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A move to paperless property transactions

Covid has certainly left it's mark on the world since it's arrival in early 2020 and the last couple of years have meant that everyone has had to adapt in one way or another

This has even updated the, what some people would refer to as, ‘archaic’ world of law and property transactions.

Following Covid and the introduction of social distancing, lockdown and home working, we have seen the acceptance from the Land Registry of electronic signatures, meaning we no longer have to be holding a physical copy of a deed with a wet ink signature in order to complete a property transaction.

The Land Registry are again taking a further step towards achieving an end-to-end ‘paperless conveyancing’ process by incorporating a digital registration system. From 30 November 2022, rather than a scan or a PDF form AP1 being uploaded to the Land Registry portal, the details of the application are to be entered directly into the Land Registry services or via a case management system and the data is captured digitally.

The digital registration system has been available to use for limited applications since April 2021 but following 30 November 2022, it will be mandatory to use this system for all applications (save for first registration). The Land Registry have indicated that the digital system has already reduced requisitions for basic errors by 30% and reduced the time to make an application by 50%.

With the digital registration system coming into place and access to systems which enable electronic signatures and verify client’s ID electronically, the Land Registry hope that paperless property transactions will be the norm by 2025 providing a much more efficient experience by both solicitors and their clients.

For more information, please do get in touch with our expert Built Environment lawyers.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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