Conveyancers self-certifying satisfaction of Land Registry Restrictions?

As the Deputy Chair and proud Board Member of the Society of Licensed Conveyancers (SLC), I was really interested to listen to Simon Hayes (Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar) present at the SLC Conference on the 2nd November 2022. The honest nature of the update received during the presentation wherein Simon Hayes confirmed that he was conscious that HM Land Registry (HMLR) “are not providing the service we want to provide” was most welcome.

It is widely acknowledged that conveyancers are frustrated with the backlogs currently experienced with the Land Registry and it was pleasing to hear that appropriate steps are now being taken to address the issues experienced and it is reassuring that HMLR appreciates that conveyancers have a fundamental role to play in assisting the Land Registry in addressing the backlog of applications, particularly relating to the Requisition rates.

During the presentation, Simon Hayes reported on current processing times. On average, Information Service Requests (Pre-Completion) were returned on the same day in September 2022. Register Changes (Post-Completion) took eight days. Applications to amend the register took seven days (17 days excluding automated applications). Applications to divide up an existing register entry, however, took 10 months, and first registrations took 13 months.

Whilst it is important for all conveyancers to ensure that they are taking pro-active steps to reduce the rate of Requisitions, which are in their control (missing names, dates, witness details etc), I am continually advised that the highest rate of Requisitions received from my own Post-Completion team relate to leasehold Restrictions where, despite our appropriate satisfaction and compliance with the terms of the Restriction, we are waiting on third parties to provide the requisite Certificate of Compliance in order to satisfy the Land Registry.

The Land Registry have acknowledged the issues experienced by Conveyancers in this respect by way of Form RXC, but in my opinion this has done little to reduce the rate of Requisitions being received in relation to such Restrictions.

It was interesting to note a recent article in the Law Society Gazette which advised “Conveyancers could be required to confirm that information contained in applications to HM Land Registry are true under the agency’s latest initiative to tackle lengthy delays”, and I would ask the Land Registry to take this a step further by allowing Conveyancers, as regulated and key stakeholders, to self-certify that they have complied with the requirements of such Restrictions in order to allow registration formalities to be concluded without the need to wait for third party Certificates of Compliance.

I believe that such a step would be welcomed by Conveyancers and their clients and would greatly reduce the number of Requisitions being raised by the Land Registry.

It is, of course, the view of many that it should not be HMLR’s job to register and police Restrictions.

Gareth Richards, Deputy Chair and proud Board Member of the Society of Licensed Conveyancers

One Response

  1. Title splitting and first registration should be carried out before any resulting titles are put on the market. New mapping arrangements should be available shortly for the former and voluntary registration has been around since 1862. If conveyancers were interested in the service they provide these would have been in place long ago

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