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Land Registry claims progress towards digital mortgage

The following article has been extracted from The Law Society Gazette:

Tests have begun of an all-digital process to create, sign and register a mortgage deed, the Land Registry of England and Wales has revealed.

Writing on the agency’s blog, Shaun Ewings, deputy product manager of Land Registry’s digital mortgage service, says that a ‘small pilot version’ has been in operation over the past few weeks.

‘It doesn’t create a legal deed yet, so borrowers still need to sign a paper deed, but it has allowed us to test that the things we’ve built do work in the real world,’ he states.

‘This approach has helped us to improve and tweak things as we’ve gone along.’

The identities of parties using the system will be authenticated by the government’s Gov.UK Verify service, Ewings says.

This system, which went live earlier this year, enables users who have registered with an approved independent ‘identity provider’, including the Post Office and credit checker Experian, to sign up online for secure government services.

The first version of the service is aimed at those in the remortgage market, Ewings says.

‘As these transactions tend to be more straightforward, taking this approach means that we can concentrate on delivering a service that will work for most of those using the service, more of the time. In time, we’ll be developing our digital services to handle more complex transactions.’

Speeding up digital transformation is one of the stated ambitions for the government’s controversial plan to sell Land Registry operations to the private sector.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is expected to respond to the consultation in the autumn.

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