Early completion

In August 2007, Land Registry’s Executive Board discussed the need for a new approach to applications (for removal of entries relating to registered charges).

The Board asked for consultation to be undertaken with the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Law Society and other representative bodies.

The Director of Legal Services, Joe Timothy, wrote to stakeholders in December 2007 inviting views on the proposed change of practice.

A number of replies were received. While it was clear from the responses that the present process for discharging registered charges is not meeting the needs of conveyancers, lenders, Land Registry or the consumer, a number of concerns were expressed and issues raised. These were brought together, and addressed, in a document sent to respondents inviting them to a meeting at Land Registry Head Office on 16 July 2008:Applications for discharge without a DS1, END or ED.

At that meeting, it became clear from presentations and discussions that conveyancers, led by the Law Society, and the lenders, through the CML, took fundamentally different positions on the responsibility for, and the severity of, delays in the redemption process. Land Registry proposed that the parties should meet again to explore modifications to the CML’s 1992 guidance on redemptions which, the Law Society suggested, might address the issues in a more satisfactory way.
Land Registry prepared and circulated a paper to those invited, summarising the parties’ positions and the proposed way forward:Redemption of charges and Early Completion.

The proposed meeting did not take place, as the CML advised Land Registry in December 2008 that, subject to some points of detail, it believed lenders would benefit from early completion and that, in the absence of evidence to support the Law Society’s complaint of failure by some CML members to comply with the 1992 guidance, it did not believe any further steps could be taken.

The Law Society made a further submission in January 2009, which it has published on its website. The Council for Licensed Conveyancerssubsequently told Land Registry it supported the Law Society’s position.

Land Registry considered all the views put forward and, in the absence of common ground between conveyancers and lenders, we decided to proceed with early completion. The Director of Legal Services wrote to all account holders in May 2009.