A conveyancer is a type of specialist lawyer who makes it his or her business to handle conveyancing or any legal matters relating to selling and buying real property, including drawing up deeds of conveyance.
The conveyancer’s role is one recognised in majority of Commonwealth nations. It is possible for a conveyancer to also be a fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives, a licensed conveyancer, or a solicitor, but does not necessarily have to be any of those. Conveyancers are typically found to serve as brokers for the seller. They are also found to serve as brokers for loans on real estate.
A conveyancer may offer a variety of services including wills, probate, and residential conveyancing. He or she would typically perform duties such as conducting the settlement process, preparing the documentation, providing information and advising their client on the sale of a piece of real estate. Other than the primary reason of selling or buying a property, consumers would normally call on a conveyancer when they need land to be subdivided, need to remove, change, or register an easement, and when they need to update a title or register a death.
When a conveyancer acts on behalf of a seller, he or she will represent the client and respond to buyer requests, which may include title questions, requests to extend dates, and so on. The conveyancer will also complete all legal documents and make sure they are sorted.
When a conveyancer acts on behalf of the buyer, they will represent the client’s interest with the seller or the seller’s agent. They will handle settlement of the property by reaching out to the buyer’s bank once payments have been finalised, advising the buyer upon settlement of the property and acting on the buyer’s behalf during this time. The conveyancer will also calculate the adjustment of taxes and rates, have the deposit money put in a trust account, conduct research into the property and its title, as well as lodge, clarify, and prepare all legal documents including memorandum of transfer and contract of sale.
Typically, a lawyer has always been needed to act on behalf of the buyer or the seller in the exchange of property between both parties. Solicitors were once the only ones who could be used when it came to real estate transactions, but the monopoly ended in 1987 when Parliament introduced Licensed Conveyancers. Many consumers now choose to use a conveyancer over a solicitor to handle their property transactions. Licensed Conveyancers have been given the needed training to handle all areas of property law, with the end goal of making property transactions a smooth undertaking for the client.
In the UK, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, often simply called the CLC is the official body responsible for regulating the country’s conveyancers. The body was created in 1985 by the Administration of Justice Act and charged with the responsibility of maintaining consistent professionalism standards among licenced conveyancers. Thus, its primary function is to set the standards for entry and provide effective regulation of the line of work of licensed conveyers. This it does in a bid to provide consumers with choices, promote healthy competition in the legal services niche, and adequately protect consumers. Regulation serves to curb double dealing, exaction for hidden charges, and false representation, among others.
For a conveyancer in Kenya to be able to practise, they must hold a certificate confirming their eligibility to practise and must be an admitted advocate. If a conveyancer goes on to undertake a transaction on behalf of a client while not in possession of said certification, that transaction will be rendered null and void. The client is obliged to confirm with Kenya’s law society that his or her conveyancer holds a valid practising certificate.
England and Wales
In England and Wales, the CLC regulates the profession and conduct of licenced conveyancers, who are equally under scrutiny from the Authorised Conveyancing Practitioners Board. The CLC provides practical training and examinations which must be completed before anyone can become a licenced conveyancer. Additional requirements include a minimum age of 21 years and being deemed fit to hold the license to practise by the CLC. Another way to obtain a license is to apply for a full license after having been employed for a minimum of three years, and having held three annual licences consecutively.