Data and securityCity of London Corporation’s Digital Local Land Charges Register goes live

City of London Corporation's Digital Local Land Charges Register goes live

The City of London Corporation has become the latest local authority to migrate its Local Land Charges data to the new national digital register following the launch of the new service on 11 July 2018 with Warwick District Council

The City of London Corporation has become the latest local authority to migrate its Local Land Charges data to the new national Digital Local Land Charges Register following the launch of the new service on 11 July 2018 with Warwick District Council.

From 8 October 2018, anyone requiring Local Land Charges searches for the Square Mile will need to get them from HM Land Registry rather than going directly to the City of London Corporation.

HM Land Registry is working in partnership with a number of local authorities in England this year to migrate their Local Land Charges data to a central, digital register. Once migrated, anyone will be able to get instant online search results via GOV.UK using the Search for Local Land Charges service.

Allison Bradbury, Head of the Local Land Charges Programme at HM Land Registry, said: “The City of London has one of the most dynamic business property markets in the world. By making their local land charges information instantly accessible via HM Land Registry’s central, digital register, we are ensuring that customers can access essential information about property transactions instantly, saving both time and money.”

Richard Steele, Corporate Spatial Data Manager at the City of London Corporation, said: “While there are relatively few residents in the Square Mile, we have around 500,000 workers. This means a lot of buildings in a small area and around 23,000 local land charges relating to those buildings. Previously, our local land charges data was held in a mixture of paper and digital systems. Before migrating all the information to HM Land Registry’s digital register, we have digitised and accuracy-checked all the data. This helps to reduce business risk for future property transactions in the area. By taking part in the process the turnaround times for local land charges search results for properties in the City will be reduced from days to seconds.”

Booming market

The digital roll-out has been welcomed, not least because the annual value of London’s commercial sales of property has soared by 166% since 2014, up from £11.3 billion in 2014 to £30.1 billion in 2017, according to new analysis of HM Land Registry data for Greater London’s 28 boroughs by Search Acumen, the property data and technology provider.

Until now, the average LLC search has taken 10 days to complete; a digitised register in 2017 could have therefore saved property lawyers and investors approximately 1,460 days – or four cumulative years – of waiting time across the City’s 146 transactions.

Andrew Lloyd, Managing Director of Search Acumen, commented: “London’s commercial market is booming at £30.3bn in 2017, with transaction numbers more than doubling in just four years. Despite ongoing uncertainty, the signs suggest 2018 is set to be another bumper year, as Brexit fails to dissuade investors across the globe from buying property in our capital.

“Three of London’s top ten largest property transactions last year happened in the City, evidence that it is the home to the UK’s biggest and most complex property deals. The LLC digital switchover will therefore be welcome news to lawyers and investors across the City of London, as HM Land Registry’s digitised LLC service is set to simplify and speed up the transaction process, making the City an even more attractive prospect for investors.

“Search Acumen has long championed the practical benefits of opening up property data, and we look forward to working alongside HM Land Registry to make the City of London’s switch-on a success.”

Victoria Duxbury, associate director and knowledge development lawyer at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, comments:“Search turnaround times have always been a sore point for real estate lawyers.  Historically, the delays incurred awaiting local searches have been a real administrative burden costing the sector time and money.

“Being able to get an accurate view of the issues early on in our due diligence process is critical.  An unfavourable search result can lead to big delays on a transaction, particularly where third parties are then involved.  Indeed, in some cases it may ultimately lead to a decision by our client to abort the transaction – clearly the earlier they can make an informed decision on the project as a whole, the better.”

HM Land Registry’s business customers can use their existing portal and Business Gateway channels or their usual search providers. Customers will need to continue to submit CON29 enquiries to the local authority.

A short video has been produced to highlight the work being done on the Local Land Charges Register.

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