The government has given its support to Land Registry proposals to increase the digitalisation of its services, with changes coming into effect as soon as April 6 this year.
This will ultimately involve fully digitising conveyancing documents with e-signatures and what the Registry calls additional proposals to “make conveyancing simpler, faster and cheaper while enhancing the integrity and security of the register against threats from cyber-attacks and digital fraud.”
A statement from the organisation says: “The changes will benefit customers by allowing HM Land Registry to build new and more flexible statutory services that have been called for by the industry, and other electronic services will improve the assistance offered to them throughout the application process. HM Land Registry will be contacting customers in the coming weeks to explain any changes that will affect the way they submit applications, though these are expected to be minimal, and will only affect a small number of customers.”
At the end of last year and over the Christmas break the Registry revealed details of its five year strategy to increase digitalisation - and backed it up with a league table of conveyancing firms that it suggested was creating additional work and delay by submitting insufficient or inaccurate information.
The Registry’s strategy involves a target to digitise and automate 95 per cent of its daily transactions by 2022 - up from 81 per cent according to the latest 2016 figures.
“We will do this by focusing on automating the most straightforward updates and aspects of the complex processes where possible and beneficial. This will save experienced caseworkers from needless copy typing, data entry and repeat administrative work, freeing them to focus on exercising expert judgement on registration applications” says the Registry.
The Registry says that the increasing availability of online property information services and digital changes to how estate agencies operate has prompted it to respond with “a consistently high quality multi-channel experience” - in other words, providing faster and better information to help speed up and simplify residential transactions.
“Over the five-year strategy we will find more ways to make it straightforward for conveyancers to submit applications to HM Land Registry, and will explore with the industry how we might reduce the need to delay applications as we seek further information, known as requisitions” the organisation says in its new strategy document.
The Land Registry handles around 20,000 applications to change the register each day: 18,000 are straightforward and 2,000 are more complex. “In addition, we process approximately 100,000 register query requests and searches every day, most of which are already automated” it says.