Buying and selling Property in Ireland is SLOW!!

Apr 17, 2024

17th April, 2024

As a follow on to our blog of last week, the Law Society has issued a statement in response to the Legal Services Regulatory Authority (LSRA) report on conveyancing reform published, 11 April 2024, reiterating their call for “long overdue” reform of the conveyancing system for the benefit of consumers.

President of the Law Society, Barry MacCarthy, said, “Delays in buying and selling property are not only costly and frustrating to consumers, they are making the housing crisis worse. The Law Society has long advocated the need for reform of Ireland’s overly complex conveyancing system to bring about a more efficient and transparent process for consumers.

“This LSRA report highlights the need for significant systemic reform of conveyancing, which echoes the Law Society’s views that this reform is long overdue. This report is especially timely as the Law Society and Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland will soon publish a new guide to help consumers understand every step of the process involved in selling a house to speed up the sale.”

“In submissions and meetings with relevant government Departments in recent years, the Law Society has recommended that much-needed conveyancing reforms must be pursued with broader policy goals in mind, including reforms to promote efficiency in all transactions and overall movement towards e-Conveyancing.”

“The Law Society strongly advises an all-of-government approach to conveyancing reform to reduce delays for consumers. In submissions, the Law Society has recommended six necessary actions to assist government in their efforts to enhance efficiencies in the conveyancing process, including:

  1. Taking up title deeds: Adherence to the Certificate of Title system’s agreed terms and timelines by all banks and financial institutions operating in the Republic of Ireland.
  2. Planning reform: Creating the concept in law of an established non-conforming development.
  3. Roads and Services: Adoption by all Local Authorities of digitalised and standardised forms and reasonable fees as well as turnaround times for ‘in charge’ letters.
  4. Modernisation and Digitalisation: Modernisation and digitalisation in areas such as eSignatures, Statutory Declarations and Statements of Truth.
  5. Land Registry: Roll-out of a central document management system at the Land Registry.
  6. Property taxes: Review of the impact and delays caused by property taxes.”

Chair of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Committee, Eleanor McKiernan, said, “Changes to legislation are needed to facilitate new approaches like e-Signatures and e-Conveyancing but this will take time, which is why we are also looking at other areas such as planning law, the use of statements of truth, the removal of any barriers to the speedy release of title deeds and redemption figures, and a more uniform method of requesting letters regarding roads from local authorities.”

“To take planning law for instance, consideration should be given to reform planning law to allow for recognition of established non-conforming development to reduce delays for consumers that arise due to the need of a solicitor having to examine the planning history of a property dating back almost sixty years. This would save time and reduce uncertainty.”

“The Law Society is fully supportive of collaborative efforts to embrace the global trend towards e-Conveyancing. All documents should be readily available online from the relevant authority, and documentation should be accessible through a single portal.”

Increased transparency and accessibility of government authorities responsible for providing the necessary documentation for real property transactions would promote a frictionless property market, represent a net gain for the Irish economy, and could potentially help alleviate the current residential housing crisis.”

“Digitisation of the conveyancing system will help speed up and simplify the process for people who are buying or selling property and modernise the system to reflect today’s society. Technological advancements in the conveyancing process will take time, investment, and long-term commitment however, the benefit of increased reliance on digital technology to consumers is clear.”

“The Law Society will continue to work with government, the LSRA and other stakeholders towards our shared goal of improving the conveyancing process for consumers.”

Holland Condon – Kilkenny Solicitors.

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