A working party of property professionals is being set up to look at whether and how property logbooks could help speed up transactions and deter fall-throughs.
The Home Buying & Selling Group - involving representatives from the agency, legal and finance sectors, and feeding ideas through to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government - is setting up the working party to see how logbooks could be integrated into other online processes being developed by the industry.
Four property logbook companies, who were already HBSG participants, are involved in the working party - Chimni, Etive, PIP and the National Deeds Depository.
The working party chairman Nigel Walley, who is managing director of Chimni, says: “Property records are increasingly being digitised which is a great opportunity to improve access and sharing of information. However, data is still highly fragmented and unevenly distributed, with no standardised way of sharing electronically or ensuring continuity of data between property transactions. We believe residential logbooks can deliver this.”
The working party is to consider data standards, security and integration with systems being built by other parts of the industry.
The work dovetails with other HSBG projects including one led by the Conveyancing Association to push forward the new Buying and Selling Property Information form, or BASPI, as well as working being led by National Trading Standards on data distributed by portals and agents.
The HBSG has been working to shorten transaction times, and improve transparency in residential property. They view logbooks as a key component of this as property data is increasingly digitised.
“Prior to lockdown transaction times could be as much as 20 weeks after an offer had been accepted and the risk of a transaction falling through was around 34 per cent … We know that instructing a property lawyer on listing and providing all information upfront results in average transaction times of just six to eight weeks in other parts of the UK" says the Conveyancing Association’s Beth Rudolf.
“Making Property Logbooks the norm will make it incredibly straight forward for home owners to collate and update information during their ownership. Property Logbooks must be regulated to avoid the same issues which we had at the beginning of the century with searches which was eradicated by the regulation brought in via the Search Code.”
The four logbook companies are currently conducting an industry wide consultation with HBSG members including HM Land Registry, the Law Society, NAEA Propertymark and the Conveyancing Association.