Law Commission Recommendations to Reform Land Registration Act Could Contribute to Conveyancer delays

Following our article last week on how the recent proposals on reforming the Land Registration Act of 2002 could prevent fraud, many people now fear that additional standards and protocols will create increased delays to the home buying process. 

The report published last week suggested that conveyancers had a ‘duty of care’ to carry out identity checks and minimise the exploitation of fraudsters. 

Following the report, there have been a number of concerns as to the viability of electronic system improvements and the pressure it places on already tight schedules for conveyancers. 

Jeremy Raj, national head of residential at Irwin Mitchell, comments: “The suggestion of another set of standards for conveyancers to adhere to however, is likely to increase administration and delays in the conveyancing process and divert attention from the real objective of combating fraudsters. 

“Modern conveyancers have many masters, all of whom wish to set new agendas, whilst claiming to make things simpler and cheaper. The government should be wary of allowing the regulatory burden to increase without forcing all the interested parties to sign up to what is proposed.” 

Regarding criticism involving the technological improvements, the Law Society of Ireland claim: “the development of a fully electronic conveyancing system will dramatically reduce the total transaction time for buying a house – to as little as five working days in some cases. The current paper-based process is creaking at the seams and cannot deal with the demands of the modern property market.” 

Whilst a system like this could improve efficiency, in theory, the logistics have been a lot more difficult to achieve.  Despite The Law Society of England and Wales’ failed attempts at creating the eConveyancing system Veyo, a conveyancing portal that will create a paperless system, from pre-sale to post-completion, conveyancing process is still a preferred option. 

It is hoped that all sections of the conveyancing process – including the Land Registry, HMRC, banks and building societies – will be able to access and use the portal. Although new providers had committed to bring free products to market for e-conveyancing in the future, the sector still awaits such a system.  

Although streamlining the system and creating a shared database could improve fraud prevention and eventually reduce transaction times, the current eConveyancing system and reforms to conveyancers could apply additional pressure on conveyancer deadlines and lead to further delays. 

Are conveyancers concerned that the new reforms will place additional pressure on already tight and time-consuming deadlines?   


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