Beginning on 14th August 2017, HM Land Registry declared its intent to trial a stricter regime for rejecting applications for first registrations of both freehold and leasehold properties.

It is common knowledge that the Registry has suffered from a heavy caseload in respect of applications for both first registrations and transfers of part over the last few years, with these transactions often taking upwards of 16 weeks to complete. The Registry believes that part of the reason for these delays is an excessive amount of applications with basic errors, which so far have been dealt with by way of requisitions (questions intended to clarify the position).

HM Land Registry hopes to broaden the scope for rejection of applications at an early stage – when they are first received – to ensure that any applications received with fundamental errors are immediately sent back to the applicant. The Registry believes that this will reduce the amount of time they are required to spend on each application and cut down the amount of time each transaction of this nature takes. They also hope that wider criteria for rejection will encourage more applicants to ensure the basic details are correct, cutting down on the amount of defective applications at its source.

HM Land Registry’s stricter criteria mean that applications with the following defects will be rejected outright:

  • Incorrect fees quoted;
  • The incorrect application form has been submitted (first registrations require form FR1, whereas the form for standard applications is an AP1);
  • The property has not been clearly identified (by reference to a plan); and
  • Details of rights, interests and claims affecting the property that are known to the applicant (if applicable) have not been disclosed in the title documents or the correct box on the application form has not been selected.

The success of this trial will be reviewed in November 2017.

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