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ÂŁ2.50 Edition 59 Winter 2010

The Journal of The Council for Licensed Conveyancers

Michael Coogan, Director General, CML

Sarah Beeny’s property overview

Michael Coogan talks to the CLC

Lending a hand..

pdate Victor Olowe A more effective & consumer focused regulator

review NAEA Peter Bolton King on the 2010 housing market

CLC Chronicle

Welcome Welcome – January 2010 At the start of each New Year we are often presented with predictions for the future from industry experts and this issue of the Chronicle is no exception. We’ve gathered views of the housing market in 2010 from Michael Coogan (Director General, CML) and Peter Bolton King (Chief Executive, NAEA). In addition, Sarah Beeny takes a look forward to what the year ahead may hold for the property sector in her regular column on page 13. For the CLC, the New Year brings some more exciting changes. Not least, the appointment of a new Council from May 1st. Anna Bradley, has already been announced as the newly appointed Chair with the remainder of appointments to be made shortly. With final touches being made for the launch of the CLC’s new website and Management Information System, 2010 will be a time for introducing new technology following detailed planning and preparation last year. What’s pleasing to note from Victor Olowe’s update on page 6 is that there is evidence of many firms doing the same - taking stock and reviewing their businesses in the quieter times so that, like the CLC, they are ready to ride the rollercoaster of conveyancing for another year. The next edition of the Chronicle will be available in April – in the meantime, if you wish to comment about the Chronicle please contact me at

Sam Moggan Editor

Published by Council for

Licensed Conveyancers

16 Glebe Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1QG Editor - Sam Moggan email - Advertising enquiries - 2

Designed by Subscriptions If you are not a CLC licence holder or student and would like to subscribe to the Chronicle, please contact:

The Chronicle is published by the CLC (Council for Licensed Conveyancers). The CLC accepts no liability to any party for any error, omission or misstatement in any material published. © CLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any part is not allowed without the written permission of the CLC.

CLC Chronicle

In this issue


Solicitor Transfer


XCHANGE Lending a hand in challenging times. Nicola Laver interviews Michael Coogan, Director General, CML








Sarah Beeny



Victor Olowe - Focus on Consumer Choice Licence and Qualification information

Recession or Recovery?

Peter Bolton King, Chief Executive of the NAEA

Peter Bolton King, discusses what the housing market can expect in 2010...

TV personality Sarah gives us her personal view on developments in the property market. Catch up with our latest news service.

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CLC Chronicle

Lending a hand..

Article by Nicola Laver

“If licensed conveyancers have done it better, because they’re specialist, they do it efficiently and on time, and they’re not in the middle of fraud rings then that’s a good news story the CLC can promote.” “I think we’ve all been surprised this year [2009]. Commentators all got it wrong about house prices falling,” says Michael Coogan of the Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML). “I think there are two reasons why they haven’t. Firstly, recent CML research shows that up to 30% transactions were cash purchases and that therefore means they’re not restricted by limited mortgage availability. “Secondly, there hasn’t been enough supply to match demand so buyers are having to pay full price in order to get their properties. So there’s more bidding by buyers to buy properties on the market because there are fewer available. Both of these have underpinned house prices in 2009.” And if anyone has the first-hand experience to give an informed commentary, then it is Coogan. He has guided the CML through a number of recessions and conveyancing changes since becoming its Director General in 1996. Originally a barrister, and after stints with bodies such as the Consumers’ Association and the Building Societies Association, Coogan joined the CML in 1989, heading it up from December 1996. 4

