Coronavirus (COVID-19): this week’s update from Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar Simon Hayes 

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To all HM Land Registry customers

I hope you are keeping as well as possible in these difficult times. I am writing with another update on measures we have taken in the last week to support the property market. 

Our services  

We are prioritising the services which are most essential to allow property transactions to continue. I’m pleased to confirm that most of these services are now being delivered within our normal time frames. This includes searches of the index map, official copies and official searches. Since my last email, we have been able to complete more than 86,000 information services applications, 164,000 guaranteed queries and 25,000 updates to the register. 

Now that our priority services are coming back up to normal service levels, we will be tackling the other services which have been more significantly impacted. This will be a complex process in some areas, and I apologise for any continued delays as a result.

We will continue to keep our Coronavirus (COVID-19): impact on our services page up to date. All changes will also be highlighted through portal messages, Twitter and LinkedIn

Suspension of cancellations 

In March we told you we would be extending all current cancellation dates until 1 June 2020, and that we would not be issuing any warnings of cancellation in the interim. To help customers who are still experiencing difficulties, we have now suspended cancellations until further notice. We will update you once we resume normal service and at that point we will send warnings of cancellation again, giving you four weeks to reply to our requests for information (requisitions). We will announce on GOV.UK when cancellations are resuming. 

Please continue to send us applications that meet all of the requirements for registration. We advise against lodging incomplete register change applications in order to preserve priority as there are currently no plans to relax our registration requirements. 

Evidence of identity 

We have temporarily revised our rejection policy for applications where identity evidence is not provided. We will now raise a requisition, so that the application does not lose its priority. 

We are also looking at other temporary changes we might make for identity checks, and I hope to be able to give you an update on these soon.  

Contacting us  

We have a range of support in place to help you get the information you need. Business e-services customers can check the progress of an application through the portal and our website has guides that may answer your question.

You can also send us a message using our online form which we have updated so we can better prioritise enquiries. Unfortunately our Customer Support Centre is not able to take calls at the moment, although we are working towards enabling customers to have direct conversations with us in the near future. Due to the large number of emails, it is taking us longer to reply to everyone than we would like, so please only send through your urgent queries once. We promise we will get back to you as soon as we can. 

Thank you for your continued support.

 

Simon Hayes
Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar