HM Land Registry (HMLR) has published how many requests for information it sent to law firms about their applications, with one receiving them in 68% of those it submitted.
The largest number of requests issued in the last quarter of 2018 was 6,644 to volume conveyancer Enact, which was 17% of the 39,058 applications it made during that period – the largest of any firm.
Publication of the data makes good an HMLR pledge made in 2017 “to provide the end consumer with a real picture of how well their conveyancer is performing, and to enable firms to track their relative performance”.
HMLR has issued a CSV file naming the 500 customers that sent the highest volume of applications in each of the last three quarters, broken down into four types: first registration, transfers of part, new leases and register updates. It also records how many applications were processed and how many requests for information were made.
The accompanying guidance acknowledged that HMLR sometimes raised requests for information “through no fault of the applicant or a third party”, but also that “some of these issues arise from errors and oversights by conveyancers and in other cases from third parties not providing the evidence they need in a timely fashion”.
It continued: “Proportionally, more requests for information are raised for register creation applications than register update applications. This is because register creation applications are more complex and so there is more scope for requests for information to arise.
“So, conveyancers whose business involves a greater proportion of work that results in new titles may receive proportionately more requests for information than a firm with a different profile of work.”
We went through the most recent quarter’s data (October to December 2018) and calculated the number of requests for information as a percentage of applications lodged.
A lot of firms were in the 15-35% band and made fewer than 1,000 applications. Welsh firm Collingbourne Hennah Law recorded the highest percentage – 68% – on 422 applications submitted. The previous quarter’s figure was 49% on 888 applications.
Other notably high figures were Leicester firm Edward Hands & Lewis (49%), Bright Solicitors in Plymouth (47%), Essex firm Paul Robinson & Co (44%), London firm Alexander JLO (42%), Cavendish Legal Group in London (42%), Birmingham’s Davisons Solicitors (41%), and Tamworth firm Glover Priest (41%).
At the other end of the scale, City firm Devonshires received requests on just 3.4% of its 5,082 applications, while Eversheds Sutherland recorded 5.5% on 20,638 applications and Trowers & Hamlins 6% on 5,722 applications. Lowell Solicitors had just 1.8%, but all of its applications were for register updates.
Of the other big volume conveyancers (minimum 8,000 applications), the request rates were: Gordons Property Lawyers (12%), Grindeys (14%), Hugh James (13%), My Home Move (18%), O’Neill Patient (22%), and Optima Legal (16%).
The only users that consistently recorded either no or hardly any requests were lenders, which were only making applications for register updates.
The data can be downloaded here.