Avoid unavoidable requisitions

Land Registry have brought out new guidance this month relating to avoidable and unavoidable requisitions

Completion of an application for registration may face difficulties if some required details are missing, wrongly drawn or incomplete. Where these situations arise, a requisition may be made. This is simply a request that is made to the applicant to supply the relevant information. A failure to supply it may result in the application being cancelled.

Whether a requisition is required will depend upon the judgement of the caseworkers who are processing the applications. However, judgements may differ due to the complex nature of land registration despite strict policy guidelines. This may result in certain issues left unresolved due to a lack of requisition.

Requisitions may not always be complex in nature, as basic errors can similarly be made. These can include names on the Register not matching those on the transfer of land as well as the improper execution of deeds.

In addition, requisitions can be split into those which are avoidable and unavoidable; almost 50% of those made could be avoided. Considering the time taken to request and amend a requisition, it is estimated that thousands could be processed over an annual period. A cost is also incurred when responding to a requisition, this making it even more relevant for conveyancers if those which are avoidable are avoided.

Avoidable

If a request is made that asks for something which is:

  • clearly stated within the application forms, e.g. enclosing consent as may be stated in the form
  • clear from published practice information externally available, e.g. a necessary step detailed within a practice guide on gov.uk such as a Fee Order
  • clearly indicated by a previous check of the Register, e.g. a consent of certificate expressing compliance with a restriction
  • clearly expressed in the Land Registration Rules 2003, e.g. the type of form required to be used
  • clear from a reminder which has been provided prior to a lodgement of application, e.g. an Official Search result
  • an issue of such a nature which a diligent conveyancer would have been expected to resolve themselves prior to transaction completion; this matter should not at point of registration depend upon third party action
  • an issue where the law is already well established

Unavoidable

If a request is made that asks for something which is:

  • not an obvious requirement within the forms, published practice guidance or from other gov.uk information.
  • obscure or uncommon in nature in relation to a historical requirement, e.g. stamp duty evidence prior to December 2003
  • required at the discretion of the Registrar under Land Registration Rules 2003, Rule 17
  • unreasonable to have been anticipated and for clarification only

In order to comply with some restrictions, discharges and evidence may have to be attained from a third party.

Well established is the requirement to arrange for a lender to lodge or arrange to do so, evidence of discharge where a legal estate disposal is to take free from that charge. There are however particular long-standing issues which may hinder timely lodgement of discharge evidence. These include:

  • Unclear or incorrect statements of redemption
  • Continued borrowing following the issuing of a redemption statement
  • Resourcing of redemption departments at lending organisations

In this situation, the Land Registry teats a requisition for discharge as unavoidable despite the evidence required to remove the charge entry may be clear.

However, requisitions for evidence of compliance in regards to restrictions, which includes that required for a ‘management company’ restrictions are viewed as avoidable.

This is because:

  • Evidence needed is clear from the Register’s restriction entry
  • Complications in obtaining evidence in some situations for certain types of restriction is well recognised
  • An applicant or their conveyancer should be engaging with a third party who would be giving evidence at the early stages of the conveyancing/lending transaction
  • This is able to take place simultaneously with other activities, in order for delays to be avoided
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