16 April 2020
Practice Note update from Land Registry
The Society has received the following revised Practice Note from Land Registry:
LAND REGISTERS REVISED
EMERGENCY NOTE TO PRACTITIONERS 10th APRIL 2020
Over the last
number of days, myself and a small team of Land Registry staff volunteers have
worked continuously to log the outstanding post on to the Registry of Deeds and
Statutory Charges registers. I am
pleased to say that all applications received by post prior to closure have now
paragraph 3 of the Emergency Note to Practitioners of 30th March
2020 (as revised on 6th April) is hereby varied as follows:-
neither being processed nor receipted and reliance can be placed upon the Land
Registry, Statutory Charges Register and the Registry of Deeds and searches up
to and including close of business on 24th March 2020. Reliance can be placed upon the Ground Rents
register up to and including 16th March 2020.
In all other
regards the original Emergency Note to Practitioners of 30th March
staff were also able to top up a number of solicitors’ suspense accounts and
those firms have been advised by email accordingly. Land Registry managers have also been engaged
with our IT supplier in the development of a solution to enable suspense
accounts to be topped up without the intervention of staff. A prototype is currently being tested
remotely by staff and it is hoped that this will be made available to a small
number of firms over the next number of days for piloting. If successful, our IT supplier intends to
migrate this solution to solicitors firms in small batches in due course. Further information in relation to this will
The Law Society
in the 2020/13 publication of the Conveyancing and Covid-19 update has
indicated that it is pressing for the Land Registers to return to full
functionality. A full service would
require the majority of our staff to return to the workplace and interact at
close proximity. As I am not willing to
place the health and safety of our staff, others and, in particular, NHS
workers at risk, practitioners should note that it is unlikely that Land
Registry will re-open in the short term.
Arrangements are being drawn up for the phasing in of reduced working
for key services, but it is not likely that these will come in to operation
until after the peak of the pandemic passes.
Details will follow in due course.
In the meantime,
engagement with UK Finance and the lending institutions continues and it
appears that a number of lenders are satisfied with the arrangements that Land
Registry has put in place.
At this stage I
would like to thank the team of volunteers who worked with me on site over the
last several weeks to update the registers.
In addition, the Deputy Registrar, the legal team and a group of
managers have worked long hours to answer queries from practitioners, financial
institutions and members of the public for which I am thankful. Our IT supplier has also provided an
exceptional and prompt service during this period and, in particular, has
engaged with solicitors to provide training sessions on user functionality
which is over and above their current role.
Again, I appreciate their assistance and efforts.
I hope to revert
to practitioners with an update shortly.
In the interim I wish everyone well over the Easter period.
Any issues arising should be sent to Andrew Kirkpatrick, Head of Non
Contentious Business at: firstname.lastname@example.org.