Paperless property: Land Registry moves towards digital deeds

Paper deeds could become a thing of the past after the government has approved a change in legislation to allow the Land Registry to offer fully digital conveyancing in property transactions across the UK.

From 6 April this year, existing rules will be adapted enabling the modernisation of the current land registration system – with changes being made to Land Registration Rules 2003, Land Registration (Electronic Conveyancing) Rules 2008 and the Land Registration (Proper Office) Order 2013.

Conveyancing documents, including mortgages and transfers, for example, will be set to become fully digital after the changes, with e-signatures, progressing towards a paperless system which should make the whole process faster, easier and more secure.

A much-needed update

Graham Farrant, chief land registrar, said: “Our customers are central to everything we do and we want to make dealing with us quicker and simpler by providing more services through digital technology. These changes are an important enabler for our digital transformation and I want to thank our customers for their positive responses to the consultation.”

The move has been welcomed by many in the industry as a way of speeding up and simplifying what can be a stressful and drawn-out process when buying and selling property in the UK.

Eddie Goldsmith, chairman of the Conveyancing Association, believes the Land Registry’s progress towards digitisation has major ramifications for property stakeholders.

He commented: “It also, to my mind, signals the next stage in the move towards a much more fit-for-purpose property purchasing process. I’ve been quoted many times before in saying that the current system is not fit for purpose, and luckily there are enough people in positions of power who seem to agree, and are committed to moving us all into the 21st century.”

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