The conveyancing process has evolved over the years and one of the major things to change is how the solicitor identifies who their client is - commonly known as Know Your Client (KYC). Prior to email and the web, it used to be that your local solicitor handled all of your legal affairs, knew you in person and would need to see you during the conveyancing process. Nowadays the age of the one stop shop local solicitors has fallen away allowing for specialists in specific areas of law – conveyancing is at the front of this movement.
Conveyancing clients are now choosing to no longer work with their local solicitors choosing instead to work with solicitors further afield based on price, experience and recommendation. This has meant that solicitors have had to adapt to this shift and now have in place procedures to identify clients for whom they will never see face to face. Luckily with new technology and move to working online, verifying who your client is has been made simpler, however it is important to know what your solicitor will need as solicitors have different procedures to satisfy they know who their client is - read on to find out what you are likely to need to prove your ID.
Why is the ID process so important?
The law requires solicitors as well as banks, building societies and mortgage brokers, to obtain satisfactory evidence of the identity of their clients to meet with Money Laundering Regulations.
The risk of fraud is high when buying a home as large sums of money are transferred between third parties who have never met. The key concern for the solicitor is to know who their client is and where their money has come from. You can read more about - How to prove the source of your funds.
With over £3 billion in mortgage fraud last year, the challenge is clear. Especially when the individual solicitor firm is liable for getting their ID wrong in the event of a fraud claim. This is why each solicitor firm has its own ID procedure – and some are more risk averse than others!
What ID might your solicitor need?
Some solicitors will require original or certified copies of documents to be sent in the post for the photo identification, others will use photocopies and then use an online identification checker. The most common forms of photo ID are:
New driving licence with photo (not the paper version)
Current passport (not an out of date one)
If you use the online verification process then a fee is normally charged for doing this. Our fee is £8 INC VAT, however when thinking about the cost to send your original passport special delivery, or the chance for these being lost, most clients are using the online verification process to simplify the process.
Proof of Home Address
Your solicitor will need to see 2 separate pieces of evidence to prove you reside at the address you are living at. This is normally your main residence where you are registered on the electoral roll. The most common pieces of evidence to prove your home address are:
New driving licence with photo or the paper version (if you use the photo driving licence for your photo ID then you can't use it for your proof of address and will need to provide 2 other forms)
Gas, water, electricity bill (no older than within the last 12 months)
Bank statement including your home address (online download is suitable)
How do solicitors do an online ID check?
This is the more forward thinking ID checking service where solicitors obtain photocopy evidence of your ID and then check this via an online database. You'll need to provide your passport number, national insurance number, your full name and your current home address - remember you current home address is where you are registered on the electoral roll. The online ID check reviews your name linked to the address you live at. If this passes then your solicitor should be satisfied however if it fails you should expect to have to provide original documents or even have to visit your solicitor at their office. You are likely to fail if:
You haven’t lived in your current address for longer than a year
You aren’t on the electoral role
You don’t pay UK tax
You live overseas
The online ID check normally has a charge
– our solicitors charge £8 Inc VAT per name checked however with other solicitors this can vary so remember to ask at the point you get your quote.
When can you not use an online ID check?
You cannot use the online ID checking service if you are not resident of England & Wales. If you live outside England and Wales, then you'll need to either provide original evidence of your photo ID or you can get the original documents copied and certified by a solicitor or local notary.
When is a face to face meeting required?
This is the ‘old school’ verification process and the one that offers the most amount of reassurance to the solicitor. If they meet you in person then your solicitor can check your ID there and then. For most this is achievable as the distance to drive to get to their solicitors makes it hard. If you are instructing a solicitors' firm that isn’t near you, which is common practice nowadays, make sure they provide an ID checking service that doesn’t force you to visit your solicitors’ office.
Getting your ID verified at the earliest point is a requirement of your solicitors as they can’t start acting for you until they know who you are
. Our advice is to get your ID ready and make sure you ask the question upfront about which ID procedure is acceptable. We provide the simplest process for ID checking through the online ID check to support our clients and save them time.
If you need help with your ID or have a question then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org