In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Land Registry have announced welcome (albeit currently temporary) changes when verifying a person’s identity and for signing deeds which will ease at least some of the difficulties faced in completing on conveyancing transactions.
At the beginning of any property transaction, photographic identification verification and proof of address verification is a requirement by the Land Registry to prevent fraudulent transactions. Up to 4 May 2020, the Land Registry would only accept certain professions to verify identification, however, they have now broadened this list to include (to name a few) teachers, college and university staff and regulated financial advisers making the identification process more readily accessible.
As well as the above, the Land Registry have also confirmed that identity can be verified by way of video call (a move which takes the Land Registry firmly into the 21st century). This will not only allow clients’ transactions to progress quicker, it will also now be much easier to verify identification permitting clients to confirm their identity from the comfort of their own homes. Our specialist property lawyers at Leathes Prior have the forms of technology required, whether they are working from home or in the office, to verify identification for clients and are embracing the changes in the requirements having already (within 24 hours of the new guidance) verified a number of identifications by way of video call.
For conveyancers this change is a game-changer and will really assist in progressing transactions. From 4 May 2020, the Land Registry will now accept deeds that have been signed using the ‘Mercury signing approach’.
Although the signature pages of the deeds will still need to be printed, clients can now sign the signature page (in front of a witness) and simply scan or photograph the signature page and send to the conveyancer by email. The conveyancer can then use the signed page to complete on the transaction meaning clients no longer have to send the original signed document to our offices by post or hand-delivery.
These changes provide us with the ability to complete on remortgages, new build sales and purchases, right to buy purchases and sales/purchases of tenanted or vacant properties anywhere in the UK in a skilled and efficient manner.
Even if transactions are unable to complete until the Government’s restrictions are lifted, the above two changes will allow us to act quickly as soon as completion is able to take place.
We are still taking on new instructions, so please do contact our specialist property lawyers by email or by telephone 01603 610911 for a no obligation discussion about your requirements.