Land: Registration

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 26th April 2022.

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Photo of Geoffrey Cox Geoffrey Cox Conservative, Torridge and West Devon

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the average time taken is for registrations of land by the land registry in each of the last three years; and what recent assessment he has made of adequacy of the efficiency of the land registry.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

HM Land Registry (HMLR) processed over 135,000 information service requests or applications to change the Land Register every day in 2021/22.

Approximately 88% were information service requests. Over 90% of these were delivered instantly via digital services, with the remainder delivered within three days. Applications to change the Register make up the other 12% of requests and vary widely in type and complexity.

Both customer demand and HMLR’s overall output is higher than three years ago. At the same time, HMLR has focused a greater proportion of its resource on the less frequent, but more complex applications that it best supports the needs of all customers. As a result, and while precise comparisons with three years ago are not straightforward due to differences in processes for customers and categorisation of case type, this rebalancing has increased the average waiting time for all cases, despite the increase in overall output. Over the last quarter, the average time to process changes for all cases was 7 weeks compared to 4 weeks during the same period last year. The time taken to process an application to change the Register should not impact a property sale because it takes place after a transaction has completed. However, if a delay might have a negative impact on future transactions, customers can request for any change to be fast tracked for no extra cost. HMLR is currently processing up to an average 950 of these applications each day (up from around 550 in April 2021). It has maintained a 95% rate of completion within 10 working days across all fast tracked applications.

HMLR is making significant investment in long-term transformation. In the next three years it will have automated most applications to amend the Register and re-focused its expert caseworkers onto processing the most complex applications. It will also have started to improve the quality and accessibility of geospatial data to realise its vision of a fully informed property market that supports the wider economy.

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