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Home » Latest News » Online signing of deeds – e-sig just a click away?

Online signing of deeds – e-sig just a click away?

Online signing of deeds – e-sig just a click away?

The Land Registry has recently announced a new consultation proposing changes to the Land Registration Rules 2003 in an effort to modernise the somewhat archaic Land Registry’s services in a new era of digital transformation.

The ideology behind the changes is to make it quicker and easier for customers to deal with the Land Registry, allowing for the introduction of fully digital conveyancing documents with e-signatures to be used for land transactions.

How much of an impact the proposed changes will have initially is questionable, starting with electronic mortgages to be utilised where there is no change of ownership of a property. Future developments are then expected to be implemented including, most notably, the transfers of property.

Once established, this method of signing would be much quicker and more convenient for the parties to simply sign documentation online, rather than waiting for this to be delivered through the often unreliable postal system.

Whilst the pre-completion element of a transaction would certainly be more efficient, this is not ‘electronic conveyancing’ as originally envisaged by the Land Registration Act 2002 whereby completion of a transfer would automatically update the register without the need for involvement of Land Registry staff.

The significant delays that many clients have experienced between completion of the deal and the date of registration (being the point at which the buyer becomes the legal owner) would therefore remain unresolved.

Whilst the changes are surely to be welcomed, what also remains to be seen is whether the updated system will provide adequate security and integrity to its users.

The consultation period commenced on 9 February 2017 and the closing date for responses is 5 April 2017.