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Buying and selling property moves into the digital age in the UK

Buying and selling a home in the UK without the need for paper deeds is one step closer after the Government approved changes to the land registration rules to pave the way for the introduction of digital land registration.

The changes, which will come into effect on 06 April 2018, are central to the Land Registry’s ambition to become the world’s leading land registry for speed, simplicity and an open approach to data.

The changes have been announced following a public consultation last year and chief land registrar Graham Farrant said that the process will become simpler, faster and cheaper while at the same time the integrity and security of the register against threats from cyber-attacks and digital fraud will be strengthened.

The rule changes will allow the land registry to introduce fully digital conveyancing documents such as mortgages and transfers, in response to customers’ needs.

‘Our customers are central to everything we do and we want to make dealing with us quicker and simpler by providing more services through digital technology. These changes are an important enabler for our digital transformation and I want to thank our customers for their positive responses to the consultation,’ Farrant explained.

Changes were required to the Land Registration Rules 2003, with the revocation of the Land Registration (Electronic Conveyancing) Rules 2008 and the Land Registration (Proper Office) Order 2013, in order to allow the land registry to continue with its digital transformation programme, and modernise and simplify its services.

Farrant also pointed out that the changes will benefit customers by allowing the land registry to build new and more flexible statutory services that have been called for by the industry, and other electronic services will improve the assistance offered to them throughout the application process.

The land registry will be contacting customers in the coming weeks to explain any changes that will affect the way they submit applications, though these are expected to be minimal, and will only affect a small number of customers.