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Letter: why discharge a discount standard security?

10 Jul 19

Any insistence on such should be resisted in client's interest

by Rob Wardropper

I have been a conveyancing paralegal for over 25 years and have just completed the four year LLB (Hons). I have now returned to employment as a paralegal whilst undertaking the Diploma part-time with McLean & Stewart, solicitors, Dunblane.

I came across a letter today from a local authority in terms which I have never seen in all my years of experience. The letter advised that the client’s discount standard security had expired (the three year discount period having ended) and that the local authority would grant a discharge of this for a fee of £100. I must admit I was extremely surprised by this, as such discount securities simply expire after three years, there being no requirement to discharge these. Indeed, the Keeper simply removes them on the next application for registration.

I wondered if there had been a change that I had missed, and carried out research but could find nothing on the subject. I contacted the Registers who confirmed my understanding was correct. With this in mind I then contacted the local authority and discussed the matter with a solicitor. They also confirmed to me that my understanding was indeed correct, but that they had had several instances from certain large volume conveyancing firms insisting on a discharge of an expired discount standard security! The council was, therefore, simply issuing a letter when all discount securities ended in terms of the one I received.

Forgive me if I am not seeing the correct picture, but I do not see how anyone acting in the client’s best interests can ask a client to not only pay the local authority £100, but fees to the firm acting and also registration dues for the preparation/registration of such a deed when it is entirely unnecessary. This does seem to be verging on unprofessional practice and I wonder if this is due to a lack of training or knowledge of the particular circumstances surrounding discount securities. From the point of view of a client, they would surely be unhappy to discover that they had paid sums for something that was entirely unnecessary, and opens the door to the possibility of complaints.

Rob Wardropper


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