HM Land Registry has announced that it will accept electronic signatures along with witness signatures, which will make moving home quicker and simpler.
Individuals can now electronically sign for transfers of ownership of property, mortgages, leases, and other property dealings, but they will require a witness present at the time of signing to also sign the documents electronically.
The Land Registry, after seeking feedback from across the sector, has published for conveyancers a new practice guidance on how to use electronic signatures and enable providers of electronic signatures develop accessible and affordable tools for conveyancers to use.
HM Land Registry already accepts signing of deeds using the “Mercury signing approach”, this will remain as another way to completing a deed.
HM Land Registry and the sector are currently holding talks to introduce qualified electronic signatures and if they are a successful option for completing property transactions, the continued use of witnessed electronic signatures will be reviewed.
To improve the ease of buying and selling and increase resilience against fraud the HM Land Registry are exploring whether using Digital identity checking technology as used in other sectors to be introduced to the conveyancing industry.
A welcome development but equally open to fraud.