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Time for national home moving digital identity system, industry tells MPs

Meeting in parliament this week saw agency, conveyancing and tech players grilled by politicians over need to make AML and KYC easier.

Nigel Lewis

digital identity

A group of MPs and Lords have met estate agency, logbook and conveyancing sector representatives to grill them on how technology can drastically change the way the property industry checks people’s identities under AML and KYC rules.

The All Party Parliament Group meeting heard that the UK is lagging behind on digital identity systems for residential sales which are already up-and-running in several European countries including Holland and Belgium.

Glynis Frew - Hunters - imageHunters CEO Glynis Frew (pictured) told the meeting that agents can be required to check identities up to five times during a transaction.

And Stuart Young, MD of Etive, told the meeting that too often conveyancers, lenders and estate agents were unable to trust each other’s identity checking and so these were duplicated during sales.

Consequently, Young said, property transactions are taking longer than ten years ago. He also said the property industry is required to check 13.7 million people’s identities every year at a cost of £400m.

The pair, who were joined by Stephen Ward of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, asked MPs to persuade the government to provide seed funding to create a system of digital IDs for the property industry.

This would then become self-funding once it was up and running if such a system became a legal requirement of the home buying and selling process, he said.

All three agreed three government departments are involved – MHCLG, the Land Ministry and Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – and that it would be consumers who paid for and organised their own digital identity before being able to move home.

“Covid has had a very big impact and has accelerated the need for digital identities as we cannot meet people in the same way to conduct ID processes,” said Young.

Read more about digital identity.

February 5, 2021

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