07 April 2020
Conveyancing and COVID-19 Updates Issue Number 2020/13
1. Land Registry
Members will be aware of the various guidance notes issued by the Society over the past number of weeks as well as the Revised Emergency Practice Note from the Land Registry which was issued on 6th April.
The Society welcomes the improvement in the position of the Registry laid out in that Revised Emergency Practice Note. However it is recognised that there is still considerable work to be done to restore full functionality and the Society will be pressing for this at Registry, Department and Ministerial levels. In particular there are issues around the processing of applications for registrations at Land Registry and applications to the Registry of Deeds and it is hoped that solutions will be found to these issues soon. Members must also be mindful of the other issues involved if clients are physically moving house, particularly the guidance from the government and the terms of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (NI) Regulations 2020 (links below).
As it currently stands, it would appear to the Society that the gap in hard copy registrations received by the Registry from 18th March to 24th March has now been closed and that this should remove the need for clients to obtain title indemnity insurance in this regard.
The application of Rule 188 also provides assistance to members in clarifying what will be required when the Registry re-opens, and when it will be required.
The Society would advise members that they should therefore lodge priority searches where possible and that these should be renewed prior to the date that they would have expired in the normal course of events. If members do renew their priority searches, details should be provided to the Registry at Solictor.Enquiries@finance-ni.gov.uk to enable a refund to be paid in due course.
Further updates and guidance will follow in due course when appropriate.
2. Regional Property Certificate Unit
The Regional Property Certificate Unit have provided their business continuity plan and application form to enable services to continue to be provided remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. Links to the documents are below:
see links documents below