Land Registry deserves protection
Coodes Solicitors’ Conveyancing Executive Kirsty Baigent comments on the potential privatisation of the Land Registry and how it could affect homeowners.
“A Government consultation has just ended on the proposed privatisation of the 150-year-old Land Registry. For 23.3 million homeowners, the ‘deeds’ to your property–the most valuable asset most of us will ever own–not only contain your full names and address but also any associated mortgages and financial charges. Under the proposed new regime, this information would be licensed from the Crown to a new private, limited company. Very little information has come out about how the private ownership would work and the UK’s leading legal body, the Law Society, has raised concerns about data protection and has called for a number of safeguards should the sale go ahead.
“The Land Registry has a ‘State-Backed Guarantee’, which means the Register of each property in England and Wales is guaranteed to be correct. Compensation is payable to anyone who has suffered a loss by reason of a mistake in the Register. While the consultation suggests this principle will remain in place no details on how this will work in future have been put forward.
“This is not the first time the Government has tried to privatise the Land Registry. Back in 2014, 91% of people opposed the sale, with 89% stating they would not be comfortable with a non-civil servant processing Land Registry information. At that time the Law Society warned that privatisation could ‘undermine the integrity of the register.’
“The outcome of the consultation is expected to come out later this summer. Whatever the outcome it is vital that priority is given to the fundamental security and guarantee of accuracy in the data handled by the Land Registry or its successor.
“We will be closely watching how this develops and, whatever the result, will continue to offer the best service to our clients.”
For further advice and assistance on buying or selling your home, please contact Kirsty Baigent by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01726 874721.