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Land Registry announces first mandatory digital channel

By Michael Cross >>

(9 November 2021)

Conveyancers making changes to existing titles will have to go fully digital from next autumn, HM Land Registry revealed this morning. ‘From November 2022 we will no longer accept scanned or PDF copies of AP1s for changes to existing titles via the HM Land Registry portal,’ the registry announced. This is the first time the agency has made a digital channel mandatory. 

Currently fewer than 10% of title change applications go through the online digital registration service, which has been running in ‘live test’ mode since April. In a blog today, Simon Hayes, chief executive and chief land registrar, described digital applications as ‘game changing’. 

‘A digital application process, based on data rather than traditional paper-based methods, is fundamental to transforming the way we register land and ultimately will play a vital role in improving the end-to-end conveyancing journey,’ he said. ‘Not only does it offer the immediate benefits of quicker processing times and fewer errors, but it opens the opportunity for further innovation in the future.’

Experience since the launch of digital applications shows that requisitions on basic errors are down 25%, and applications are processed and completed in half the time, he said. 

‘Ultimately, we will all benefit from a more efficient, and easy to use registration process. In the short-term we need to work together to overcome the hurdles that inevitably come with change.’  

Conceding that there ‘is still work to do to make this transition a smooth one’, Hayes said that the registry would welcome feedback from practitioners. 

HM Land Registry stressed that no date has been set for forcing new title registrations through the digital channel. Asked if it was high-risk to mandate a system still in the testing phase, a spokesperson said ‘that’s why we’re giving everyone a year to prepare’.

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)