Published: 05/08/2020 By Allan Fuller
A bane of our lives has been the length of time property transactions take. One aspect is being rectified because the Land Registry has recognised the need to simplify and speed up their systems, due largely to the effects of Covid19 it is hardly surprising that backlog built up. This has led it to take historic decision to bring forward electronic signatures for a wide range of different property transactions, including for property sales, leases, mortgages and other property dealings. The technology has been brought forward by the needs of Covid19 and social distancing.
Electronic signatures will still have to be ‘witnessed’ by someone present at the time it takes place and the process requires a conveyancer to upload the deed or lease to an online platform which sends a link to the signatories.
Once they have completed the necessary authentication checks, they then ‘sign’ the document electronically in the physical presence of the witness who then also signs.
The conveyancer is then notified that the signing process has been concluded and once they have completed on the deed, submits the completed document to HM Land Registry with their application for registration.
Simon Hayes, Chief Land Registrars announcement said that what they have done will remove the last strict requirement to print and sign a paper document in a home buying or other property transactions. The statement went on to say that it has been recognised that lots of us are working at home, but it is also a keystone of a truly digital, secure and more efficient conveyancing process that we believe is well within reach.
Also in a case that shows hardship caused by likely delay an application to expedite will be acted upon in genuine circumstances.
This is all good news, however to really speed up the buying and selling process massive reform is still needed, hopefully the initiative by the Land Registry will spur the other key participants in property transactions once a sale has been agreed in principal.