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Land Registry Looks to Expand its Horizons

Her Majesty’s Land Registry is set to undergo a monumental change in 2015 if current legislation is approved.

The Infrastructure Bill, which is currently sitting in the House of Lords and predicted to hit the statute books just before Christmas, will allow the Land Registry to take control of the local land charges database. The database is constantly referred to by conveyancers and property lawyers, who are voicing the concern that merging the database into the Land Registry will generate more problems than solutions.


Land Registry Needs Solicitor Support
Simultaneously, the Land Registry is hoping that solicitors will get behind the proposals and recognize the ability of a single portal to expedite property transactions. Lawyers, however, remain unconvinced considering the Government’s poor IT track record. The database, which is currently maintained by local authorities is said to be part of “a very phased roll-out” according to Allison Bradbury, the Land Registry’s Commercial Strategic Development Manager.

Chief Executive to Step Down
Ms. Bradbury’s understanding of the need to not leave conveyancers high and dry in the transition may very well have been persuasive if it wasn’t for the news that her colleague Ed Lester – Chief Executive ad Chief Land Registrar – has just announced his intention to step down before the take over comes to fruition.

Too much? Too soon?
The Land Registry’s ability to become the sole authority for the registration of land charges is theoretically pleasing. Practically-speaking, however, the decision to implement reform so soon into the market’s recovery is illogical. The transition will take at least five years and with conveyancing recovering in line with the market, now is not the time to be testing the waters.

IT companies have already begun to compete for the contract. We will endeavour to keep you informed as the Bill passes through Parliament.