Changes to property transaction rules will ease pressures on the market

The Law Society: HM Land Registry has announced two important changes to property transaction rules and to the registration requirements.

The first concerns evidence or confirmation of identity that must be provided when an application is made for registration and the other relates to execution of deeds.

From Monday 4 May, the ‘Mercury’ signing approach will be accepted for deeds. They are also making it easier to verify identity for land transactions.

Simon Davis, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, said:

“Solicitors continue to work hard on behalf of clients in the face of unprecedented hurdles. These changes help to improve processes for transactions in a difficult environment – they are both pragmatic and proportionate.

“Even though they are temporary – and HM Land Registry have made it clear that these changes may be modified or withdrawn at short notice at any moment – the measures are nevertheless welcome and should assist those carrying out transactions from large commercial real estate to home moves.

“There still are significant complications with continuing transactions – caused by banking issues, issues arising from compliance with social distancing guidelines, or the unavailability of removal or other services.

“We have worked with HM Land Registry and others to secure these changes to help the profession find workable alternatives so that transactions can continue – provided it is safe to do so.”

Full details of the verification changes including the conditions that must be satisfied will be available from 4 May in the new Practice Guide 67A Temporary changes to HM Land Registry’s evidence of identity requirements.

HM Land Registry have made it clear that these changes are temporary and that they may be modified or withdrawn at short notice, for example if they are considered to increase the risk to the register. Full details are available on the Law Society website.


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