HMLR Temorarily Amend Rules Around ID And Signing Deeds

HM Land Registry (HMLR) have temporarily amended their rules regarding ID verification and the signing of deeds from today to help reduce the barriers caused by social distancing restrictions.

Deeds can now be signed using the ‘Mercury signing approach’ from today. For land registration purposes, a signed signature page using ink and witnessed in person rather than via a video link, can be emailed to conveyancers.

The digital copy can then be attached to the ‘final agreed copy of the document and the copy of the signed signature page.’

The number of authorised parties able to verify a person’s identity is to be expanded from today and can be undertaken via video call.

In addition to conveyancers and chartered legal executives, the following people who work or have worked in the following professions can now verify identification:

  •  retired conveyancers, chartered legal executives, solicitors and barristers
  • bank officials and regulated financial advisers
  • medical doctors, dentists and veterinary surgeons
  • chartered and certified accountants
  • police officers and officers in the UK armed forces
  • teachers and college and university teaching staff
  • Members of Parliament and Welsh Assembly members
  • UK civil servants of senior executive officer (SEO) grade or above
    magistrates

HMLR have produced a new practice guide – ’67A: temporary changes to HM Land Registry’s evidence of identity requirements’ – to help property stakeholders with the temporary changes.

Simon Davis, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, said

 “Solicitors continue to work hard on behalf of clients in the face of unprecedented hurdles.

“These changes help to improve processes for transactions in a difficult environment – they are both pragmatic and proportionate.

“Even though they are temporary – and HM Land Registry have made it clear that these changes may be modified or withdrawn at short notice at any moment – the measures are nevertheless welcome and should assist those carrying out transactions from large commercial real estate to home moves.

“There still are significant complications with continuing transactions – caused by banking issues, issues arising from compliance with social distancing guidelines, or the unavailability of removal or other services.

“We have worked with HM Land Registry and others to secure these changes to help the profession find workable alternatives so that transactions can continue – provided it is safe to do so.”

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