HM Land Registry is keen to remind conveyancers that they can request an outstanding application to be fast-tracked.

In a news release published yesterday, Land Registry said its fast-track service allows customers to ask for urgent applications that are necessary to complete a transaction to be processed within 10 working days.

Simon Hayes, chief land registrar, said: ‘HM Land Registry is committed to ensure no property sale is put at risk – we have always prioritised the delivery of services that enable property sales to be completed. Most of our searches are instant and most changes come at the end of the transaction. However, sometimes changes are needed urgently, and our fast-track service means that anyone who has a concern about delays can contact their solicitor or contact us directly so we can investigate and resolve any problems quickly for them.’

Land Registry receives 18,000 requests per day to change the register, which usually happens at the end of a transaction - for instance, after stamp duty has been paid and the property has exchanged hands. Most changes are completed within a month of the application being received.

Land Registry said it was ‘extremely rare’ that any service delays could affect a property sale. ‘However sometimes there can be an application to update the register for that property which needs to happen before the sale or transaction can proceed, or to prevent some other negative impact or burden. For example, if the property has never been registered or a long-term lease needs to be extended so the property can be remortgaged,’ Andrew Robertson, head of customer policy and service improvement, said in a blog last month.

According to the latest update on the impact of Covid-19 on Land Registry services, over half of the applications to update the register, such as changing a name or removing a mortgage, are taking just under four weeks to complete, with most completed in five weeks. A ‘minority’ of applications are taking up to six weeks.

Land Registry says requests for information, known as ‘requisitions’, will take ‘considerably longer’ to process. Most will be completed within seven weeks ‘and in some instances up to four months’.