Land Registry pilot aims to stop lenders chasing conveyancers

Harlow: Pilot will give time back to conveyancers

HM Land Registry (HMLR) is working with mortgage lenders to ensure they no longer need to chase conveyancers for updates on the progress of registration applications.

In a new pilot, HMLR is providing data on the progress of their applications directly to the 10 lenders that represent the vast majority (over 85%) of the market.

The new service would be “more efficient, save time and drive valuable savings for lenders and conveyancers”, it said.

HMLR receives around 20,000 calls a month to check on the progress of an application.

To benefit from the pilot, applications just need to include the lenders’ unique reference (known as an ‘MD’ reference).

Those involved are Lloyds, NatWest, Nationwide, Santander, Barclays, HSBC, Coventry Building Society, Yorkshire Building Society, Virgin Money and TSB, along with conveyancing panel managers LMS and Decision First (which runs Lender Exchange).

If the pilot is successful, HMLR said it would look to extend it to other lenders with an MD reference.

Solicitor Mike Harlow, HMLR’s deputy chief executive and director of customer and strategy, said: “Lenders want to know that their mortgages are either registered or in the proper process of being registered. This new direct service completes the picture of where the registration of their mortgage has got to.

“Now they do not have to chase conveyancers unless something is genuinely at risk. This should save the industry millions of pounds a year and give time back to conveyancers.”

Rob Stevens, head of property risk at Nationwide Building Society, described the pilot as “a breakthrough moment” and the culmination of many months of work.

“It will really help to automate the unregistered charges process and save both lenders and conveyancers time by reducing the amount of back and forth between the two.”

A spokesperson for Yorkshire Building Society added: “Conveyancing processes are notoriously complex, fast-paced and, sometimes, stressful, so any innovation which helps to make the process less time-consuming is to be welcomed.”

Justin Parkinson, managing director of Decision First, said: “Getting direct updates on the status of our mortgages will significantly streamline our work and that of the conveyancers we work with.”

HMLR will only share data to identify the application, the property concerned and where the property is in the registration process, including completed and cancelled applications. It said there may be some exceptions that mean lenders still need to chase conveyancers for updates.

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