You are here: Home - News -

Conveyancers consider raising fees as responsibilities pile up – CLC

  • 28/11/2023
  • 0
Conveyancers consider raising fees as responsibilities pile up – CLC
Conveyancers want to increase the fees for their services as they find themselves taking on more duties, it has been said at an industry discussion.

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) held a roundtable with professionals across the sector. Conveyancers said they were being made to provide more information to clients and felt the price of their service did not reflect that. 

Rob Gurney, managing director of Ochresoft, said the responsibility of a conveyancer had “doubled in the last 15 to 20 years” with much of that pressure coming from client expectations of how long the process should take. 

He said: “The expectation of the consumer is impossible to meet, whereas, 15 to 20 years ago, we could meet it.” 

Peter Rodd, residential conveyancing representative on the Law Society council, said the level of detail conveyancers needed to provide was increasing. 

“We now have the question of climate. To what extent is the conveyancer going to be responsible to their clients for advising on those issues and the possibility of flooding? There was a suggestion a few years ago that we should tell people about the cleanliness of the air in their area.  

“None of that is legal, but it is all getting pushed towards the conveyancer, because, at the end of the day, the conveyancer is the one who is insured and takes responsibility,” he added. 

Rodd said based on past fees and the current average value of a property, conveyancers should be charging at least £2,500 per transaction but many firms were only charging a few hundred pounds and paying a referral fee from that. 

He added: “You cannot do the job properly and deliver the correct level of service by charging a pittance and paying your staff a pittance.” 


The value of a conveyancer 

Concerns were expressed that increasing fees could have a negative impact on business. 

Paul Bennett, partner at Bennett Briegal, said although some clients were motivated by price, conveyancers should “be brave and charge for the work that you do”. 

Stephen Ward, strategy director at CLC, said conveyancers found it hard to explain the value of their work. 

He added: “It is the confidence that you [the buyer] understand everything about it that is relevant to you so that you can use and enjoy that property as intended.” 

Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, said some firms raised their prices during busy periods. 

She added: “After two weeks, they were all quoting the busy fee scale, because they were feeling busy, which they always do. They were converting them at the same rate as they were previously and, overall, we were able to put the fees up by £150 in a couple of months, because they were confident in what they were quoting. 

“They were able to do that because they could offer the customer service and had enough money to be able to resource the transaction properly, to be available on the phone and to make sure that they had support cover if somebody went on holiday.” 


A slower market 

With purchase activity muted this year, Gurney said caseloads had declined by around 20 to 30 per cent and questioned whether it was sustainable to work with tighter margins. 

Bennett said this was compounded by conveyancers leaving the profession. 

“One of the trends in the market that I have seen in the last 12 months is that partners have been retiring and have not been replaced. Fee-earners have been leaving through natural attrition and have not been replaced.  

“Though the volume of matters is down, the number of people actively undertaking the work has also dropped in some firms,” he added. 

Related Posts

There are 0 Comment(s)

You may also be interested in