Technology Is Slowly Transforming Conveyancing Sector

One of the lasting positive consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic, has seemingly been the legal sector’s ability to adapt and embrace technology a little more than perhaps it would have in normal circumstances.

In a previous article which I wrote, I spoke to people in the sector who had revealed that video meetings, remote working and digitisation of the conveyancing process had been adapted, even HMLR have begun accepting electronically signed deeds, which is a huge step forward.

Over the last week or so, here at Today’s Conveyancer we’ve come across other firms and organisations who have used lockdown and the ‘quieter’ periods to work on their technological aspects of their business and progress them in order to provide an efficient and effective service for clients.

Below are recent examples of how some firms have adopted technology to speed up the conveyancing process, with apps and digital ID checks taking center stage. Another innovation has seen local councils joining a digitised register run by HMLR in a bid to improve the service provided for local land charge searches.

O’Neill Patient pilots new one-stop conveyancing app

At the end of August O’Neill Patient launched a pilot of a new one-stop app that puts clients in control and enables them to progress their conveyancing cases directly from a mobile device.

The app streamlines the conveyancing process, ensuring that cases can progress rapidly. Clients using the app will be able to communicate with case managers directly, perform a wide range of tasks in app and upload relevant documents.

One benefit of the app, sees lengthy forms are presented in app as dynamic click-through questionnaires that automatically advance to the next relevant question, depending on the client’s responses. The huge efficiency gains delivered by the app will speed up the conveyancing process dramatically, reducing normal industry turnaround times from around two weeks to as little as fifteen minutes.

Another benefit to using the app is the removal of the need for emails, which is one of the main sources of fraud in the mortgage process. The app also significantly enhances security: in fact, speed and security go hand in hand, as the app also automates identity checks, using sophisticated facial recognition technology, and scanning passport chips to ensure authenticity.

Andy Scaife

Andy Scaife, CEO of O’Neill Patient

Commenting on the launch of the pilot, Andy Scaife, CEO of O’Neill Patient, said:

“A new generation of homeowners is increasingly looking for technology-driven solutions to meet their needs.

“Our mission at O’Neill Patient is to sweep away the arcane processes traditionally associated with conveyancing, and to replace them with a modern, fast, customer-friendly approach which puts convenience and ease of use at the heart of the process.

“People don’t want to spend precious time filling in long and complex forms. By putting the whole process in an app, we are responding directly to the needs of today’s consumers.”

Law Firm Services Ltd launch huge “Contract Ready” pilot across North of England

Software supplier Law Firm Services Ltd (LFS) have launched a major new initiative in conjunction with award winning estate agency group Ryder & Dutton, who have 24 branches across the North of England.

The Covid- 19 pandemic has brought changes to business, both accelerating the use of remote working and the need to engage with clients digitally. By adopting Minerva technology, law firms and estate agents can improve the conveyancing process, reduce transaction times and provide a better client experience.

Richard Mathias, Sales Director at LFS explains:

“After 18 months of planning and development, it is fantastic to see that we are really walking the walk not just talking about it. Minerva is the catalyst for a whole new conveyancing experience. The agent sends instructions to the firm when the house goes on the market, the client can immediately create a portal account, complete protocol forms and undertake facial recognition ID, all from the comfort of their own homes. The process is taking less than 24 hours in the vast majority of cases.”

Richard Powell, Managing Director of Ryder & Dutton and member of the Home Buying and Selling Group (HBSG) says-

“The idea of collating information up front has been around since the days of HIPS and there has been a lot of talk recently of how this can be achieved. With the help of LFS and our fantastic panel of law firms we have made this a reality. Our clients love the system and we are already beginning to see the benefits with significantly reduced transaction times.”

Milton Keynes District Council joins HM Land Registry’s Local Land Charges Register

HM Land Registry’s digital Local Land Charges Register continues to grow, enabling the digital transformation of homebuying.

From 27 August 2020, anyone requiring local land charges (LLC) searches in the local authority area of Milton Keynes District Council will need to get them from HM Land Registry rather than going directly to the council.

Pete Marland, Leader of Milton Keynes Council, said:

“We’re proud to be among the first local authorities to move our land charges and personal searches function onto a new national digital database. This is a testament to the rigorous processes that the team have put in place, and the new database will help us improve the service even further. My thanks go out to council colleagues for working collaboratively to help achieve this.”

Karina Singh, Director of Transformation at HM Land Registry, said:

“Milton Keynes is the latest local authority to offer its local property customers instant, easy access to HM Land Registry’s digital Local Land Charges Register. We are working hard with local authorities like Milton Keynes to ensure customers can obtain the information they need quickly, to allow informed property buying decisions, even during lockdown. This is making the conveyancing process quicker and simpler for everyone.”

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