HM Land Registry says the full roll-out of its Local Land Charges digital register could take up to seven years, with the final decision on timings down to government ministers.
The programme of migrating LLC data from individual councils to the Registry started in July when Warwick became the first area on board - from that time onwards, anyone requiring LLC searches had to contact the Registry, not the local authority.
Then earlier this month Liverpool became the second council area to take part, and the Registry has now identified the City of London corporation as the next to pilot the project - it will be part of the national digital register from October 8.
However, in a document released on the Gov.UK government website yesterday, the Land Registry says: “Phase 1 of the new service will be rolled out over the next few months with up to 26 local authorities’ local land charges registers transferred to HM Land Registry by March 2019. The timing of future phases has not been decided yet and will be subject to decisions by Ministers. Because of the scale and complexity of the service change … this data migration could take up to seven years.”
The Registry claims the first phase of activity will benefit 125,000 buyers and, after later phases, all 326 local authorities currently holding local land charges information will have their data available digitally.
This should dramatically cut the time it takes for conveyancers to retrieve the appropriate information during a property transaction, and statements over the past year closely linked the LLC digital roll-out to the government’s long-stated ambition to modernise and simplify the house-moving process.
Until now, referring to local councils for LLC information has been a mixed blessing with costs varying from £3 to £76 and results coming in some cases in days, and in other cases only after several weeks.
You can see the Lan Registry’s latest guidance note on the roll-out here.