House buying to cost hundreds more under new rules

Buyers and sellers may have to wait more than two months to move home due to the new rules. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Buyers and sellers may have to wait more than two months to move home due to the new rules. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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HOME buyers will be forced to paying hundreds of pounds extra in fees after lawyers voted in favour of new rules to avoid conflict of interest.

The Law Society of Scotland voted in favour of changing the current practice of solicitors acting for both a buyer and mortgage lender in the same property deal.

At the society’s annual general meeting, members voted 58 to 27, with three absentions, for the proposals, which will now go to a special general meeting in September.

Austin Lafferty, president of the Law Society, said: “The exception to the rules was introduced in 1986 to help ensure a smooth transaction but the world is a very different place now. The severe economic downturn, increasingly complex transactions, increasing risk of mortgage fraud and the additional pressures from lenders mean that it is no longer appropriate, and indeed is arguably not in the public interest to continue.

“We are fully aware of the potential for increased costs for buyers and increased paperwork for solicitors. It will be for the lenders to decide on whether they are prepared to pass on these costs to their customers.”

But the Council of Mortgage Lenders have opposed the move, with lenders arguing there are only a minority of cases where a conflict of interest takes place.