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The Land Registry says it is to become the sole registering authority for Local Land Charges in England and Wales - but this has triggered an aggressive response from the trade body the Council of Property Search Organisations.

Currently, local land charges are maintained and delivered by each of the 348 English and Welsh local authorities. Fees vary between £3 and £96, with a predicted turnaround time of between one and 42 days.

More than a million local land charge searches are undertaken annually by conveyancers as part of residential and commercial property transactions and remortgages.

But the Land Registry says it is to become the sole authority for local land charges, with the move taking place gradually after the Infrastructure Bill completes its passage through Parliament by March 2015, just ahead of the general election.

However, CoPSA now says the Land Registry is showing disrespect to its customers and other professionals in the search sector.

This flies in the face of the negative responses by all major stakeholders to consultation on this issue. The Land Registry have taken the extraordinary step of proceeding with the legislative process before they even published the results of the consultation claims CoPSA chairman James Sherwood-Rogers.

CoPSA criticises what it describes as the utter disregard and disdain shown by the Registry and in particular its chief executive, Ed Lester.

The Registry says changes mean there will be only one standardised digital service, in theory meaning easier access to property information and a simpler conveyancing process. The change has come in as part of the government's Digital By Default programme to put as many official processes as possible online.


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