The Land Registry has announced temporary changes that will make it easier to deal with execution of transfers, leases and other deeds relating to a disposition of an interest in land. 

The changes came in to effect on 4 May 2020 and are stated to apply ‘until further notice’.

  • Signing deeds:  In practice, Land Registry regulations have until now necessitated a conveyancer to hold an original ‘wet signed’ deed in order to complete the disposition.  Following the change in the rules, a signature page will still need to be signed in pen and witnessed in person (not by a video call).  However, the signature may now be captured, with a scanner or a camera, to produce a PDF, JPEG or other suitable copy of the signed signature page.  Each party must then send a single email to their conveyancer to which is attached the final agreed copy of the document and the copy of the signed signature page. 
  • Verifying a person’s identity:  Subject to limited exceptions, the application process for registering transfers, leases and other dispositions at the Land Registry requires the identity of the signatories to be verified.  Typically, where a party is not represented by a conveyancer, the conveyancer making the application must confirm they are satisfied that sufficient steps have been taken to verify the identity of that person or enclose evidence of identity in respect of that person.  This involves identification in person by a conveyancer or a Land Registry officer.  Following the change in the rules, verification of a person’s identity can now be done by video call and verification of identity can be confirmed by non-conveyancers from a specified list of professions including doctors, vets, teachers, bank officials and civil servants.  The change does not apply to an application to change a registered owner’s address or to change a name following a change of gender.
Further information

If you would like to find out more about the changes, please contact Jane Trevithick