Land Registry moves towards digital mortgage deeds

The Land Registry has made a further move towards a digital system by announcing it will accept mortgage deeds which have not been signed and witnessed on pen and paper for the first time in a trial.

What’s changed?

Currently, mortgage deeds need to be signed in the presence of a witness but the new process, which is only initially available to remortgage customers, would see this phased out in favour of online verification. Homeowners will need to digitally ‘sign’ their mortgage deed by entering certain personal information on a government forum.

Will this help me in the future?

The new system hopes to create a simpler and faster service that will eventually be rolled out nationwide by working with other mortgage lenders and conveyancers in the future.  It is hoped this will make transactions more instantaneous. In most cases, even if this system is rolled out to all transactions, those such as first time buyers or those moving along the property ladder, will still be required to sign a Transfer deed in front of a witness along with other documentation.

Are there any pitfalls?

The process is part of the Land Registry’s initiative to provide an open approach to data and it hopes this will provide a more secure service. However this move could prompt concerns of fraud in an area of law already plagued with ample opportunities for fraudsters to intercept transactions and forge necessary documentation. It is every conveyancers worst nightmare to be targeted by fraud in any way, and any new digital system needs to come equipped with ways to minimise any fraud and protect clients.

If you have any questions about how this might affect you or for more information please contact our Property experts.