Recession The recession has hit the economy hard but Coogan believes market pressures will keep house prices at least stable. So what were the statistics telling us at the end of 2009? The figures for both repossessions and the numbers of home loans were far better than expected in many quarters. In fact, the number of house purchase loans was at its highest level for 2 years - up 140% from a low point in January 2009. Coogan attributes this to the lower interest rates, a weaker remortgage market and lenders meeting government commitments to provide new mortgages. Remortgaging has actually been at its lowest level since the CML started recording such data in 2002. The most visible effort by the Government to tackle the housing crisis last year was the stamp duty holiday. This has just ended and Coogan says that whilst the CML is disappointed they are not surprised. Coogan explains: “The Government has to make difficult choices. One of the difficulties for the Government is that they are very constrained in

terms of how much money they can give to anything, even policy priorities such as housing, and at the moment they are keener to promote business revival and make sure people keep jobs than they are to promote housing market activity.” And while the economy is in recession there will be an increase in repossessions, but not by as much as in past recessions. Although the evidence is clear that lending conditions are improving, this provides little comfort for those in negative equity and those in fear of repossession – and Coogan has genuine heartfelt sympathy for those homeowners. He says: “The good news is that all the efforts of the lenders to speak to their borrowers, of debt advisors to get involved in multiple debt cases early, and government measures to give a safety net for those at most risk, are working. “Clearly, it’s for every lender to show they are equally determined to keep their customers in their homes.” Revival With less cash available, high-loanto-value (HLV) loans are becoming a thing of the past. But can the CML

CLC Chronicle do anything to encourage a revival? Coogan explains that “where there’s less money available it will not be enough to meet demand – in effect mortgage rationing. The money that is available will go to lower risk customers and that means that first time buyers have by and large been squeezed out - unless they have 25% deposits.” And he does not foresee a return to 100%+ mortgages any time soon. The buy-to-let market went through a rocky period early in 2009. This was down to issues including fraud and arrears so losses were incurred for the first time but, says Coogan, it has grown over the past ten years. Continued demand is expected. He says: “Many investors are finding their rental income is covering their mortgage payments and cash buyers are indicating that it is still a market people are entering.” Fraud Fraud proves a major problem with lenders in a recession and the current economic climate has proved no exception. This has led to the uncomfortable rationalising of lender panels. Coogan says: “Lenders are having more claims against professional indemnity insurance. They are obviously looking to see where those claims arise and unfortunately many of them arise in smaller firms. Those experiences give the lenders a commercial reason to rationalise panels. I would expect the trend, rightly or wrongly to be a continuing one of panels shrinking.” But can the CML influence the way in which they do this? Coogan says: “The size of panel that the individual lender ends up with depends on their commercial choice. They need to decide what is their business focus, what are the controls in place, who the parties are they wish to work with because they have confidence

in their capacity to meet their needs and the needs of their customers.” The CML is currently having discussions with the Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority because of the increase in solicitorfraud. But Coogan says: “To be fair to the licensed conveyancing profession we don’t see and haven’t had the evidence that there are the same systemic problems [relating to fraud] as there are in other areas, so they’ve not been as engaged in the conversation. But we’re entirely happy to speak to the CLC to the same degree.” And he offers some guidance: “What the CLC should be doing is to differentiate types of conveyancing firms and if licensed conveyancers have done it better, because they’re specialist, they do it efficiently and on time, and they’re not in the middle of fraud rings then that’s a good news story the CLC can promote.” But when further regulation comes into play, Coogan expects lenders requirements on their lawyers’ to remain the same. Mortgage Regulation As to further mortgage regulation by the FSA, Coogan’s view is that regulation in itself cannot resolve the problems of the recent market. But he says: “We first asked for the FSA to be a regulator of secured second charges in 1999, so better late then never. We’re not convinced that the buy-to-let market -which is a commercial market in its essence - requires consumer protection in the same way that a typical homeowner does so we’re yet to be persuaded that they’ve got the right idea.” And he believes the FSA could wreck the market if it goes ahead with its plans in current market conditions. So what does 2010 hold? There is a wide-spread disparity within the property professions between those

who believe the property market will continue to recover and those who forecast a sharp fall in prices. Coogan reckons on both the housing market and the numbers of repossessions continuing along a similar vein as in 2009, and that there will be further consolidation in the building society sector (such as the recently announced Yorkshire/Chelsea merger). He also points to signs that one or two non-banks may come back into the market if the capital funding markets re-open enabling some competition in some markets, and there may be further new lenders entering the market in 2010. Could the practical workings of new mortgage instructions benefit further from technology? Coogan says that the CML is at the forefront electronically. Part 1s are already standardised and available on-line and as to Part 2s, he says: “It would be nice over time for more of the Part 2 instructions to end up as standard in Part 1, it’s an ongoing process.” But electronic signatures is something for the future. Coogan says: “E-conveyancing hasn’t progressed as fast or as well as we would have liked. Clearly we still work with the Land Registry to try to make improvements.” Only time will tell.


