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Radical digital conveyancing initiative launched by Land Registry

Conveyancers are being urged to adopt a new digital identity standard that will speed up home sales and reduce fraud.

Nigel Lewis

biometric smartphone conveyancing

A new government initiative to encourage conveyancing firms to use services that confirm to a new digital standard when verifying a vendor’s identity has been launched by HM Land Registry.

Its ground-breaking Digital Identity Standard, which is optional but is being heavily plugged by civil servants, has been created following extensive property industry consultations including with key estate agency representatives.

The Digital Identity Standard establishes for the first time the step-by-step rules for identity verification and will enable it be done without the need to meet physically, for all clients whether residential or commercial.

It also provides enhanced security by requiring the use of smartphones to extract encrypted information contained within the chips of documents such as passports.

land registry conveyancersLand Registry chief Mike Harlow (pictured), says: Proving your identity when buying or selling your property can be a pain. But of course, it is essential to the security of such high value transactions. This new standard for ‘digital biometric identity checking’ marks an exciting milestone towards a truly digital conveyancing process.”

By using biometric tech, he says, identity checking will reduce the risk of fraud and speed up and make transactions easier.

The Land Registry is also guaranteeing that they will not seek recourse against conveyancers who meet the new standard, should the vendor or buyer subsequently be found to be a fraudster.

The initiative is being aligned with another government initiative, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport ‘trust framework’ which is set to role out digital identity use across the economy.

Read the new practice guide.

March 15, 2021

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