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Land Registry Delays | Expediting Registrations at HM Land Registry (HMLR)

If you have purchased property in the last 3 years it may not be registered in your name at Land Registry due to historic backlogs. You can check this online by using the official Land Registry portal. See my Article on Obtaining Your Deeds for more information on how to do this. You may also want to speak with your original Conveyancer.

Both Conveyancers, and the public, have access to the online portal of filed deeds and documents. Anyone can request an application be prioritised. These are public documents and the Registry is a public service. This also means that copies of deeds can be downloaded for a small fee by anyone. Nothing is confidential, including party names, addresses and the price paid.

Like most Government bodies Land Registry are slow and understaffed. As a result there is a huge backlog. This was the case pre-Covid and is now far worse. Current estimates are that registrations take approximately 10 to 12 months for simple matters (i.e. not leasehold or new builds). The more complex transaction types take even longer. On new builds the plots have to be registered in a specific order. The Registry cannot register some plots until the previous plots have gone through. it has been known for New Builds to take 3 years, or more, to register.

Expediting Registrations

If you are remortgaging, or selling, and need the registration to go through urgently you can request your registration be expedited or prioritised via your Conveyancer or direct with the Registry. You need to have a good reason for your request and you must be able to provide written evidence. This may be where you need to remortgage as you are suffering financial distress, or your mortgage offer will expire shortly so you need the registration to proceed or parties in your chain are threatening to withdraw.

You must be able to provide evidence. The Registry are well aware that If they could, everyone would request that their registration be expedited. Expediting any registration then becomes impossible as Land Registry cannot do them all at the same time. If you are selling and need to expedite then your Estate Agent’s Memorandum of Sale is sufficient evidence. Or in a remortgage your lender’s mortgage offer will suffice.

You can liaise with your Conveyancer who can assist you with an expedition request. However, bear in mind that even after expediting a registration the Registry may take up to 10 working days, or longer, to complete the application. Plus, before registration they can raise numerous enquiries (requisitions) and these must be satisfied before successful registration. Points raised are usually requests for more documents, information or evidence where the Registry are not satisfied with the information provided. They can be particular.

There is no guarantee that a request to expedite will be successful. In some instances a previous registration is holding up your registration. For example where the same land is involved such as with development / new build sites. Developers may have a convoluted title for the Registry to work through.

If you bought with a mortgage or finance then non-registration will breach your lender's terms and conditions. You are required to obtain registration in a timely fashion. A lender can take action for non-registration. Even where this is outside of your control. This is obviously worrying given how far behind Land Registry are.

The Registry is not required to complete a registration and will not do so if not satisfied. They can also cancel applications which they feel are substantially defective. They are known for being pedantic. It is vital therefore to be sure your Conveyancer has all they need before completion as registration into your name is not guaranteed. This is yet another reason that Conveyancers must be thorough. Something which takes time and should not be rushed.

There are numerous press articles about the national delays at Land Registry. I have set out some examples below:

Wales Online

Wales Online article on Land Registry delays

LinkedIn Professionals

LinkedIn & Telegraph

Land Registry delays

Yahoo Finance & Telegraph

Land Registry backlog

The Guardian

Homeowners suffer due to Land Registry delays



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