HMLR procedural changes in the pandemic

A few changes, if small in some cases, have been implemented at HM Land Registry (HMLR) which conveyancers need to note. These are some of key developments.


HMLR has resumed cancellation of applications as of 16 November, in cases where there are still outstanding requisitions

Cancellation of such applications had been paused at the start of the pandemic to give extra time to gather the required information. HMLR says there are now increasing numbers of applications that cannot be processed (around 10,000) so the start button has been pressed once again.

Customers are being sent a letter giving four weeks’ notice of the cancellation (those with the oldest cases will have received their letter first). Meanwhile, firms can view which of their applications have outstanding requisitions via their portal and then accessing the new View My Applications service.

HMLR has made clear that it will not be reinstating new cancellation dates in new requisitions, they will continue to be issued without a cancellation date. It says this will be reinstated in the future.

Practice Guide 2

This relates to applications for first registration of title where deeds have been lost or destroyed. In a new update to the PG, the applicant is now required to enclose an undertaking to send to HMLR any lost deeds that are subsequently found.

The PG includes a useful checklist of things required/required to be done when applying for first registration of title if the deeds are lost or destroyed (this is the section that includes the new requirement).

But the PG is not clear on what terms of such an undertaking will be acceptable to HMLR: will it, for instance, need to be best or reasonable endeavours? Practitioners may have to wait for further clarification on that issue.


Where a corporate body is party to a transaction or deed, and the value of the land involved in the disposal does not exceed £6,000, a new form ID4: certificate of identity for a body corporate has been introduced.

This is to be used if the conveyancer cannot verify their identify. It can only be used if both the person signing on behalf of the corporate entity and the person verifying its identity hold a full UK passport and the verifier has known the other party for at least a year. It probably goes without saying that they must not be related or both involved in the same transaction.

This additional document was introduced as part of HMLR’s changes in response to covid-19 and is explicitly stated to be temporary, so practitioners need to be alert to the fact it could be withdrawn if and when no longer required by HMLR.

Urgent cases

Lastly, HMLR has included further information in its coronavirus guidance on temporary measures to support customers on how to request an urgent application to be expedited.

Practitioners are also signposted to HMLR’s general (practice guide 80) page here published only a few weeks ago, setting out information about its pre-existing and new practice of particular relevance in the current circumstances.


Posted on 01.12.20