Land Registry To Place Top Conveyancers Under The Microscope
Top 500 conveyancers will be holding their breath as the HM Land Registry will begin the process of publishing a league table of conveyancing firms who submit the most applications that require correction or further work this month.
The data will compile error rates from applications such as register updates, first registration and new leases which potentially holds up transactions. Furthermore, the imminent statistics of those conveyancing firms who submit the most documents is likely to indicate those handling the largest volume of transactions.
The Land Registry confirmed it sends out more than 3,000 information requests daily when customers forget vital details or supply erroneous information. This month, it will publish data which will ‘name and shame’ the top 500 conveyancers by the number of enquiries that they have raised, by volume of lodged complaints.
Figures collected from April to December 2018 period will contain data listing conveyancers alphabetically, the number of applications completed by the Land Registry, which will be arranged by application type, and the number of requests for information raised for each application type.
A further report which lists data for the first three months of 2019 will be published next month, followed by quarterly reports thereafter.
Back in December 2017 when the Land Registry initially put forward a proposal to the legal industry about their intention to publish error data, Andrew Robertson, head of customer policy at the registry commented on the organisation’s website that it wanted to be more transparent and publish conveyancing data “to provide citizens with the real picture on how well their conveyancer is performing, and to enable those same conveyancers to track their relative performance.”
Robertson further wrote that every day the registry currently sends 5,000 requisitions – and he describes a requisition as “a request for further information or action that we have had to send conveyancers before their applications can be completed.”
He admitted that HM Land Registry needed to improve its performance on consistency but he says that a goal of the organisation is to “make conveyancing simpler, faster and cheaper for everyone”.
But he says that the 5,000 requisitions every single working day is “holding us back.”
Over a year later, the HM Land Registry said that requisitions ‘‘delay the conveyancing process and cost us all time and money’.
By releasing the data to the public, the registry added: “it supports our ambition to become the world’s leading land registry for speed, simplicity and an open approach to data, and fulfills our business strategy target. It also supports the government’s industrial strategy, enabling closer alignment with the Competition and Markets Authority’s recommendation for greater transparency in the legal sector.”
Rob Hailstone, chief executive of Bold Legal Group, a conveyancing group said: “Anything that can help reduce the number of requisitions has to be a good thing. However, whether this exercise is fair on their top 500 customers remains to be seen.”
Over the past 12 months the Land Registry has been busy with the aim to achieve comprehensive registration of land and property in England and Wales by 2030 – currently, more than 85% of the land mass in England and Wales is registered.
The Registry is dedicated to becoming the world’s leading land registry for speed, simplicity and an open approach to data, and in the summer of 2018, they remarkably registered more than 25.2 million titles.
In November last year, the body’s plan to trial a wider set of rejection criteria on first registration applications (FR1) was successful – with the ultimate aim being the achievement of “simpler, faster and cheaper conveyancing”.
Earlier this year the Land Registry adopted Blockchain technology to create a safer and faster system – to ensure they keep up to date in terms of digitisation and implementation of new technology.