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The acronym ‘CML’ tends to pop up throughout various processes in building, buying, and selling properties – but what does CML actually mean in construction and conveyancing?

These letters stand for ‘Council of Mortgage Lenders’, which was an industry body that represented mortgage lenders in the UK. Originally formed in 1989 from a merger of several mortgage lending associations, it was then merged with five other financial organisations in 2017 to form UK Finance.

This new trade organization took on the responsibilities of each of the integrated associations, representing around 300 different firms and covering areas such as banking and financial fraud in addition to credit, loans, and mortgages. 

Still got questions about CML?

Here’s a guide to what its replacement UK Finance does and what happened to CML Certificates and the CML Handbook

What does the CML/UK Finance do? 

When it was operational, the Council of Mortgage Lenders conducted research, gathered economic data and statistics, and provided information and advice relating to the housing market. Its aim was to support a positive lending environment and represent the interests of UK mortgage lenders.

It also published the CML Handbook, known as the Lenders’ Handbook, which supplied instructions for lenders or anyone acting on behalf of lenders in property transactions. This included guidance on CML Certificates, which are now known as Professional Consultants’ Certificates (PCCs).

Like the CML did, the newer UK Finance promotes a responsible lending and borrowing market. It acts as an impartial mediator to ensure things work effectively and fairly for both sides, which includes assisting homeowners and mortgage holders who struggle with regulatory changes. 

What happened to the CML Handbook?

The CML Handbook set out standard instructions from mortgage lenders to borrowers and their solicitors when managing conveyancing transactions for residential properties. It only applied to members of the CML and contained two parts.

After the CML was merged into UK Finance, this document became the UK Finance Mortgage Lenders’ Handbook instead. It outlines lending criteria for different mortgage lenders, which is crucial information for buyers, sellers, conveyancers, and real estate solicitors.

Part 1 of the book contains uniform requirements for all lenders, while Part 2 contains details that are specific to each lender regarding the provisions in Part 1. There is also a Part 3 in England and Wales, which specifies instructions for conveyancers representing lenders but not borrowers.

Since the CML and the CML Handbook changed names in 2017, any references to them since then are presumed to refer to UK Finance and the UK Finance Handbook.

Can you still get a CML certificate?

Lenders approved by UK Finance will typically only provide loans to buyers of recently built or converted properties if they are covered by a sufficient scheme to protect their investment.

One example is a CML Certificate, also formerly known as an Architects’ Certificate and now a Professional Consultants’ Certificate or PCC. This document confirms to the conveyancer and lender that the building work was sufficiently monitored and compliance with the appropriate building standards and plans was approved by a professional. 

It’s still possible to get these certificates as a faster and less expensive alternative to a Building Warranty, but it’s important to bear in mind that their coverage is not as comprehensive. 

A PCC will only last for 6 years, and one must prove the professional consultant’s negligence to successfully claim compensation for a building defect – though it’s also possible to switch to a Building Warranty before construction is completed or even afterwards. 

Architects Certificate provides both 6 Year PCCs and their industry-leading ABC+ Structural Warranties, so one can go to them whenever in need of one or the other. 

Simply check that your lender is on their approved list, then request a PCC quick quote online. If you need more information about their policies first, or want to take out a Building Warranty after having a PCC, please contact their team to discuss your requirements.