HMLR practice guide

HM Land Registry streamlines ‘front-loaded’ support for complex applications

New hub brings five key specialist support services together in one place on GOV.UK and on Portal, including Ask for Guidance

  • Customers can save time and delays by talking to HM Land Registry before they submit complex applications
  • Each service has a dedicated contact form to ensure enquiries reach the right person at the right time
  • We’ve listened to customers and made it easier to access our range of specialist support services via Portal and GOV.UK
  • Specialist teams on hand to assist before submitting large-scale or complex commercial applications, or starting to develop residential estates

HM Land Registry (HMLR) can provide supportive guidance ahead of submission to help ensure applications can be processed more efficiently. From 3 May 2023, we are bringing our five free pre-submission services together in one place.

We have listened to customers and made it easier and more convenient for them to access any help and support they need before lodging large-scale and complex applications, or starting work on developing residential estates.

The new Specialist Support Services Hub is available on Portal as well as GOV.UK and provides links to each of five teams: Application Management Services, Ask for Guidance, Developing Estates, Large-Scale Applications and Large-Scale Voluntary First Registrations. At a click, professional customers seeking help will be directed to the right person at the right time.

We cannot provide legal advice, comment on a point of law or guarantee to accept a registration until the application is made with all supporting documentation. However, using one of these pre-submission services can help customers avoid requests for information (requisitions) and enjoy consistency of service, especially when multiple transactions are involved.

            Specialist technicians Helene Jude and Mike Wilcock said:

“We’re keen to help you through all stages of a large-scale application. We particularly appreciate that these applications can be complicated to lodge so we’re here to help you to work out the best solution for your specific application.”

Efficiency savings

Customers are already benefiting from specialist support, with participants in one service trial estimating it saved them between 30 minutes and two hours per application. They also said it prevented:

  • internal discussions on how to tackle the issue;
  • dealing with potential requisitions once the application was submitted; and/or
  • submitting an unnecessary application, in some cases.

Other benefits cited included greater certainty that the application would be accepted and confidence that it would progress smoothly; the ability to keep to strict legal timescales in undertakings; happier clients as transactions were processed more quickly and with less risk; the opportunity to pass on learnings within the firm; and minimising the impact of fees being ‘eaten up’ in dealing with requests for information (requisitions).

Customers are saying:

“The Estate Plan Approval webform service has been a welcome addition to Land Registry’s offering – it is very easy and intuitive to use, with a quick turnaround of results. The checklist and the automation element ensure that any incorrect applications are much less likely to be submitted, so the overall quality is improved, helping to speed up the process.” – Caroline Wofinden, Freeths.

“The ‘ask for guidance’ has been very useful in assisting with more complex issues that arise. The advice is very clear and always delivered in a timely manner. This has become an invaluable tool and believe that it has helped us to avoid requisitions upon subsequent applications for registration” – Kirsty Gibson, Simplify

“Thank you so much for your quick response it is very much appreciated, you have been an absolute pleasure to deal with and your support in this matter has been second to none. In a world where we are so quick to moan or complain and slow to give positive comments, please accept this as my gratitude to you and the wider team, great work and thank you most sincerely” – Michael Burley, BNP Paribas

“I wanted to say a big thank you to both you and your team for your assistance in this matter. The way you have walked us through the whole process and dealt with our application so quickly has been outstanding and is really appreciated, especially in respect of our follow-up email with additional registers to be changed” – Melinda Blackmore, Heart of England Co-Operative Society Limited

The Services

Application Management Services (AMS)

Also previously known as ‘Managed Services’, customers can access AMS for new complex commercial transactions or infrastructure developments, such as complex portfolios with large numbers of similar applications, development sites comprising many parcels of registered and unregistered land under mixed tenure; or multiple applications that must be processed in order, including chains of under-leases.

As long as the application has not already been lodged, the answers aren’t in Practice Guides and cannot be handled by our Customer Support Centre, professional customers can apply using the Pre-submission enquiry service form PSS1 or Application Management Service form AMS1 for free expert help before submitting an application.

Ask for Guidance enquiry service

After a successful year-long pilot, we are rolling out this service – devised in response to feedback – to all of our customers. For those about to start a new piece of work that has complexities not covered in any of our Practice Guides, a member of our specialist team can help navigate registry processes and avoid unnecessary errors. As long as it fits the criteria, professional customers can put their query directly to our technical experts, who will help them avoid unnecessary application errors.

Criteria

  • the query is in relation to a new piece of work, not an existing application
  • the answer to the query is not already covered in any of our Practice Guides

The information gathered by this service also allows us to update our guidance where appropriate. To date, we’ve updated Practice Guides 29 in relation to charges of part, 31 over discharge of a sub charge and 40 Supplement 5, adding a section about sub-dividing a property title.

Developing Estate Service

This is a free service for residential estates of six or more plots. Our experts can help simplify the application process and give clarity in advance of plot sales. Using the dedicated form, customers can lodge draft estate plans and transfers or leases, plus other documentation, such as consents or powers of attorney for approval, before starting their development, or in the early stages of the build, to help ensure smooth and seamless registration of plots.

For more information about developing estates, see Practice Guide 41

Large-Scale Applications

Our Bulk Applications Team can assist with large-scale applications, subject to criteria. Qualifying customers can get help in avoiding the complications associated with submitting applications based on a common deed or deeds. This service is available to customers submitting applications for any combination of registered and unregistered titles exceeding 50 in total.

Find out more about large-scale applications in Practice Guide 33

Large-Scale Voluntary First registrations 

Our dedicated team can help customers seeking the voluntary first registration of a portfolio of unregistered properties, land assets or a large landed estate. This free service is available to anyone registering more than 20 individual parcels or units of land and enables more efficient and consistent processing.

Find out more about large-scale applications in Practice Guide 33

Accessing Specialist Support Services

Customers can access all five Specialist Support Services using dedicated contact forms that send enquiries directly to the relevant teams. For those connecting to HMLR services directly or via third-party software (Business Gateway access), the forms are held on GOV.UK

Portal account holders can also access the hub via a link on the homepage, which takes them to a dedicated page showcasing each of the services and their criteria, before directing them to the relevant contact forms.

For details about all of our specialist support services, as well as how to apply, head to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/hm-land-registry-specialist-support-services-hub.

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