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 am writing again as part of my ongoing commitment to keep you updated on what we are doing to keep our services running and help the property sector at the current time.

Current service standards

It has been nearly a month since the UK introduced social distancing measures. As with almost all services and industries, we have experienced some disruption. We have outlined the impact on our operations and introduced a number of changes to our policies and practices to help our customers at this time. These can be found on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) page. Please do continue to check this page and our social media channels for regular updates.

We have prioritised the services which enable property transactions to proceed and we are pleased to say that searches of the index map, official copies and official searches are now all being processed within our normal timeframes.

Work is continuing to improve our service levels on updating and adding to the register where we are still experiencing significant disruption. We are aiming to have those services operating closer to our normal standards as soon as possible, but I am afraid that we expect that will take us some time. We apologise for any problems this may cause you and please remember that expedites are still an effective way to ensure that urgent cases can be prioritised. We anticipate that by next week we will be processing expedites within the normal service standard of 10 working days and that we will have responded to any outstanding correspondence.

We would like to thank all of you for your continued patience during this period.

Listening to the property sector

Last week, Mike Harlow (General Counsel and Deputy Chief Land Registrar) hosted an online meeting with over 30 people from across the industry including trade bodies, conveyancers, property developers and mortgage lenders. We explored some of the challenges that our customers are facing both in the present climate and also in the longer term.

Those discussions were, and will continue to be, invaluable as we move forward. We are continuing to explore how we can formalise this emerging forum and through them to develop positive changes for our customers. Look out for more information on this soon.

Our work in other areas continues against the background of the coronavirus crisis. Earlier this week, Carlisle became the latest local authority to go live on the digital, central Local Land Charges Register.

ID changes

In response to your feedback we are in the process of introducing some changes to our policy on identity checking. Full details will be published on GOV.UK as soon as we can.

Contact us

Unfortunately, our customer support centre is still unable to receive calls and due to the higher than usual volume of emails, it is taking us longer to reply than we would like. Please only send through your urgent queries once and we will do our very best to get back to you as soon as possible.

Many of our customers are already finding answers to their questions via our recently updated online contact form or the application enquiry checker which is available to Business e-services customers.

Thank you for your continued support.


Simon Hayes
Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar