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

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Dear HM Land Registry customers

I know that many of you are already facing a difficult New Year with the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic, alongside a very high level of demand within the property market.

I want to reassure you that we are continuing to provide the full range of services to our customers at this time. Details about our service provision can be found on our GOV.UK pages, which will be updated regularly. Please remember that if your application is urgent, you can ask for an application to be expedited. More than 96% of expedited cases are processed within 10 working days. 

We continue to digitise key elements of the land registration process in order to reduce delays and make it easier for you to do business with us. Our new View My Applications function on the HM Land Registry portal allows you instantly to view a summary of all your applications, with a new feature coming soon that will give you an estimated completion date for each application. This year we are also rolling out our new Digital Registration Service (DRS) which will simplify how you submit your applications and check the information as you add it in. This will help avoid some of the more common errors and ultimately speed up turnaround times by reducing requisitions. The service will be available to all portal users from spring 2021.

Our Digital Registration Service is a key component of our greater ambition to enable a more digital form of land registration and conveyancing in the future. Last year by working in partnership with our stakeholders and customers we removed the last strict requirement for paper and wet-ink signatures in the conveyancing process by accepting electronic signatures. We are now working towards accepting the even more secure and convenient qualified electronic signatures and have just completed a consultation on a HM Land Registry standard for Digital Identity verification. Alongside this we are accelerating our transformation of the local authority local land charges search into a centralised digital service with instant access to consistent and high quality data. During 2021 we intend to keep closely working with our partners to move forward with changes which will strengthen the property market by making it easier to transact securely through digital technology.

We will continue to bring you updates on our activities and the status of our services.

In the meantime I hope you and your colleagues are staying safe and well during this challenging time.

Simon Hayes
Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar