Electronic documents validated with digital signatures will finally replace paper property deeds if a set of proposals by Land Registry is approved. The agency yesterday released for consultation its plans to amend the 2003 Land Registration Rules to allow fully electronic conveyancing.
- Accepting documents signed electronically through the government's Gov.UK.Verify system, under which third parties certify citizens' identity when interacting with the government online. Such signatures, the document states, do not need witnessing because the identity assurance takes place before the e-signature can be used;
- Enabling wholly electronic mortgages, at first when there is no change in ownership of the property. Conveyancers will create electronic mortgage deeds online, giving the borrowers a link through which they can sign electronically;
- Revoking rules requiring certain documents to be retained and amending the definition of 'working day' to take into account changes in working practices as well as the 'proper office' order stating where applications should be lodged;
Overall, the proposed changes 'will allow the incremental introduction of secure electronic conveyancing and registration services,' the document states. 'It will allow the flexibility and speed that is vital in the digital world'.