Land Registry is making it easier to register a property in England and Wales. It is to become the sole registering authority for Local Land Charges (LLC) in England and Wales, leading to a standardised national fee for the first time and an end to the existing ‘postcode lottery’.
The changes will also lead to an improved, standardised and digital service and will result in better access to property information and a more streamlined conveyancing process.
Preparatory work will begin from April 2015 for a phased migration of the LLC service to begin later that year.
The announcement was made as Land Registry unveiled the results of its consultation into extending its powers and assuming statutory responsibility for a digitised LLC register for England and Wales.
Ed Lester, Chief Land Registrar and Chief Executive, said:
The proposals will provide a one-stop shop digital LLC search service, which will improve and standardise the service through faster turnaround times. This is consistent with Government’s digital by default agenda and will ease the process of buying property.
We have listened to the consultation feedback on LLC and have made a number of changes to the original proposals. For example, the period covered by an LLC official search will not now be limited to 15 years.
The proposals support wider government priorities to improve the ease of registering a property in the UK, digitise government services and make public data more easily accessible for the benefit of the wider economy.
At present, local land charges are maintained and delivered by each of the 348 local authorities. Fees vary between £3 and £96, with a turnaround time of between 1 and 42 days. More than 1 million local land charge searches are undertaken annually by conveyancers as part of residential and commercial property transactions and remortgages.
The necessary changes to the Land Registration Act 2002 and Local Land Charges Act 1975 were referenced in the Queen’s speech and will form part of the proposed Infrastructure Bill which is expected to complete its passage through Parliament by March 2015.
These measures are separate to the consultation on the future commercial model of Land Registry. No decision has been made yet and the Government will publish its response to the public consultation shortly.
Notes to editors
- an infographic showing the current and proposed LLC process
- Land Registry will implement the following proposals outlined in the consultation:
- to extend Land Registry’s current legal powers under the Land Registration Act 2002 to enable it to engage in the provision of information and register services relating to land and other property, including the provision of consultancy and advisory services.
- to take over responsibility as the sole registering authority for local land charges to enable it to hold and maintain a composite local land charges register for England and Wales and be the sole provider of local land charges official search results.
- the consultation ran from16 January to 9 March 2014 and received over 620 responses. The Government Response and Impact Assessment can be found here
- Land Registry developed a local land charges prototype with Sefton, Liverpool, Denbighshire, Newark and Sherwood, Swindon, Havant and Watford local authorities which ran from May to November 2013.
- the local authority search (LLC1 and CON29) or the equivalent search report provided by a private search company, forms part of the standard conveyancing process for the purchase and remortgage of land and property.
- the LLC1 has 12 different parts covering a wide range of areas which can include tree preservation orders; listed buildings; financial charges registered against the property; conservation areas; enforcement notices and further property related entries.
- the CON29 search can reveal planning history; building control regulations; highway information; public footpaths and byways; gas pipelines and further property related entries.
- during 2014, a pilot for CON29 searches will be developed with a number of local authorities and the private sector
- with the largest transactional database of its kind holding almost 24 million titles, Land Registry underpins the economy by safeguarding ownership of many billions of pounds worth of property.
- as a government department established in 1862, executive agency and trading fund responsible to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Land Registry keeps and maintains the Land Register for England and Wales. The Land Register has been an open document since 1990.
- for further information about Land Registry, see www.gov.uk/land-registry and our blog. You can also find us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.