CLC Chronicle

pdate by Victor Olowe

The last quarter of 2009 was a critical period for the CLC as the recruitment process for the appointment of a new Council inclusive of a Chair and six Council members (four of which will be licensed conveyancers) was underway. The first stage of the selection process, overseen by the Appointments Commission has been completed and I am delighted to report to you that Anna Bradley has been appointed the new Chair of the CLC with effect from 1 May 2010. Anna is currently Chair of Ofcom’s independent Consumer Panel having previously been Consumer Affairs Director of the Financial Services Authority (2002-5) and Chief Executive of the National Consumer Council (1999-2002). The second stage of the selection process which is the appointment of the remaining six Council members is due to be completed shortly and details of the further members appointed will be announced in February 2010.


CLC Chronicle These appointments are the first steps in the implementation of new governance arrangements, developed by the current Council (consisting of fifteen nominated and elected members), enabling the CLC to build on our achievements to date so that it becomes an even more effective and consumer focused regulator. Consumer Choice Since the last edition of the Chronicle, the CLC has continued its ongoing liaison with some lenders to understand their concerns about the emerging risks in the home buying and selling market and to identify whether additional regulatory measures are required to maintain adequate choice for consumers. I am pleased to report that the ongoing discussions have been enlightening and reinforced the importance of improving awareness of our regulatory framework and approach to all professionals in the home buying and selling market. The profession will be notified of any key developments arising from our ongoing discussions. Furthermore, it has re-emphasised the need to continue the trend of better collaboration among all professionals in the housing market. Although 2009 was challenging for the property sector, it is very pleasing to note the range of collaborative initiatives, among all professionals, focused on improving the consumer experience. I hope that this trend of industry wide collaboration will continue this year to raise standards where appropriate and to enhance the consumer’s experience of the home buying and selling market. Adapting to Change Looking ahead this year again presents new opportunities and challenges. The increase in property transactions in the last quarter of

2009 was welcome and has fueled a renewed sense of optimism for some firms in the profession. Although the impact of the predicted slowdown in the housing market during the year it is not clear, it is evident that more firms have adapted their business models to enable them to ride the winds of change. The anticipated major change in the regulation of legal services became a reality from 1 January 2010 as the Legal Services Board (LSB) assumed it full functions and now oversees the way in which the CLC and the other legal regulators (such as the Law Society, the Bar Council and ILEX) carry out their functions. As I mentioned in the last edition, the LSB issued a number of consultations about the way in which it should exercise its powers and is resolute in ensuring that Alternative Business Structures (ABS) are able to start trading from mid 2011. The CLC is committed to applying to become a Licensing Authority regulating ABS. Of course some practices regulated by the CLC already have the attributes of ABS in that they have Managers and owners who are not licensed conveyancers (and are not qualified lawyers). Consultations The CLC also anticipates applying to regulate advocacy and litigation services. As part of its preparation for these new powers the CLC has been reviewing the way in which fees payable by licensed conveyancers and CLC regulated practices are determined. Two Consultation Papers (one on regulating advocacy and litigation services and becoming a Licensing Authority, and the other on Licence and Practice Fees) will be issued soon. The Consultation Period for both papers ends on 31 March 2010. Please let us have your views about the issues raised so that the applications the CLC makes properly

