HM Land Registry (HMLR) have said that they intend to continue working with industry partners in a bid to ensure they remain ahead of the curve in terms of digitisation and the implementation of new technology.
In particular, HM Land Registry are committed to improving its data and the way this data is stored and supplied.
Although HMLR land register currently holds more than 25 million titles and highlights the legitimate ownership of more than 86% of the total land mass for England and Wales, Mike Harlow, the acting chief executive, recently emphasised that whilst HMLR is electronic through PDF copies of paper documents, there needs to be a greater push in the future to make all data digital and instant.
Currently, the HMLR’s holistic Local Land Charges (LLC) digital system has only been rolled out in 5 of the 325 local authorities following the recent addition of the Isles of Scilly on January 17th.
As HMLR continue to focus on Digital Street and their five-year business strategy, they have increasingly looked at the use of blockchain technology that could help to reduce property fraud in the future and create a more streamlined home buying process.
Whilst looking at the use of secure, online databases that allowed all participants in the housing process to view the progress in the transaction, blockchain and distributed ledgers were analysed.
HMLR have concluded that: “These two technologies have the potential to open up property transactions and allow those involved to stay up to date and those who need to act can be sent notifications with sufficient guidance.”
HMLR’s five-year plan will also look at smart contracts and digital signatures. The process of a contract automatically completing once all relevant stakeholders have completed their section is thought to save time and increase efficiency. The success of their ‘sign your mortgage deed,’ paperless re-mortgaging process could be a benchmark for future projects exploring this technology.
John Abbott, director of digital, data and technology at HM Land Registry, said: “There are a lot of exciting possibilities in terms of what can be done with blockchain technology. We are looking into what could be done, and whether or not it should be done, through our innovative Digital Street project.
“All of our work, from exploring the potential of blockchain to investigating how to make the most of our datasets, is conducted in collaboration with people from across the property market – we want to make sure that HM Land Registry works for everyone.”
With governmental organisations placing huge investment and importance into digital technologies, it is hoped that conveyancing and the home buying process will become increasingly efficient and fast whilst also being better protected from cyber crime and property fraud in the future.
How important will blockchain be in the property market of the future? What will the benefits be of using this technology in the sector?