Search Company Suspended From Industry-wide Code
The Property Codes Compliance Board (PCCB) has announced that London based Legal & More Limited has been suspended from the Search Code, after failing to meet the required standards set out by the Code. The company, which failed to meet the Board’s compliance requirements, has been removed from the PCCB register with immediate effect.
The Search Code acts as a mark of quality, allowing all those that rely on the information provided in property search reports to be confident in both the service and the information they receive from Code subscribers. As such, all subscribers are required to adhere to a strict set of standards, enforced by the PCCB.
Legal & More Limited was been found to be in breach of the standards set out by the Search Code. The company failed to provide the documentation required by the PCCB as part of a planned compliance inspection and as a result, the PCCB imposed an immediate suspension. As no appeal against the decision was received, the company’s details have been removed from the PCCB register, and as such it can no-longer benefit from the mark of quality associated with Code subscribers.
Only earlier this week, the Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO), which owns and maintains the Code, and the PCCB, which monitors and enforces the Code, announced a series of changes to the Search Code and the way in which it is enforced within the UK. These changes provide enhanced protection for both consumers and property professionals.
Andrew McIlwraith, Chairman of the PCCB, said: "Registration with the PCCB as a subscriber to the Search Code is the gold standard for property search providers. It is imperative that conveyancers, lenders and the public can have every confidence that our registration and compliance procedures are robust and provide an effective and meaningful guarantee of quality and standards. The PCCB expects all subscriber firms to comply fully with the Code and the PCCB Registration Rules. Where subscriber firms fail to comply with the requirements, including the requirement to co-operate and assist the carrying out of PCCB’s compliance activities, we will not hesitate to act."
James Sherwood-Rogers, Chairman of CoPSO, adds: "The PCCB had no choice but to suspend Legal and More Limited. While breaches of the Code are a very rare occurrence, maintaining high standards among all subscribers is paramount, if an organisation fails to comply with the rules and standards set out in the Code, then swift action must be taken."
The Search Code provides protection for homebuyers, sellers, estate agents, conveyancers and mortgage lenders who rely on the information included in property search reports undertaken by subscribers. The Code sets out minimum standards which organisations compiling and selling search reports have to meet. All subscribers to the Code are listed on a register of subscribing firms, maintained by the PCCB and all display the trusted Search Code logo prominently on all search reports they produce.
Notes to Editors
About the Property Codes Compliance Board (PCCB)
Formed in 2006, the Property Codes Compliance Board (PCCB) is an independent compliance body. Its primary role is to maintain a register of firms that choose to subscribe to the Search Code of Practice and to independently monitor their compliance with the Code. Subscription to the Code is not mandatory but the vast majority of search products in the market are produced by Code subscribers. PCCB is a not for profit organisation with a public interest majority on its Board and is funded entirely from the subscription fees paid by registered firms.
About The Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO)
The Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO) is the major trade association for the property search industry. Members provide a broad range of property search reports including local, environmental, mining, chancel repair, drainage and water data and undertake over 2 million searches each year.
The membership includes water companies, environmental search providers, organisations offering local searches and the National Land information Service (NLIS) channels. Today, CoPSO members produce 80% (by volume) of all searches produced in the market.
The Search Code
The Search Code provides protection for homebuyers, sellers, estate agents, conveyancers and mortgage lenders who rely on the information included in property search reports undertaken by subscribers. The Code sets out minimum standards which organisations compiling and selling search reports have to meet.
Organisations providing property search reports can subscribe to the Search Code as either a retailer or a compiler. The Property Codes Compliance Board maintains a register of all subscribing firms. You can check whether a search firm subscribes to the Code by searching the Register or by looking for the Search Code logo on their products.
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