Technology saves the day: HM Land Registry accepts electronic signatures

HM Land Registry (‘the Land Registry’) now accepts witnessed electronic signatures.

This new method of executing transfer deeds became valid from 27 July 2020, and conveyancers can use Practice Guide 8: Execution of Deeds to assist their Clients with this.

These are the following requirements:

  1. All the parties agree to the use of electronic signatures and a platform in relation to the deed.

 

  1. All the parties have conveyancers acting for them.

 

  1. A conveyancer is responsible for setting up and controlling the signing process through the platform.

 

  1. The signing and dating process is as follows.[1]

 

Although this would make property transactions more compliant with social distancing, all parties must feel at ease with using technology. Furthermore, this seems to place more burden on the conveyancer to ensure compliance by their clients (especially with the need for the witness to use the electronic platform and provide an email address and a contact number).

The conveyancer will have to attach the following statement to the transfer deed: “I certify that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the requirements set out in practice guide 8 for the execution of deeds using electronic signatures have been satisfied.”

As useful as technology can be, it is likely that this electronic method may only be used by those executing on behalf of a company or parties outside of the UK. This is as people are unlikely to want to introduce a new method unnecessarily.

Electronic signatures can only be used when the Land Registry requirements are met and for the following deeds:

 

  • A deed that effects one of the dispositions referred to in section 27(2) and (3) of the Land Registration Act 2002.

 

  • A discharge or release in form DS1 or form DS3.

 

  • Equivalent deeds in respect of unregistered land.

 

  • An assent of registered or unregistered land.

 

  • A power of attorney other than a lasting power of attorney (see Lasting powers of attorney).[2]

 

Please contact Lawdit’s  Commercial and Residential Property Team for further information

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/execution-of-deeds/practice-guide-8-execution-of-deeds#electronic-signatures

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/execution-of-deeds/practice-guide-8-execution-of-deeds#electronic-signatures

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