Online map helps professionals establish property information

Today, Land Registry launches its latest digital service, MapSearch. This free service offers land and property professionals a searchable online version of Land Registry’s Index Map that contains the location of all registered land and property in England and Wales. This marks a significant step in its drive to provide straightforward and convenient digital services for its customers. 

With MapSearch, customers can quickly establish whether land and property is registered and obtain further information such as the unique reference number that Land Registry assigns to each property. Before MapSearch, a common way for customers to find this information was through a ‘Search of the Index map’ (SIM) application. A SIM application carries a fee and requires Land Registry caseworkers to manually investigate the application and return the results.

Simon Cairns, leader of Land Registry’s Digital Service Delivery programme says, “The government aims to save between £1.7 and £1.8 billion each year by being ‘digital by default’. At Land Registry, we’re contributing by redesigning, simplifying and digitising our services, which allows us to focus on using our skills to better meet the needs of our customers.”

Angela Jackson, Head of Product Development comments on MapSearch, “The Index Map is an essential part of Land Registry’s service delivery. It stores details for every property we’ve ever registered in England and Wales, layering the data onto the Ordnance Survey map.

“We involved customers at every stage of development and we’re delighted to offer them the option of querying the map themselves. This can save them time and money, while allowing our caseworkers’ to support the more complex aspects of land registration.”

Up to 12,000 customers have used the ‘beta’ version of the service through Land Registry’s online transactional channel, the portal with about 2,000 customers using the service each day in March. Feedback from testers has been very positive.

David Roberts, Legal Director, Morgoed Estates Limited says: “We have been using MapSearch for several weeks now, and it has become absolutely indispensable!”

Lucy Edwards, Senior Practice Development Lawyer, Pinsent Masons LLP says: “I have never had so much unsolicited feedback from fee earners about how easy to use, how good and how useful something is. We see real benefits in the facility. On the day I sent the email to advise fee earners that the facility was available, I had six fee earners (unsolicited) tell me how wonderful it was.”

Land Registry has digitised several services over the past two years, such as the electronic Document Registrations Service (e-DRS). Launched in December 2012, e-DRS enables customers to lodge applications electronically, rather than through the post. Over 2,000 customers now use e-DRS, and have submitted nearly half a million applications electronically. This has saved businesses and government a substantial amount of money in postage costs alone. 

Land Registry is also offering further incentives to customers who use digital services over paper services. Yesterday it reduced its fees for certain applications that are lodged electronically.

Today's Conveyancer