March 1, 2019

Interview with HM Land Registry

Tell us about the Digital Street project

HM Land Registry (HMLR) wants to become the world’s leading land registry for speed, simplicity and an open approach to data. Digital Street is our research and development project which is exploring the art of the possible to understand how data and technology could revolutionise the buying and selling process in the future. Our goal is to work with the industry to explore and find ways to solve some of the key problems with buying and selling land and property. The Digital Street project is a key part of our ambition to position HM Land Registry at the forefront of global land registration innovation.

How can innovative new technologies improve the house buying process?

Digital Street has been exploring cutting-edge technologies like smart contracts and blockchain technology to understand their potential application in land registration and conveyancing. We have developed a proof of concept in collaboration with the industry, that demonstrates a digital transfer of ownership between a buyer and seller utilising this technology. We are still working through our findings and hope to be able to share these in the coming months.

What are the benefits of the new Local Land Charges digital service?

This is a historic step forward in the Government’s ambition to make the home-buying process simpler, faster and cheaper.The benefits of the new Local Land Charges digital service are:

guaranteed search results provide the highest level of due diligence

the full spatial extent of every charge appears on the search result

standard £15 fee for each search, providing a reduction to the current national average price

consistent quality of data provides clear and accurate search results

instant online search result with 24/7 access to the data, reducing delays in receiving searches

unlimited repeat searches for six months to check for any new charges before completing a transaction

What challenges and opportunities are the HM Land Registry expecting to see this year?

2018 has taken us closer to becoming the world’s leading land registry for speed, simplicity and an open approach to data. We launched our five-year Business Strategy and delivered 10 of our 11 key performance indicators, with record results for casework quality, colleague engagement and leadership. Customer satisfaction is up to 92%. 32.5 million service requests were processed, with 95% received through electronic channels.  We laid the groundwork to achieve comprehensive registration in England and Wales and recruited more than 500 apprentices and registration officers to ensure we have the talent and capacity to process our growing workload.  The ‘Sign your mortgage deed’ service is one of a range of high quality, user-driven digital services we are developing.

Our Digital Street research and development project is meanwhile creating a vision of the future of land registration.

We signed up thousands of new users to our Commercial and Corporate Ownership and Overseas Companies Ownership datasets when we made them available for free. We will continue to progress and to change the way we work to make conveyancing faster, simpler and cheaper for everyone.

What are you looking forward to most at the Modern Law Conveyancing Conference 2019?

The Modern Law Conveyancing Conference is a fantastic opportunity for HM Land Registry to meet our customers face to face. It is also the perfect environment to find out how our partners in the conveyancing industry are feeling and sharing in our vision to improve the home buying process. The conference is great for networking and for seeing all of the latest updates and innovations. We cannot wait to join you all at the conference!