Save the Land Registry! Not because it is failing – it has 95% customer satisfaction, paid £98m to treasury last year and reduced fees to customers. We can’t talk highly enough of their services. So why does it need saving? It needs saving from being sold!
At the beginning of the year, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) were asking for views on granting the Land Registry ‘Wider Powers’. This would enable the Land Registry to provide the Local Land Charges searches as other property related searches instead of the Local Authorities and compete with the Independent search companies.
The consultation was in two parts:
the first part related to its proposal to extend Land Registry‘s powers to enable it to provide services relating not only to land registration but also to land and other property.
The second part related to Land Registry‘s proposals to amend the Local Land Charges Act 1975 to enable Land Registry to provide a more consistent, standardised Local Land Charges searches system.
The purpose of this consultation was to give all persons with an interest in the property sector the opportunity to consider and comment on the proposals.
The consultation ran for just short of eight weeks from 16 January 2014 – 9 March 2014
A week later the Land Registry asked for stakeholder’s views on proposals to create a new service delivery company to take over responsibility for processing land and property registration from HM Land Registry. The proposal is to retain a separate Office of the Chief Land Registrar within government, which will mainly perform regulatory and fee-setting functions, to make sure customers’ interests continue to be protected.
The eight week consultation ran from 23rd January 2014 – 20th March 2014.
The Land Registry’s Chief Registrar Ed Lester, and Executive Board and BIS asked for the views of stakeholders promising that no decisions would be made on either consultation until all the responses to the consultation were published.
The Stakeholders are:
- The Local Land Charges and the Independent Search Agencies (IPSA & CoPSA) because they provide the searches required when purchasing a new property or taking out a mortage.
- The Land Registry Staff (PCS Union)
- Land/Property owners
In our opinion, a Key Stakeholder is the property owner because they pay monies to the conveyancers to pay for the searches and the Land Registry fees (called ‘disbursements’)
But don’t be surprised if you knew nothing about it! Hardly any of the stakeholders knew about it. The consultations were not well publicised at all and it was confusing to understand what the ramifications of the proposed changes would be.
We think it is outrageous that the public have not been properly consulted on such a major issue because the changes, if they are successful, will lead to the Land Registry being privatised. As John Manthorpe, the former Chief Registrar says:
“the Land Registry must remain as a commercially neutral department of government – as it has been for over 150 years.”
We have prepared some postcards for members of the public to sign and send to Vince Cable. Please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like us to send you some.
Each stakeholder has a different reason for opposing the plans, but the one thing we all agree on is that the Land Registry must remain in the public sector. That is why we are campaigning.
Many other High Street law firms up and down the country feel the same and are also standing up and campaigning on behalf of their clients.
If you feel the same way, pleased join us in telling the Government NO to the privatisation of the Land Registry by signing the 38 Degrees Petition.
All the latest updates are on the Facebook Page.