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From 4 May HM Land Registry are introducing temporary changes to assist with ongoing land transactions during COVID-19. These measures are only temporary during the current pandemic and may be modified or withdrawn at any time.

The first temporary change is in relation to the requirements for signing deeds. You will still need to sign the property deed by hand and have your signature witnessed in person. It will then be enough for either a photograph or a scanned copy of the signature page to be emailed to your solicitor, provided that the email is accompanied with a copy of the final agreed deed. The original ‘wet ink’ signature page does not need to be returned to your solicitor if an electronic copy is provided instead.

The changes have also made it easier to verify your identity to HM Land Registry. Usually, you are required to visit a solicitor, barrister or notary to verify your identity. As well as allowing your identity to be verified over video call, the HM Land Registry have listed the following professionals as authorised to verify identity:

  • retired conveyancers, solicitors and barristers
  • bank officials and regulated financial advisers
  • medical doctors
  • dentists
  • chartered and certified accountants
  • police officers
  • magistrates
  • veterinary surgeons
  • members of Parliament
  • Welsh Assembly members
  • teachers
  • college and university teaching staff
  • UK civil servants of SEO grade or above
  • officers in the UK armed forces

Where the verification is not being carried out by a conveyancer there are a number of conditions that apply, in particular that you must have known the professional for at least one year and you are not related in any way.

Please contact us if you have any questions regarding these new changes or if you need further advice about entering into property transactions during the current 01484 821 500 or email're here to help.