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22 May 2020

LAND REGISTERS REVISED EMERGENCY NOTE TO PRACTITIONERS - 21st MAY 2020

 

Further to my note to practitioners of 28th April 2020, I am pleased to advise that good progress has been made in the processing of the applications for the 7 key services detailed in the note.

Since then, the new LandWeb Direct service which enables users to top up accounts by card, amongst other features, has been rolled out to over 50 firms and feedback has been very positive.  All requests for the topping up of suspense accounts by post and bank transfer are also currently up to date.

A remote solution for the registration of applications has also now been rolled out to the majority of casework staff.  Piloting of the solution requires caseworkers to process in a live environment.  Accordingly, a number of existing cases have been selected for processing and some solicitors will receive confirmation that applications have been registered.  Alternatively, queries will be raised as appropriate.

In relation to services going forward, I am pleased to advise:-

1. Solicitors can continue to lodge applications for the 7 key services. 

2. Land Registry will from today accept correspondence (including objections) for existing cases.

3. The Land Registry telephone line (0300 200 7803) will re-open for calls on 26th May 2020.

4. Preparatory work has been taking place in relation to priority searches.  From 8th June 2020 (“the re-opening date” as per practitioners note of 30th March 2020), the following will apply:-

* Any priority note currently registered on the Register with an expiry date on or after 25th March 2020, will have an expiry date of 8th June 2020 in accordance with Rule 188.

* Any priority search application received in the Registry on or prior to 24th March 2020 but not yet registered, will have a priority period of 40 working days from 8th June 2020.

* Any priority search application lodged in the Registry from 25th March 2020, will have a priority period of 40 working days from 8th June 2020.

Draft priority notes will be entered on to the Register prior to 8th June 2020 to enable speedy registration from 8th June 2020 and priority search certificates will start to issue from 8th June 2020.

5. Practitioners are advised that from 8th June 2020, service for new priority search applications will resume.  Solicitors should lodge electronic priority searches where possible.

6. Land Registry will accept all new applications for the Land Registry Register from 8th June 2020.  In the interim, practitioners may post their new applications for the Land Registry Register but these will be held and deemed received on 8th June 2020.

To curb the spread of coronavirus and support social distancing, the Customer Information Centre will remain closed at this stage and post will only be accepted by DX and Royal Mail.

Practitioners should note that reduced staffing levels to enable social distancing may impact upon the time required to deal with all transactions.  It is therefore imperative that solicitors lodge accurate applications to enable cases to be dealt with in an efficient manner.

I would like to thank all Land Registry staff for all of their hard work both on site and remotely since 24th March 2020.  I would also like to thank the profession for their patience and understanding through this difficult period.

 

CHRISTINE FARRELL

Registrar of Titles

21st May 2020

Any issues arising should be sent to Andrew Kirkpatrick, Head of Non Contentious Business at:  andrew.kirkpatrick@lawsoc-ni.org.



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