Policy brief

Frequently Asked Questions

BSA Mortgage Instructions

About the instructions

What are the BSA’s Mortgage Instructions?
The BSA’s Mortgage Instructions provide a full set of conveyancing instructions for conveyencers acting on behalf of BSA Members and their subsidiaries in residential conveyancing transactions. The Instructions come into full effect from 1 January 2010.

Who can use these instructions?
The instructions are being introduced on a voluntary basis. They can be used by any building society or other member of the BSA. The instructions can also be used by their lending subsidiaries.

Why has the BSA introduced its own instructions?
The BSA has introduced these instructions to ensure that all conveyancers instructed by building societies and their lending subsidiaries have full access to a complete set of standardised mortgage instructions.

How do I know if I should use the BSA’s Mortgage Instructions?
If the instructing lender is a building society, they will advise you in the mortgage offer whether you are instructed on the basis of the BSA Mortgage Instructions or some other basis. It is not mandatory for building societies to use this set of instructions.

A full list of lenders adopting the BSA Instructions can be viewed here

If you are in doubt, you are advised to check with the lender in question for confirmation of which instructions you ought to use.

How are these instructions different to other instructions?
The BSA Instructions are of the same standard as alternative conveyancing instructions. The BSA has been mindful of the need not to introduce new requirements that may result in confusion, and excessive or unnecessary changes to building societies’ or their conveyencer’s practical arrangements.

The BSA has, however, used this opportunity to streamline the instructions and make them easier to navigate. For example, the BSA Instructions use fewer headings making it a simpler framework to use.

How are the BSA Mortgage Instructions structured?
The BSA Mortgage Instructions comprise of two sections: a core set of mortgage instructions; and specific requirements setting out individual lenders’ policies.

What are building society’s ‘Specific Requirements’ (SRs)?
These are additional requirements above the standard main instructions and are set by individual building societies. Therefore, they may vary between individual societies. You are able to see what SRs a building society has in place by selecting them from the menu on the BSA website.

Are all parts of the UK covered by the instructions?
The BSA has prepared separate instructions to cover the following regions:

  • England and Wales
  • Scotland
  • Northern Ireland

How can I access the instructions?

You can access the BSA instructions online from the BSA website. You do not need to be a BSA member or register on the website to view the instructions. The instructions are not available in printed format.

From when do these instructions come into effect?
The instructions come into full effect from 1 January 2010.

Who do I contact if I have a query about the instructions?
If you are a conveyancer and have a query about the instructions, you should contact your instructing building society. The BSA will not be able to advise or comment on specific queries relating to individual building societies and their lending practices.

Conveyancing Related Questions

How does the introduction of early completion by the Land Registry affect the use of the instructions in England and Wales?
We have considered the impact of the Land Registry bringing in early completion and do not feel that the change requires any significant amendment to the instructions. This is because early completion does not affect the overall process for buying and selling a home – though it may impact the sequence in which some events happen.

The changes will not alter the requirements set out in paragraph E.27 of the instructions which require the conveyancer to register the mortgage as a first legal charge at the Land Registry.

The Land Registry has confirmed that “completing the applications to register the transfer and new charge subject to the existing charge would not appear to affect the obligations of any party in relation to that existing charge.

Early completion will not prevent the new charge taking effect as a first legal charge; it can never become a first charge until the existing charge is discharged. This is so whether or not the new charge is entered in the register. The entry of the new charge under early completion simply protects the priority of that new charge as against any other interest whose priority is not protected at the time of registration.”

More information on this can be found on the Land Registry's website.

Who do building societies include on their Conveyancing Panels?
Most lenders, including most building societies, operate a conveyancing panel for solicitors and other conveyancers that the lender will instruct. Conditions for inclusion on the panels vary from lender-to-lender.

An institutional lender, such as a building society, is a client and is entitled to instruct the solicitor or conveyancer of its choosing (who, in turn, is free to accept or refuse instructions). Therefore, if lender and borrower cannot agree which solicitor or conveyancer should represent them jointly, they would usually proceed on a separate representation basis – neither is obliged to instruct the other's choice.

How can I join a building society’s conveyancing panel?
The BSA has no role in influencing what conveyancers a building society instructs. If you want to be admitted onto a lender's conveyancing panel you should contact the building society directly.

What can I do if the redemption statement is incorrect?
If you have been provided a redemption statement that has either been completed incorrectly or is incomplete you should raise this with the lender that has provided it to you.