Land Registry and the Next 5 years

What’s the Land Registry’s vision for conveyancing over the coming months and years? We take a brief look at how its Business Strategy, now in its second year, is unfolding in practice; as well as important guidance on name discrepancies.

HM Land Registry’s Business Strategy

When its Business Strategy 2017-2022 was first published, HM Land Registry stated its commitment to becoming “the world’s leading land registry for speed, simplicity and an open approach to data”, maximising the accessibility and re-use of its data. Data quality and quality assurance is a central theme of the Strategy, with Land Registry planning new multi-channel customer support centres and

setting out plans to automate the most straightforward updates and aspects of complex processes where possible. However, it also conceded that automation needs improved and digitised internal processes and systems.

Land Registry’s stated goal for the first year (2017/2018) included “completing registration of all dealing applications within five days and all new title applications within 25 days”. So where it at now? In October 2018, Andrew Robertson, head of customer policy and service performance at Land Registry said that “43% of the more complex applications (first registrations, new leases and transfers of part) are now being completed within 25 days. The average time taken to process these is now 49 working days”. He accepted that is still too long (though a significant improvement) – and they are “working hard” to further reduce processing times.

In its Strategy, Land Registry also committed to improving the speed of service through automation, and a positive step has been taken with its announcement in October 2018 of a partnership with a software company (Methods). The aim is to explore the potential of blockchain technology to help the development of a faster, simpler and cheaper land registration process. This will be done through the Land Registry’s Digital Street research and development project which is also part of its Business Strategy).

As for the progress of digital land registration, the changes to the Land Registration Rules which will further enable this are in force. A key consequence is the gradual roll out of the new digital Local Land Charges Register, and the first digital mortgage in the UK was registered in April 2018. Land Registry has also stated its intention to complete the first fully digital transfer of a property in 2019.

Guidance on Name Discrepancies

Discrepancies in the spelling of names of property owners and buyers, as well as name changes and variations between title documents and other legal documents, can be a headache both for conveyancers and Land Registry.

Useful guidance, Practice guide 68: amending deeds that effect dispositions of registered land, has been issued setting out the correct procedure where corrective action is necessary. The guidance explains the potential problems that may arise with name discrepancies and variation; the implications for registration; and how deeds can be amended – though this depends on when the discrepancy is spotted. It provides useful examples of where the issue can arise and the practical impacts.

Conveyancers would benefit from reading the Practice guide in full .

 

 

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