reflect informed views of the profession and other key stakeholders. We look forward to reading your responses. The CLC will be implementing a number of very important initiatives during the course of 2010 in order to respond effectively to the many challenges and opportunities arising from the wide-ranging reforms introduced by the Legal Services Act 2007. The CLC will be moving closer towards implementing an outcomes and risk based approach to regulation. Some of you may be aware that the intended shift to risk based regulation has been on our agenda since 2008. Regrettably progress has been limited largely due to the lack of appropriate resources. However, I am confident that we have now tackled that resource challenge through the imminent introduction of a new Management Information System and the implementation of new organisational structure particularly the appointment of a new Director of Operations, Michael Harradine-Cardwell from January 2010. The Director of Operations will be responsible for ensuring that the risk based approach is effectively embedded in all our operations which will be accompanied by a detailed review of the CLC’s rules to ensure they reflect this approach. We intend to maintain our commitment to enhance transparency of our work which is why we intend to develop an enforcement policy later in the year. We also anticipate making enhancements to the qualification process to improve the portability of our qualifications which is increasingly important to students. 2010 is another challenging and exciting year ahead for us all. 7

CLC Chronicle

FILESHARE We are pleased to offer our congratulations to the 7 candidates who passed the first ever CLC Final Probate exam in September 2009.

We apologise that the names of some students who successfully completed their final examinations were omitted from the last edition.


Daniel Webb Amanda Weedon Leanne Wood Sarah Yemm

Jennifer Stokes Angela Thompson James Tong Nicola Tubbs


CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CPD) NEW LICENCES 8 licensed conveyancers have recently applied for a Managers licence enabling them to become a partner or a director.

Don’t forget once you qualify as a Licensed Conveyancer, you will be required to complete CPD


New Licences

Licence Holders (Employed) CPD hours


6 Licence Holders (Manager or SP) CPD hours



Licence Holders (Employed) CPD hours In addition, some 28 Probate licences have been issued since January 2009 with the following since the last edition of the Chronicle Probate Licences

MARIE HICKLEY ELIZABETH DUNKERLEY MICHAEL HIGGS ALLAN GARRICK Welcome to CLC, we wish you every success in your future careers. 8

2 Licence Holders (Manager or SP) CPD hours


WEBSITE / EMAIL ADDRESS The CLC’s website has been under review as part of our rebranding project and our new website will be launched very soon. Licensed conveyancers and students will be sent login information ahead of the launch. Please therefore ensure that you inform us immediately if your email details change (email :

CLC Chronicle


Application forms for June examinations will be available to all registered students in early February at Application forms for Saturday Revision Days on 8th & 15th May will be available from early February. Places will be issued a first come first, first served basis.


1st Deadline for entry to June examinations. Distance Learning – deadline for submission of assignments and past papers. 23rd Deadline for receipt of Saturday Revision Day applications.


8th and 15th Saturday Revision Days.


21st Final Accounts Examination Final Probate Examination 22nd Foundation Land Law Examination Final Coveyancing Law & Practice Examination 23rd Foundation Law of Contract Examination Final Landlord & Tennant Examination

Recommended Reading FOUNDATION INTRODUCTION TO LAW & LEGAL METHOD Supplementary text suggested to assist new law students:-


Studying Law by Simon Askey & Ian McLeod Published by palgrave macmillan (

NEW EDITION: ‘Conveyancing Forms & Procedures’ by Annette Goss, Lorraine Richardson & Michael Taylor (4th ed) (The Law Society)


CLC Chronicle


review As we are all too aware, the housing market continued to prove difficult during 2009; however, for many of us, we began to see pick up in the last six months of the year, as many began to take advantage of low prices, and where they could get it, lower interest rates. This recovery still appears very fragile and I cannot see it being sustained throughout 2010 unless responsible mortgage lending is restored, especially for first-time buyers. The end of the Stamp Duty holiday will affect first-time buyers in particular; loans to FTBs increased by 34% during 2009, which is largely attributable to the holiday. Although the NAEA is extremely disappointed at the Government’s decision to end the Stamp Duty holiday, mortgage lenders need to respond to this by offering attractive, but also responsible, mortgages for first-time buyers to access the property ladder. If this doesn’t happen, then activity in the housing market will begin to decline. NAEA statistics show that 22% of house purchases were from first-time buyers during October, and, as we all know, they are crucial to the overall health of the market. However, there was a significant drop to 19% in November. Mortgage lending has increased recently; in December, statistics from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed the highest level of lending for two years, which was most welcome. Our members have reported a surge in demand for property during the last couple of months, and we

