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My solicitor has been slow dealing with my flat – can I switch?

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Q I’m buying a flat and my solicitor has really been dragging his heels. If the sellers put the flat back on the market, can I ask for the work my solicitor has done to be forwarded to another solicitor? I may not have another solicitor in place by this time. MR

A If your sellers intend to put their flat back on the market because they no longer want to sell it to you, there is no point asking for the work your solicitor has done to be forwarded to another solicitor because your purchase is not going ahead.

If, however, your sellers are still willing to sell the flat to you, you could attempt to speed up the conveyancing process by switching to a different solicitor.

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The sooner you make the switch, the better, although it is generally considered inadvisable – and not worth the bother – to change conveyancing lawyers once you have exchanged contracts as this means a date for the completion of your purchase will be set.

If you do wish to switch, find a new solicitor by asking friends, family and colleagues for recommendations, pay your current one for the work they have done for you so far and ask them to forward any papers and money (if applicable) to your new solicitor.

It would also be a good idea to check that your mortgage lender is happy for you to change solicitors, and it might not be if you were offered free legal fees as part of your mortgage deal and are obliged to use a conveyancer nominated by your lender.

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