Industry Reacts To Land Registry eSignature News

Yesterday, HM Land Registry made the announcement that they will accept ‘witnessed electronic signatures’.

It is a move which is deemed as bringing the conveyancing process into the 21st Century, and something that many in the  profession have been asking for.

Reacting to the news, Adam Forshaw, Managing Director for O’Neill Patient, commented:

“This is a significant step forward for homebuyers, as it means that in principle the entire homebuying journey can now be conducted electronically.

“Even before the advent of Covid-19 and social distancing, there was significant demand for a more tech-driven process. But one of the biggest problems facing the property sector in lockdown was the ongoing requirement for ‘wet-ink’ signatures.

“The Land Registry is to be commended for moving quickly from consultation to new guidance. We look forward to working with them on their additional proposals to accept ‘qualified electronic signatures’, which will further improve security and remove the need for a witness altogether.”

Other professionals took to LinkedIn to share their delight at the news.

Martin Stiles, Chartered Surveyor and Business Owner, wrote:

“Anything to speed up the conveyancing process has got to be good news, actually great news. Time kills deals.”

Holly Pattison wrote:

“Hurrah! Great news for those who deal with HMLR regularly. I remember when working in law I found it very frustrating, so this is a great positive step into 21st Century life for the legal industry.”

Peter Ambrose, Managing Director of The Partnership, wrote:

“Its just a few days since the groundbreaking news that Land Registry will be accepting electronic signatures, but there was always the “in the future” caveat.

“Turns out that the future is TODAY.

“Because as of today, yes, TODAY, ( how many times can we get TODAY in one sentence?) Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar ( I do like a multi-chief-chief) Simon Hayes ( our newest most favouritest person at HMLR) has announced that electronic signatures on deeds are now LIVE.”

Matt Tuson, SVP & MD EMEA at Conga, a top Salesforce partner and a specialist in digital document transformation, on the subject. He explains how this will ensure a more secure and efficient means of documentation:

“Throughout the past few months, COVID-19 has proven a great challenge for government and businesses alike. Vital property dealings – from mortgages and leases, to transfers of ownership – will have likely been affected by the inability to wet sign, or physically sign a document. By validating witnessed electronic signatures for everyday property transactions, HM Land Registry not only encourages a more effective conveyancing process, that makes it faster and easier for people to move home, but encourages other businesses to embrace digital in this challenging environment.

“While there may be some initial security concerns, electronic signatures today have robust security precautions in place. Indeed, electronic signature technology must meet industry-recognised physical and technological security standards that guarantee secure transactions. This can significantly minimise fraud, especially when handling or approving documents for the conveyance of property. Long term, this will be the preferred means of documentation.”

1 Comment

  • test

    ““Anything to speed up the conveyancing process has got to be good news, actually great news. Time kills deals.”

    Or is it over-selling before buyers have the necessary to make informed decisions? According to government figures abortive transactions are a £271m pa problem and conveyancers need to engage enthusiastically in an holistic solution to demonstrate that they are not clinging to old practices for the money

    Good move but no panacea

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