CLC Chronicle

Recession or Recovery? In this quarter’s column, Peter Bolton King, the Chief Executive of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) discusses what the housing market can expect in 2010...

can only hope that these burgeoning signs of sustainable recovery will continue into 2010. Much will depend on the General Election, which is widely believed to be scheduled for May, and house hunters will adopt a “wait and see” approach towards home buying as they analyse what the various policy commitments will mean to them. For example, the Conservative Party has pledged to scrap home information packs if elected, and many buyers may wait to see if this occurs. It seems that the housing market, and the economy broadly, will remain in a state of flux until a new Government is formed. The NAEA believes that many aspects of the housing market are in need of an overhaul, and hopes that the main political parties address this in their election manifestos. Our main focus is on reforming Stamp Duty, which we believe is a tax on aspiration and manifestly unfair. The current “slab” structure creates distortions in the property market and is detrimental to the hopes of many Britons who want to take steps up the property ladder. We would like to see a move towards a “slice” structure, which, like other taxes, is linked to inflation. The NAEA has formed the “1808 coalition” along with several other industry bodies, calling for the reform of Stamp Duty, and we hope that this issue is seriously considered in the build-up to the General Election. Until we get the election out of the way, it is likely that the market will remain fairly flat, and indeed in some

areas, we might see a slight fall in prices. Following the spring election, we expect, in a number of areas, to see house prices continuing to gently rise, particularly if interest rates remain static throughout the year, which is a distinct possibility. Prices will also depend on whether the current shortage of supply of available property continues. There is a strong belief in the UK – and robust evidence to support the view – that bricks and mortar continues to be a solid investment, and house hunters are aware that house prices are likely to stay the same by the end of 2010. The outlook for estate agents is brighter now than it was at the start of 2009. At the beginning of the year, those within the industry were unsure of how many estate agents could survive, but there has been enough activity to keep businesses going throughout the year. 2009 was certainly a year of survival of the fittest and those able to offer a first class service are now starting to thrive. Later in 2010, the NAEA will launch a licensing scheme for its 10,000 members; enshrining the highest standards of professionalism and integrity within the industry. This follows on from the successful launch of licensing of members of ARLA, the Association of Residential Letting Agents, in May 2009. The NAEA is committed to best practice, the protection of consumers and the removal of unregulated agents from the industry. We look forward to introducing this scheme in the New Year.


CLC Chronicle

Land Registry Direct to close Land Registry Direct will be closing on 31 March 2010. The technology on which it is built will cease to be supported, meaning that services in Land Registry Direct cannot be developed further. The new home for our business e-services is the portal, which uses the most up-to-date online technology to provide you with enhanced services. Land Registry is encouraging its LRD customers to sign up if they haven’t done so already. If customers send in their appli-

cation forms by 15 February 2010, then they will avoid the risk of losing access to their business e-services. If you require additional services such as Network Access Agreements and Lender Services, these are optional and can be applied for at a later date. To start the registration process, please email your company name, contact name, phone number, postal address and email address to migrationsupportteam@landregistry. to request an application pack.

hronicle The Journal of The Council for Licensed Conveyancers

Advertise in the Spring 2010 edition of the Chronicle The next edition of the Chronicle will be published in April 2010. Display advertisement spaces are avilable in full page or half page only.

areer Recruitment advertising space will be available in our new recruitment section - career. For rates and any other information regarding display/recruitment advertising and editorial please contact Sam Moggan on


