New Digital Developments for Land Registration

The HM Land Registry have revised their service to provide more options for online applications as well as announcing plans to begin testing their new electronic signature technology. The updates went live on 6 September 2021 and are part of an ongoing effort to digitalise the registry system.

The organisation has been working towards digitalisation since the first lockdown of 2020. On the HM Land Registry blog in May last year, Deputy Director of Digital Services Eddie Davies wrote, ‘our digital services are increasingly of critical importance while more people are working remotely.’

However, there has understandably been some concern regarding the efficiency of the new system and it will remain to be seen whether the changes will prove effective for the long-term. Here are some of the key points regarding the latest updates to the HM Land Registry application process.

The Digital Registration Service

Many landowners will be familiar with the existing Land Registry Portal on the GOV.UK website, which allows applicants to conduct their affairs online more conveniently compared to traditional methods. Service users have also been able to sign up for online notifications even if a written application has been submitted, and all previous features remain accessible on the new system.

According to Mr Davies’ blog, the new system aims to ‘transform how customers access, submit and progress applications’ so that the organisation can ‘deliver a speedier service for customers.’ It replaces the previous electronic document registration service (e-DRS) for registered portal users.

Features of the updated digital registration service include automatic fee calculations, live referral to the existing Land Register to allow for error checking and automated field population, and prompts to advise applicants on where further information or evidence is needed to support a request.

Electronic Signatures

As the updated registration system went live, the HM Land Registry also announced plans to trial a newly developed method of creating electronic signatures, which had previously been announced in 2020. The organisation are not the first to head in this digital direction and have called upon the assistance of practicing conveyancers to test the e-signatures they hope to be able to implement.

Product Owner at HM Land Registry Michael Abraham is treating the trial with caution, citing a ‘need to ensure that our standard supports interoperability between providers, so everyone can trust the security and usability of their signature, regardless of which platform they wish to use for signing.’

Support with Property and Title Issues

As one of Sheffield’s leading solicitors on land registration, A M Davies can assist with all manner of land ownership records to ensure that any documents you create or maintain are legally sound.

Among our areas of expertise, we can assist with obtaining historic probates to transfer land to current family members, examining and proving lost land titles, and re-establishing exact borders. Please contact us directly for advice and support with any property or title issues you may have.