Caroline Durkin, Head of Conveyancing at Milners solicitors in Harrogate
Caroline Durkin, Head of Conveyancing at Milners solicitors in Harrogate

Harrogate Lawyers back proposals to streamline the moving process for homebuyers

Plans to speed up and simplify the way Harrogate homebuyers move home have been welcomed by one of the town’s lawyers..

As the district’s property sector prepares for what is traditionally the busiest time of the year, the Conveyancing Association has called for new initiatives to streamline the complex process – as well as safeguard against fraud.

It is a move that has the support of Caroline Durkin, Head of Conveyancing at Milners solicitors in Harrogate, as a way of giving homebuyers a more positive experience and reducing the risk of the whole buying-and-selling chain beaking down.

She believes the proposed creation of an E-Home Report – a log book that captures a wide range of information about a property before it is marketed – would be a real asset.

It would stop the duplication of information, save costs, and eliminate any risk of forged documents. And it would be particularly beneficial for homebuyers moving into higher-than-average number of leasehold properties in parts of Harrogate and District – especially new-build flats.


Caroline said: We have to guard against this simply being a throwback to the ill-fated Home Information Packs (HIPs). These failed because they caused delays to transactions and unnecessary costs to the vendor – with no real advantage to the purchaser.

If done correctly, they have the potential to help massively with leasehold properties. Many clients are not aware of what costs are involved in purchasing a leasehold property – nor the future costs of rent and service change – until they are mid-way through the transaction.

Information regarding the tenants’ responsibilities, service charge and ground rent are often identified too late in the process, when the purchasers have already spent money obtaining mortgages for example.

Vendors have also spent their monies on surveys and searches as well.

The remaining length of the lease is generally not identified until after contracts have been issued.

In leases where the term is not sufficient for lender purposes, and the far-reaching implications of this are then discussed to the purchaser by his or her solicitor, the purchaser may walk away from the transaction and the chain collapses.

It would be great to see more lease details in the log book – this would create a stronger chain at the outset.


Milners, which is accredited by the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme to promote best practice, is volunteering to take part in any research or pilot projects to help shape the proposed changes before they become reality.

Other initiatives being proposed include the development of biometric ID verification and sending completion monies the day before completion to make moving home easier for clients on the day of completion.


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