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Following Covid-19 restrictions, Land Registry have removed the last stringent requirement to print and sign a paper document in a property transaction by confirming acceptance of electronic signatures.
Under new guidance both parties in the transaction must be represented by a conveyancer and one of the conveyancers would take responsibility to set up and control the signing process for both the vendor and purchaser. The conveyancer will upload the documents to an online platform which will require a two factor authentication for both signatories and witnesses which complies with the authentication required by banks and to which most consumers can relate.
The change of course has been motivated by current circumstances as we all continue to adapt the way in which we go about our day to day activities and accept what appears to be the ‘new normal’.
However, although the Land Registry has been applauded for its initiative and adaptability in this respect the change has attracted some criticism from the industry. The main concern of course being the increased risk of undue influence and the buyers solicitors facing a potential scenario following completion where a Transfer Deed has been incorrectly executed thus causing problems at the registration stage.
Most law firms appear reluctant to adopt this approach at the current time. Having said this, it is a step in the right direction and as with any change it may be approached with apprehension to begin with and may need tweaking somewhat but in the long term it will certainly reshape property transactions into a more digital and efficient process.
Here at Ramsdens the Conveyancing team are currently setting up a facility to sign some documentation electronically and we expect to make this available for our clients by the end of the year.
If you are looking to move house and want expert advice before you proceed, then please speak to our Residential Conveyancing team by calling 0808 1685 643, fill out an online enquiry form, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch.
October 23, 2020
Lindsey is a Solicitor and Partner and Heads the Residential Conveyancing department.