA report finds at the same time that this would require significant action by government and local authorities and says this would require, and I quote: ‘a detailed evaluation of the costs and risks of such an investment.’

However, Mr Davitt said this argument has been going on for years and yet little if any progress has been made.  “Digitalisation should start immediately for new properties that come up for sale beginning a digital record/passport that would become an ongoing digital record of the property into the future. Other properties could be added as they come up for sale,” he said. “If we wait until systems are in place to digitalise all existing properties the problem is magnified and compounded.”

The LSRA acknowledges that the current system is still very much a paper based system in a digital age.

Specifically on the issue of creating a new profession of conveyancer the LSRA report says it: “would only be viable as part of a wide range of other more significant and pressing reforms to digitalise conveyancing” and “the barriers, risks and regulatory costs associated with the establishment of a new profession of conveyancer in Ireland are too significant to justify its creation in the absence of these wider reforms.”

In response to the LSRA report the CCPC expressed disappointment and called for what it called: “an end to solicitors’ monopoly on conveyancing services” with a clear timeline for the introduction of a new profession of conveyancer, which it said would “drive competition and bring benefits to consumers, such as a faster service and lower fees.”

Mr Davitt said: “Since the CCPC is the State’s consumer watchdog we would expect Minister McEntee to take on board these issues, to consider carefully whether or not  there is wilful determination to resist change by vested interests, and above all to act in the best interest of consumers and do so without delay.”

IPAV has initiated its own Bill, The Sellers Legal Pack for Property Buyers’ Bill 2021, to address conveyancing delays. Mr Davitt said this Bill, if passed, would mean all properties coming up for sale would be digitised. He called on the Minister McEntee to ensure the Bill, which passed second stage in the Dáil last October moves to Committee stage for consideration.

A survey of IPAV members found that, among other issues, 78% had seen the purchasers’ loan offer expire or be withdrawn because of conveyancing delays.

In relation to the national survey accompanying the LSRA report this week and canvassing views on solicitor services, Mr Davitt pointed out that it involved only 300 participants and was undertaken two years ago.