CLC Chronicle

Sarah Beeny writes on the property sector – as she sees it Despite the difficulties faced last year, the Christmas cheer really does seem to be working and the property market appears to be holding firm into the New Year. From what I can see from our website (www.tepilo. com) people are clearly really keen to sell and to buy. What is also interesting about this is that the lettings market – an area of service Tepilo recently launched - is just as busy and as buoyant as the selling market. This would tend to suggest to me that people are bored of simply sitting on their hands playing the waiting game. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t anticipate the market soaring again anytime soon - but then I can only hope that the days of soaring and crashing are behind us for a few years at least. I think (or at least hope) what we are now finding is the makings of some

firm and stable foundations producing a steady market for a while. However, I believe there are two potential rocky patches still ahead - interest rates and the forthcoming election. Sadly neither of these is inconsequential nationally and both will tend to rock the whole economy. But the signs are there that many people have had time to take stock and prepare for a few more bumps in the road. And whilst bankers are still getting a good bashing in the press (perhaps quite rightly so) they appear to have learnt a few lessons from the whole disaster and a similar banking crisis seems unlikely. I don’t think I am alone in feeling that the free and liberal lending that went on was largely responsible for the runaway market – we have of course been to the other extreme but even banks cannot hold back for ever. They have to lend or they make no money – so lend they will – albeit more cautiously than in previous years. Perhaps we should all be grateful for one thing and that is that Labour managed to outsource

interest rates to the Bank of England – for with a grown up eye watching over the interest rates and an elected Prime Minister on the horizon there is the tiniest possibility that 2010 might bring the opportunity for us to get out of this mess and offer us the chance to lick our wounds.


CLC Chronicle


The News Service of The Council for Licensed Conveyancers

News from the CLC Many thanks to those of you who emailed feedback on the Chronicle. “It makes you want to pick it up and get immersed in it, and I do like all the ‘human angle’ case studies.” “A great improvement on the previous version, with some good strong articles, so well done.” “I think you have the makings of an excellent magazine” In the last edition we updated you on our rebranding project and the changes ahead. I am pleased to report that we are putting the final touches to our new website as we go to press. We hope that all visitors will find the new website more accessible and user friendly. Licensed Conveyancers and Students will shortly receive an email with their login information to access specific parts of the site. Here’s a preview of the new look site…..


What do you think? We will shortly be inviting all those who are licensed by, or registered with, the CLC to participate in research about awareness of the services we provide. An independent company, Springboard Marketing will carry out this research in February, using a confidential online survey. Please participate, what you say will influence our future strategy. Further information will be emailed soon. …..your profession needs you! In October, we told you about the ‘case studies’ we have used as part of our Annual Report and at the end of the year we were delighted to be able to visit some more licensed conveyancers and students and we will be featuring their stories in future

editions of the Chronicle as well as on our new website. If you would like to be considered for future CLC case studies please email

Estate Agents We really appreciate comments from readers and, as advised in our last edition, we are now distributing the Chronicle to Estate Agents who use the DX service throughout England and Wales. We would particularly like to hear from estate agents with your thoughts on the Chronicle and suggestions for future articles. Please email

CLC Chronicle

Solicitor Transfer They say there is no better marketing than by personal recommendation. Recently a potential solicitor transfer informed us that they had been recommended by a licensed conveyancer to find out more about the CLC. More and more regularly we are receiving enquiries from solicitors who are exploring their regulatory options and, as featured by Toby Richmond in our Annual Report (view at there are some clear benefits of being regulated by the CLC. Potential transferees should visit for further information.

“The CLC’s whole outlook is to see that the public get the best possible service and I’m extremely proud to part of it and have seen the benefits of being regulated by it.” Toby Richmond, Director, Key Property Lawyers.

Awards Ceremony Victor Olowe was delighted to be invited back to Goldsmith Williams in Liverpool this year to award Licences to a further four of their employees. Pictured are from left to right.

Ann-Marie Wilson

Lynne McCaffrey

Victor Olowe

Lindsey Laverick

Dawn Stewart


Extremely fiendish

Average Local Authority turn around for an official property search through NLIS electronically is 4 days – nearly twice as fast as a hard copy return*

Don’t waste time and money. Make sure it’s electronic. Make sure it’s NLIS. Go to to find out more or email

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And n your ow NL sear ch is IS chea even per!

*Data supplied from September 2008 – August 2009

In the time it takes to work this out, your NLIS electronic search could have come back to you...

. . . . .

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2010 Winter Chronicle edition