The Land Registry has opened consultation on the regulations needed to make electronic conveyancing for people buying or selling property a reality.
The move will replace the current paper-based conveyancing system with electronic documents, requisitions and signatures. The Land Registry’s e-conveyancy programme also aims to use technology to make the system more efficient for professionals and reduce the delay and anxiety for members of the public who are buying or selling a house.
The legislative framework for e-conveyancy was established with the 2002 Land Registration Act, but this requires secondary legislation – regulations – to put it into operation.
Launching its consultation on draft regulations, the Land Registry said: “We realise that conveyancing involves extremely complicated processes that cannot easily be converted from paper into an electronic system.”
The first part of the consultation covers proposals for network access rules and electronic communications. A second stage of consultation will cover e-conveyancing processes and services in more detail and will include draft network transaction rules, setting out which transactions can be carried out electronically.
In December, the Land Registry signed a three-year multimillion-pound contract with IBM to provide a security system for its web-based services. The contract covers secure access, document authentication and an electronic signature system to support the e0-conveyancy programme. The registry is also testing a prototype online system to track the “chains” of house buyers and sellers and their transactions.