HM Land Registry has insisted that requirements to confirm a client’s identity for a property transaction will not impose new liabilities on conveyancers – who are reminded in updated guidance that they face 10 years in prison if they provide false information.
The Registry’s practice guide number 67 explains who needs to confirm their identity and in which circumstances they need to do this to reduce the risk of fraud. The guide also clarifies how to complete application forms correctly, especially where an attorney is involved in a transaction.
The guidance states that land and buildings, which can be sold and mortgaged to raise money, are attractive targets for fraudsters. Land Registry says it is essential that the identity of the disponor is verified before transactions take place. The identity requirements affect conveyancers who may send an application to Land Registry on the client’s behalf or are providing evidence of identity for an unrepresented person.
Conveyancing specialists Claire Hodges and Lucy Robinson, of Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth, welcomed the update, which they said will assist conveyancers in knowing what Land Registry requirements are where attorneys are involved, ‘so that we can complete the application form correctly in the first instance and avoid the need for the Land Registry to have to raise requisitions – particularly in light of the proposal to publish requisition rates of conveyancers’.
Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, said the ID verification process is so disjointed that it leads to cases such as Dreamvar (see p1).
Rudolf said: ‘How much easier would it be if conveyancers, lenders and estate agents could view the official photograph of the registered proprietor held against the title to the property and check that it actually looks like their client.’