Land Registry Offices, Croydon – Image © Clare Forster
March 9th 2014 saw the closure of the consultation on the Land Registry’s proposal to be granted wider powers and become the sole registering authority for Local Land Charges and a provider of Local Land Charge searches.
It has been seen as a controversial proposal throughout the conveyancing profession with a mix of governing bodies and practitioners having been to oppose it and expose the flaws in the justification.
TM is a firm advocate of streamlining and delivering efficiencies to the property sector and it is exactly this mantra that it has been working on over the last 15 years. TM has led the way in joining up disparate data providers to deliver a streamlined online solution where Conveyancers and consumers are delivered a totally digital service.
Legislation is a blunt instrument to generate the necessary mandate to facilitate adoption of new services in an area where TM (and others) have worked hard to innovate and provide new services. Technology and, specifically, the maturity of the internet is able to support a higher degree of collaboration and document sharing than was previously possible which themselves lead to a higher degree of certainty and reduced costs of processing which of course lead to greater efficiencies. As a member of the property community, we have heard many opinions on the consultation.
The Law Society’s position is that the Land Registry ‘has not demonstrated that there is a problem that needs to be resolved’ and that ‘the omission of potentially relevant information that is more than 15 years old is a key concern and needs reconsideration’.
The consultation seems equally opposed by other parties in the property community. The Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO), for example, believes that the Land Registry consultation in respect of centralising the Local Land Charges Register has not adequately analysed the options for achieving the stated objectives. They think that the Land Registry should immediately withdraw this consultation due to the many misstatements of fact, unsupported assertions, insidious form of questioning, and misleading information that it contains.
Equally, a number of independent High Street Lawyers and professionals involved in the conveyancing process have established a campaign to ‘Save the Land Registry’. Their position is that the Land Registry currently provides an excellent service to those professionals acting for property owners in England and Wales and that maintaining the current structure of the Land Registry is in the best interests of the property owning public and the professionals that serve them.
TM Group maintain that the proposal has misunderstood the property market and failed to take into account the products that already exist that service the needs of the professionals that operate in this sphere. The idea to centralise LLC data might have merit, but ultimately the method of execution suggested within the plan is flawed and impractical.
We’ve submitted our response to the consultation and eagerly await the outcome.