HM Land Registry first Digital Identity Standard launches

HM Land Registry’s first Digital Identity Standard has launched today (Friday 12th March) which allows homebuyers to use their mobile phone to prove their identity. 

HM Land Registry paves the way with new standard for secure digital ID checks by providing a step-by-step list of requirements for conveyancers’ use of digital services to securely and conveniently verify their client’s identity online.

The new standard is optional. However it offers a ‘Safe Harbour’ for those conveyancers who meet the requirements. HM Land Registry would not seek recourse against conveyancers who comply with the standard in the event their client was not who they claimed to be.

This makes identity verification much more convenient as it can be done at any time, without the need to meet physically, for all clients whether residential or commercial. It also provides enhanced security by requiring the use of smartphones to extract encrypted information contained within the chips of documents such as passports.

Mike Harlow, General Counsel, Deputy Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Land Registrar comments:

“Proving your identity when buying or selling your property can be a pain. But of course, it is essential to the security of such high value transactions. This new standard for digital biometric identity checking marks an exciting milestone towards a truly digital conveyancing process.

“In a challenging year, we set up a cross-industry forum to support our conveyancing colleagues. First, we brought in electronic signatures to remove any need for paper in conveyancing. Now through this same collaboration we are able to bring a new digital identity standard to reduce the risk of fraud and make transactions a more digital, easier and faster experience.”

The release of this standard marks another key step toward the future of conveyancing. It provides a clear blueprint for technology providers to develop a range of secure and convenient options to better support conveyancers.

HM Land Registry will continue to develop and tailor the standard by widening the scope to incorporate different legal entities and to explore the availability of more enhanced digital means of obtaining evidence to link the party to the transaction with the particular property. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) is currently developing an overarching ‘trust framework’ for digital identity use across the economy. HM Land Registry will continue to work closely with DCMS over the coming months to ensure alignment.

A more detailed overview of the responses to the draft Digital Identity Standard, along with how we incorporated these suggestions, can be found in the latest blog here from Robin Malpas and Abbie Purslow. The standard is available on our new Practice Guide 81 here.

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