Most Land Registry complaints caused by delays

Following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, Today’s Conveyancer can report that 251 complaints were received by Land Registry in October. The period of July to September 2016 saw 657 complaints being recorded by the body.

Where there is an “any expression of dissatisfaction where a response or an action is needed to help resolve matters or explain a position” a contact from a customer is recorded as a complaint. In total, 908 expressions of dissatisfaction were recorded from July to the end of October 2016. From these, the majority related to delay or progress, coming to a total of 244. Just behind this was the result of an application, where dissatisfactions reached 95, followed by those in respect of the application being cancelled, which totalled 91.

79 dissatisfactions were regarding requisitions and 43 were in relation to registration or entry on the register. Where Land Registry service itself was concerned, just 8 complaints were recorded, all during July to September 2016. Fees received 7 dissatisfactions whilst 6 related to general communications.

For each month, the average age of completed applications was recorded from July to October of this year. Considered as ‘normal’ dealings, an application took 7.09 working days to complete, on average, over the 4-month period.

Compared to the period from April to June, the mean average of working days taken to complete a ‘normal’ dealing has grown by 0.3 days.

Land Registry have stated that the delays have been due to an unprecedented level of market activity over the past few years. Compared to 2013, they have received 11% more applications to update the register.

According to the Registry, on average between 1st April and 31st October 2016, they dealt with:

  • 69,198 information requests per day, with 99% being completed in 3 working days
  • 17,346 applications per day to update existing registers, with 80% completed in 5 working days

The body state that other registration services, which include the creation of a new register, such as leases and first registrations, are taking longer. These involve more stages and often require more work to complete.

The Registry acknowledge that this may cause problems in some cases, which they aim to complete 60% of within 25 days by March 2017.

On average, between 1st April and 31st October 2016, 2,064 new title applications were dealt with on average by the Registry each working day; 18% of which were completed within 25 days.

In order to address the situation and reduce the delays, Land Registry have taken various steps including:

  • Recruiting 500 new staff during the last two years as well as introducing overtime in all offices.
  • Bringing in a new digital tool called Application Enquiry for customers. This enables them to see the progress of an application or, if their application becomes urgent, a request expedition.
  • Beginning to implement centralised consumer handling teams to deal with incoming calls as well as increasing productivity of caseworkers.
  • Getting customer feedback through visits in order to improve the level of service they provide.
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