Guidance

HM Land Registry: processing times

Information on how quickly we will process your application.

Applies to England and Wales

We receive thousands of applications on a daily basis which we process as quickly as possible.

All applications, approximately 2.3 million per month. Information service requests, approximately 1.8 million per month. Register updates, approximately 430,000 per month. Register creates, approximately 43,000 per month.

Legal ownership rights are secured from the moment the application is received, not at point at which it is processed and completed. Every application we receive protects the transaction it is registering from the day we receive it. So, if there is no urgency, please wait for us to contact you.

If delays to your application might cause problems or put a property sale or any kind of property transaction at risk, you can request an expedite for free. We process the vast majority of expedited applications within 10 working days.

All timelines below are correct as of December 2022. The timelines reflect the average experience based on the previous month’s activity.

We cannot provide a specific date by which individual applications will be processed. For information on our best estimates of future processing times, please see our guidance on the estimated completion date tool within the portal.

We recognise that some of our processing times are not what we want them to be and improving the speed of our services is our top priority. We continue to make every effort to achieve this, including building our capacity through recruitment, developing digital application processes to make land registration quicker and easier, and making strides to increase our underlying productivity. For more details, please read our measures to support customers.

Information service requests

There are around 1.8 million service requests per month. 92.4% are completed in 1 day. 5.9% are completed in 2 days. 1.4% are completed in 3 days. 0.3% are completed in 4 days and over.

Our Information Services (sometimes known as register queries) cover:

  • official searches of whole
  • official searches of part
  • official copies
  • searches of the index map

Before you can buy or sell any property, it is critical that a conveyancer searches the Land Register for all the information relating to that property. It is essential these searches take place quickly to avoid delays.

It takes 1 to 2 days if we need to handle an application manually. Search of the index map can take 2 to 3 days.

Changes to existing registered titles

There are around 430,000 register updates per month. 31% are completed in 1 day. 7.9% are completed in 1 week. 27.5% are completed in a month. 33.6% are completed after a month.

Changes to existing titles (sometimes known as register update services) include:

  • registering property transfers
  • updating charges (mortgages) against a property
  • changing names on a property

This covers a range of services that usually take place once a property has been sold, after stamp duty land tax have been paid and the property has exchanged hands. Only then is the register updated with new owners with their relevant mortgage details and other interests. The legal interests of the applicant are protected from the moment HM Land Registry receives the application, regardless of how long it then takes to complete.

Just over 30% of applications to update the register are automated and completed within minutes. These include applications to remove a mortgage or registering a standard form of restriction.

Over half of the remaining applications to update the register, such as changing a name or transferring a property title, take 4 weeks to complete, with most completed in just under 4 months. We know that in some instances these applications are taking just under 8 months to complete.

Last month we received 430,000 applications to update the register. That is approximately 18% of our total intake.

More complex changes and new entries

There are 43,000 register creates per month. 11.6% are completed in 1 month. 15.6 are completed in 6 months. 20.8% are completed in 12 months. 52% are completed longer than a year.

These are our more complex application types, including multi-title applications submitted by developers, or major infrastructure projects. They also include registering property for the first time, dividing existing titles or lodging a new lease.

These applications include more errors and omissions, with between 55% and 65% of applications requiring clarification or further information, which delays the application.

Registering land or property for the first time (sometimes known as first registrations)

We complete half of all applications to register land or property for the first time in just over 13 months. We complete almost all in just under 14 months, but a minority might take a few weeks longer depending on the application.

Applications to divide existing titles (transfers of part) or register a new lease (dispositionary first lease)

Where preparatory work has been done, we complete half of applications to divide existing titles or register a new lease in just over 10 months. Almost all are completed in under 20 months.

Where no preparatory work has been done, half are completed in just over 12 months and almost all in just over 22 months. A minority might take a few months longer depending on the application.

The processing times differ depending on whether or not any preparatory work has been done with the developers to simplify the registration process prior to transactions taking place.

Measures to support customers

We have recruited more than 1,000 additional caseworkers between 2017 and 2022 to help process additional cases. We believe improvements can only be delivered through a combination of recruitment and training as well as automation. At the moment, 29% of our applications to change the register are automated – we want to increase this to up to 70% in the next 3 years.

More details can be found in two blogs on our recruitment and automation published in late 2022.

We are also exploring short term approaches. One includes our having created two dedicated teams focused on the oldest complex cases with a specific goal to reduce the processing times for these applications.

We are looking at ways to work with customers to reduce the number of times we chase for clarification or additional information.

Expedite an application (fast-track)

You can ask HM Land Registry to process your application urgently. The expedite process is available for applications where a delay would cause significant issues.

Contact HM Land Registry

You can send us a message or contact us by phone

Our guides answer many of the most common questions.

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Published 11 January 2023