As Head of HM Land Registry's Local Land Charges Programme, I'd like to tell you about how we're developing a new digital Local Land Charges Register.
New legislative rules
This is a historic step forward in the Government’s ambition to make the home-buying process simpler, faster and cheaper. It is also a core deliverable from our Business Strategy in transforming our role from being brilliant at delivering the basics – our statutory registration service – to helping improve the entire conveyancing process.
The Local Land Charges Rules 2018 detail how Local Land Charges applications can be registered, how registration is completed and how the new national register can be searched.
We will provide detailed guidance for local authorities and others who need to apply to register charges and, subsequently, to vary or cancel the registrations. We will also provide guidance for conveyancers and users who wish to apply for official and personal searches of the register.
There will be separate Local Land Charges Fees Rules that are expected to come into force during the summer of this year. The Fees Rules will make provision for the fees payable for an official search of the register.
I’d like to thank all stakeholders who have helped with the development of the new Local Land Charges Register – although there is still a lot to do before we launch the live service in the summer.
Launching a private beta
Many local authorities, customers, and citizens have taken part in user research over the last 12 months, to help us build a new Local Land Charges service which meets user needs.
Our user insight has given us confidence to move into private beta testing which started on 18 April and will continue over the next three to six months. The private beta will be restricted to four local authorities; City of London Corporation, Blackburn and Darwen Council, Warwick District Council and Liverpool City Council. A small group of users from different sectors which include conveyancers, search intermediaries, private search companies and other originating authorities will also participate.
The private beta will provide us with invaluable feedback about migrating local authority data to our new digital Local Land Charges Register and how local authorities will maintain the register once their data has been migrated. We will also test the search and order service with users from different sectors.
The private beta will show that we can deliver, operate and continuously improve a digital service and this will be assessed by the Government Digital Service before we progress with the service
Launching a live service
The next few months will be incredibly busy, as we launch the live Local Land Charges service with 26 local authorities.
I would also encourage all other local authorities in England to make their data ready for future migration phases. Read our guidance on how to do this.