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The Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) recently published a Consultation Document: - The Introduction of a Land Registry Service Delivery Company'.

To the surprise of many, it suggests that the Land Registry should cease to be a public department of government, proposing to create a new company to undertake the registration of title to land and all associated legal interests.

Changing the status of the Land Registry is likely to have far reaching consequences for those involved in the conveyancing and home moving process (pretty much everyone at some point), and there could be a transition stage toward full privatisation.

Those who buy, lend or have other dealings in land must have just one trusted source of guaranteed and authoritative information backed by indemnity. It can have no competitor. The Land Registry has been described as the one sure place' in the sometime complex, contentious and competitive world of property rights and property transfer. Land Registration is in no way a commercial operation'.

On every transaction, the Registry is responsible for ensuring that conveyances, transfers, mortgages etc, are properly executed and legally effective. The Registry's staff must verify that an owner has the power to sell and that the transaction is made having regard to any prior claims by third parties affecting the property. This constant curative process ensures, before the legal estate passes, that the interests of all parties affected by the registration are properly considered and that any necessary notices have been served on those entitled to receive them. Quite apart from ensuring that any legitimate interests are protected, the Registry is able to resolve potential problems, disputes or ambiguities at an early stage helping to avoid dispute and litigation. Impartiality and complete trust and confidence in the process are crucial to this function.

Land registration provides essential security for owners, lenders and prospective purchasers, and for those with actual or claimed third party interests. Confidence in land and property as the ultimate source of wealth and welfare in society depends on a land registration system administered with integrity, commercial neutrality and free from any conflict of interest. This is not an activity that can be undertaken by a private company.

*Please note that parts of the above article have been taken from a response document written by John Manthorpe, CB, HonRICS, CCMI, the former Chief Land Registrar, and Chief Executive of HM Land Registry 1985-96, International Consultant on land registration systems 1996-2007.

**If you have any questions or would like a copy of John's full response, please email Rob at: rh@boldgroup.co.uk.

***If, as an estate agent and/or homeowner, you are concerned about these issues, please visit: https://www.savethelandregistry.co.uk/ and at the very least, sign the E-petition.


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