HM Land Registry has taken another step towards its aim to “make conveyancing simpler, faster and cheaper” for the general public.
The Registry has embarked on a serious of digitisation programmes in recent months, while at the same time being critical of other elements of the conveyancing process - notably the quality of requests and information it receives from conveyancers themselves.
Now it has revealed that it is to begin working with 26 local authorities in England to migrate their local search information online - formally called Local Land Charges - in a programme which the Registry says “will launch later this year and benefit up to 125,000 homebuyers in 2018 to 2019.”
The Registry says the new digital register will eliminate regional variations in the speed, format and costs of searches; critically, online search results will be available instantly in a range of formats to suit the customer.
Currently, each local authority maintains an LLC register for its administrative area and the records are held in a variety of formats such as paper, electronic and digital. Prices vary considerably, ranging from £3 to £76, and it can take up to 30 days to deliver the search results.
The Registry admits this has led to an inconsistent service for customers depending on their postcode.
The authorities working with the Registry include Blackpool council, the City of London Corporation, East Lindsey district council, the Isles of Scilly, Liverpool city council, Lambeth in south London, plus the councils of Norwich, Peterborough, Sefton, St Helens and Warwick.
“People expect to be able to access government information online quickly and easily, and for a reasonable fee. A national Local Land Charges service will achieve that” explains HM Land Registry chief executive and chief land registrar Graham Farrant.
“This is a significant step forward in the government’s ambition to make the house-buying process simpler, faster and cheaper” he adds.
The Registry says it will keep its customers - primarily conveyancers - up to date when each local authority’s records are migrated to the new digital register.
The organisation calculates there are 25m records held across England.
In its statement announcing this latest digitisation, the Registry says its ambition is “to become the world’s leading land registry for speed, simplicity and an open approach to data.”