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Will Land Registry Privatisation be good for Conveyancing ?

 The Land Registry has this week announced 1500 job losses. With further talk of increasing public sector redundancies in the near future, the news that bankers are once again receiving bonuses is lamentable. Land Registry web site.

Within my 15 years of experience in the conveyancing industry, I am assured that the Land Registry is a reputable and commendable organisation. It has repeatedly re-invented itself and has an enviable record of operational improvement. This is in contrast to some public sector organisations which have failed to move forward with the times and have remained in the ‘dark ages’.

During my years of conveyancing, Land Registry fees have decreased rather than increased. Moreover, speed has been improved to the point that many documents that would have taken days to receive are now instantly available.

Satisfaction percentages amongst customers and conveyancers have once again reached the dizzy heights of the late nineties. Major innovations, such as the ending of paper deeds, were introduced seamlessly in a way that would have been almost impossible to imagine in the private sector.   It is possible for members of the public or conveyancing sector to receive expert clear and pragmatic advice over the phone.

However, whilst the Registry has provided increased certainty and clarity for property owners, this has been undermined by the financial services industry pulling in the opposite direction – trading polluted titles. It is this which has caused the housing industry, and consequently the property transfer industry, to contract, bringing the Registry to its knees.

 Including the Land Registry in the government’s ‘car boot sale’, may well result in slowing down conveyancing, as there is no guarantee that the private sector will not totally mismanage the Land Registry.

Whilst considering this situation, the old saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it “comes to mind.

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