In light of the current Covid-19 restrictions, Land Registry have made a few temporary changes to some of their practices, procedures and policies. These are summarised below.
Verification of identity
Land Registry will not reject applications where evidence or confirmation of identity is completely missing, until further notice (requisitions will be raised where the information is missing or insufficient).
Land Registry will accept forms ID1 and ID2 which were completed up to 6 months before the application to which they relate is submitted for registration (previously expired after 3 months).
In addition to conveyances and chartered legal executives, verification can also be undertaken by people who work, or have worked, in the following professions:
- retired conveyancers, chartered legal executives, solicitors and barristers;
- bank officials and regulated financial advisers;
- medical doctors, dentists and veterinary surgeons;
- chartered and certified accountants;
- police officers and officers in the UK armed forces;
- teachers and college and university teaching staff;
- Members of Parliament and Welsh Assembly members;
- UK civil servants of senior executive officer (SEO) grade or above; or
The verification can also be done by video call. If you verify someone’s identity by video call the purpose of completing a form ID1 or ID2, you need to take a screenshot photograph of the person whose identity you are verifying and also complete the new form ID5. The ID5 must accompany the ID1 or ID2 lodged with an application. The screenshot photograph should be retained – it should not be lodged with the form ID5.
Further details are set out in the new Practice Guide 67A: temporary changes to HM Land Registry’s evidence of identity requirements:
Deed signing requirements
Under the Land Registry’s usual registration requirements, any transfer submitted as part of a registration application must have a 'wet signature' (i.e., the conveyance must have had sight of the original signed transfer deed). However, Land Registry will accept deeds that have been signed using the ‘Mercury signing approach’ until further notice, to help facilitate property transactions during the Covid-19 outbreak. This approach will apply to transfers (and other dispositionary deeds) submitted for registration from 4 May 2020.
The steps for the Mercury signing approach are as follows:
- Final agreed copies of the transfer / deed are emailed to each party by their conveyancer.
- Clients sign the signature page of a transfer in pen in the physical presence of a witness.
- The witness signs the signature page.
- The client either scans or takes a picture of the signed and witnessed page to create a PDF, JPEG or similar image.
- The client emails the image to their conveyancer who will attach it to a copy of the agreed final version of the transfer.
- The conveyancing transaction is completed.
- The final agreed copy of the transfer / deed and the signed signature page is submitted to Land Registry for registration.
Please note the Land Registry rules on witnessing a transfer have not been changed - the transfer / deed must be witnessed in person. Video witnessing is still not permitted.
Land Registry’s practice guide 8 (section 12) has been amended to reflect these temporary changes:
For further information please contact Sian Carter.