Rotherhithe in London will soon be famous for more than just its Brunel-built tunnel underneath the Thames.
Yesterday, a house there became the UK’s first home purchased via a mortgage deed signed and lodged with the Land Registry online and without the need for a physical or witnessed signature.
This begins a process that will see much of conveyancing and the mortgage lending process move from mountains of paper to an online procedure which, agents will be relieved to hear, is set to significantly speed up sales progression.
This first transaction was completed by the Land Registry in partnership with Coventry Building Society and conveyancing firm Enact as part of an initial test.
It included using the government’s online identity verification system GOV.UK Verify to enable the borrower involved to sign the mortgage deed online without the need for a witness.
The pioneering transaction is part of the Land Registry’s attempts to transform the conveyancing market by making home buying quicker and simpler.
And although a small first step, the Land Registry says the transaction follows months of testing with Coventry Building Society and Enact.
“By working with partners in the industry, we have secured a simpler and faster service for the benefit of home owners,” says HM Land Registry Chief Executive Graham Farrant (pictured, left).
“We are looking forward to rolling this out nationally and will be working with more conveyancers and lenders to do so.”
Coventry Building Society says it has been using the Land Registry’s e-signature system for some time but only for re-mortgaging customers, which it says have found “the process simple, quick and secure”.