The 4 most common culprits
I recently spoke with Andrew Robertson, Head of Customer Policy & Service Performance and Mike Green Head of Account Management at HM Land Registry to discuss the ongoing issues in relation to requisitions.
In summary the conversation highlighted the fact that there are still four main common requisitions raised, namely:
- Restriction related requisitions
- Delays in receiving discharge documents
- Variations in names
- Execution of Deeds
As property lawyers we pride ourselves on our talent, we have specialist knowledge, but when it comes down to post-completion where does all that talent go? Do we think post-completion is so cumbersome that it does not warrant our care and attention? Of course not, so then why does HM Land Registry still need to raise avoidable requisitions on more than 40% of our registrations we submit?
Is it solely down to a lack of due diligence from our colleagues, or are there other factors which play a part? In order to fully understand why the requisition rate is so high it is important to look at the requisition in the context of the whole conveyancing process. Once this is done, it then becomes clear that out of the four main common requisitions there are only two categories which, we as property lawyers can take sole responsibility for as noted below.
About 20% of requisitions raised relate to third party restrictions. Andrew and I discussed the fact that we could obtain the compliance certificate earlier on in a transaction. This will definitely help HM Land Registry as it will automatically half the number of requisitions raised, but the negative impact would be the extra time added to a transaction especially if a purchaser’s lawyer is insisting on the compliance certificate being in place before exchange of contracts. Unless the Conveyancing process changes I do not think we will see a reduction in the requisition rates for this category.
The second category of raised requisitions relate to delays in receiving discharge documents, these account for around 13%. So I question, is it prudent to hold onto our applications for a couple of weeks before submitting our registrations and avoid being penalised for being so efficient? Perhaps, but are we sure we will submit our applications within the priority period? This is a risk that needs to be properly managed but if handled correctly we will reduce the requisition rate by 13%.
Thus, in my opinion the above two categories of requisitions can be avoided but we must not be penalised for efficient practices.
It is the other two most common requisitions raised, being variations in names and execution of deeds, which creates great bother for me. Surely, we understand that any name variations need to be clarified before making our application to HM Land Registry and ensuring witness requirements are properly adhered to on our Transfer Deeds. If this is basic knowledge why is HM Land Registry still having these as the two most common requisitions?
There are many ways in which we can improve, such as training our staff, which is promoted by Andrew. HM Land Registry have produced guidance for conveyancers on how to avoid requisitions and are working with Conveyancers to improve the industry as a whole, however this is a long-term measure. What is the immediate solution?
PCC is trying to remedy the dystopia of post-completion and has modelled its ethics solely on creating a utopia for conveyancing departments and HM Land Registry. PCC is doing this by solely focusing on all post-completion formalities, from submitting your applications to HM Land Registry to dealing with all requisitions through to chasing the compliance certificates and sending the Title Information Documents to your clients.
Incorporating an outsourcing functionality as part of your business model will drive efficiencies in your business as a whole. PCC takes away your burden of post-completion tasks but also increases your successful submission rates and ensures your legal obligations are all adhered to without fail.
This is a successful working model already. Therefore outsourcing post-completion will in my opinion help elevate the pressure points from the industry as a whole.