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Security, speed, affordability: the benefits of lodging certified copies with first registrations

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Four years ago I provided some top tips on how to overcome the teething problems involved in applying our change in practice on sending certified copies of deeds for first registration applications.

Here is some further guidance on using certified copies and how it can benefit conveyancers. Please note this does not apply to citizen customers, who still need to send original documents to lodge first registrations.

Conveyancers benefit from adopting this practice because:

  • it’s more secure: you will retain cherished documents, thus avoiding potential loss or damage in post
  • it’s a faster service: you will receive title documents for your first registration applications in the PDF download area of the portal, and increased lodgement of first registration copy deed applications will result in overall increased speed of service
  • there is no requirement for recorded delivery when certified copies are lodged so postal costs are reduced

You must meet the following requirements

  1. You must complete a first registration copy deeds conveyancer’s certificate that accompanies the application.
  2. The lodging conveyancer must certify each copy deed or document. Certification must be dated within 3 months of the date of your application.
  3. All the deeds and documents lodged must be certified copies – you may not send a mix of originals and copies. You must send a certified copy of the deed inducing registration.

More details on each of these steps are available here.

Points to note

This practice does not apply to applications where the supporting deeds and documents have been lost or destroyed. Customers should still follow Practice guide 2 – First registrations of title if deeds are lost or destroyed.

First registrations can still only be lodged through the post, although replies can be sent via our ‘reply to requisitions’ option in the portal.

When copy deed applications are completed we do not return copy documentation. From 1 January 2021, if a copy deeds application is submitted and is rejected or cancelled, we will no longer return copy documentation and new copies will be required when you re-lodge your application.

We may request original deeds to be lodged from time to time, this is for quality and assurance purposes and to meet our responsibilities to maintain the integrity of the register. If applications are cancelled due to non-lodgement of original deeds, when requested, you will need to lodge original deeds when your application is resubmitted.

You can watch the video for more tips on how to lodge successful copy deeds or view the webinar recording on lodging quality registrations including copy deeds.

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  1. Comment by Ian Rhodes posted on

    All very well. I am CILEX Fellow of over 30 year standing and you won't accept my signature on the certificate, which is singularly unhelpful if not a tad insulting, especially as the certificate itself expresses the signature to be on behalf of the organization submitting the application.

    Accordingly I will continue to send my cherished documents to you until this changes.

    • Replies to Ian Rhodes>

      Comment by Suzanne Grindle posted on

      HM Land Registry has set certain conditions in allowing applications for first registration to be lodged on the basis of copy deeds and documents. One of these is that we require a certificate to be given by an individual conveyancer (as defined by rule 217A of the Land Registration Rules 2003) who is a member of the firm lodging the application. This includes Chartered Legal Executive Conveyancing Practitioners and CILEx Conveyancing Practitioners.

      • Replies to Suzanne Grindle>

        Comment by Ian Rhodes posted on

        Hi Suzanne

        So does this mean that you will accept certificates signed by a FCILEX who is employed by a firm on behalf of that firm ?

        Many thanks


        • Replies to Ian Rhodes>

          Comment by Suzanne Grindle posted on

          Hi Ian - this would only be the case if they have conveyancing practice rights, that is, if they were a Chartered Legal Executive Conveyancing Practitioner or a CILEx Conveyancing Practitioner.
          Thanks Suzanne

  2. Comment by John Rogers posted on

    Sending photocopies also avoids loss of originals at the Land Registry - rare but it does happen.

    • Replies to John Rogers>

      Comment by Suzanne Grindle posted on

      HM Land Registry can only apologise for loss of original deeds if this has occurred in the past. Lodging first registration copy deed applications certainly avoids this rare occurrence in the main, however there are instances when we may need originals to be lodged as explained in the article.

  3. Comment by Caroline Hartwell posted on

    I have used this service and unless the certification is by a solicitor or licenced conveyancer (and then rather than checking with CLC they need to see a copy of your certificate) it also has to state who has signed, your full company name, your full address, and a date within 3 months (which the land registry takes more than 3 months to deal with and then says it is out of date) they destroy your copies and you have to copy them all again. Has happened twice and seems to be a way of not dealing with first registrations whilst causing solicitors more expense with large photocopying expenses as old deeds tend to be large scale.

  4. Comment by Suzanne Grindle posted on

    HM Land Registry include mitigations to the risk of lodging copy deeds in order to maintain the integrity of the register, as we are allowing the customers to retain the originals in their possession and that is why we have certain criteria that needs to be met. One of the advantages of using this Practice is that all original documentation can be retained by the customer and has proved popular with our customers. We would only destroy the copies lodged once the registration has been completed or if the application is cancelled. We are sorry if copy documents have been destroyed in other circumstances. Our practice will be changing though from 1 January 2021 as explained in the article.

  5. Comment by G posted on

    Reading this I initially thought hurray I can get a conveyancer to make a certified copy so I do not need to send the original documents for first registration of my late father's house but re reading it makes it seem like I do because I am a private citizen not a company. This seems very unfair. I do not want to send off originals in the post, especially at this time when the post is so disrupted and they may easily get lost. Why are you discriminating against private citizens? Companies can afford to pay for couriers and make multiple copies of their documents. I can't. They also won't have sentimental attachment to the records which I do.

    • Replies to G>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      G - I’m afraid that legislation imposes certain requirements on us and Rule 24 of the Land Registration Rules 2003 requires all original deeds and documents in the applicant’s possession to be lodged with an application for first registration.
      The Registrar has, though, directed, pursuant to rule 24, that some applications can be lodged on the basis of copy deeds and documents only. This service is restricted to conveyancers, for example, solicitors, because we require various certifications to be given in respect of the documents lodged. There are risks in allowing first registration applications to be made on the basis of copy deeds and it is HM Land Registry’s view that these are best addressed by placing conditions on who can use the service.
      I regret that you will need to lodge original deeds and documents with any application you make. Tracked and Registered Delivery services are available if you are concerned that the originals might be lost in the post.

  6. Comment by Jeffrey Shaw, Nether Edge Law posted on

    But what of an application for FR lodged in December 2020 and as yet still unacknowledged (= no C6COMP) despite two reminder letters?

    • Replies to Jeffrey Shaw, Nether Edge Law>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Jeffrey - FRs are acknowledged but assume it’s an issue you have raised or can raise through the contact channel used to date. If you have raised it and got an incident reference then happy to check on progress of a reply if it helps

  7. Comment by Jeffrey Shaw, Nether Edge Law posted on

    No, not acknowledged- and no 'incident' ref either.