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Conveyancer checklist to reduce lease application errors

By Monidipa Fouzder >>

(30 August 2022)

A ‘complex and often misunderstood’ area of land registration is causing HM Land Registry to raise an average of 138 requests for further information a day, the agency has revealed.

Leases are deemed to be surrendered and a new one created when a landlord and tenant want to make changes to the lease that simply cannot be extended by deed – such as adding or removing land, or extending or reducing the term.

Land Registry revealed it had to raise at least one so-called ‘requisition’ for 70% of the 35,000 surrender and regrant applications received in the 2021-22 financial year.

‘Requisition’ refers to enquiries made by Land Registry because information or evidence is missing or incorrect, so the application cannot be processed. In 2021-22, Land Registry issued 984,361 requisitions letters. The agency pointed out that each letter will often contain multiple points.

Richard Connolly, process lead, said Land Registry recognised that surrender and regrant ‘can be a complex and often misunderstood area of land registration’.

Applications are often lodged incorrectly as an update to an existing register, he said. ‘As they are surrender and regrants, in each case we create a new register, which means applications must be submitted as a dispositionary first lease by choosing “Lease Extension” in the portal.’

Land Registry has created a checklist addressing four areas that give rise to the most requisitions: application form AP1, prescribed clauses, documents lodged or missing, and incumbrances on the landlord’s title.

Connolly said: ‘We anticipate that, in most cases, a simple checklist will help eliminate many such errors and omissions, speeding up the registration process to provide a more efficient, consistent and accurate service for all of our customers. We believe doing what we can to improve the quality of applications will help us achieve these aims while better protecting the integrity of the register.’

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)