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How do you solve a problem like requisitions?

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Every day HM Land Registry receives around 18,000 applications to update the register. The majority of these applications are submitted correctly with all the necessary information included for our land registration experts to complete the requested change. However, for 1 in 5 applications – more than 3,500 applications every day – some of the information we need is missing, incomplete or wrongly drawn.

In these instances, a caseworker will assess the matter. If it is deemed necessary, we will send out a request for information (requisition).

Requisitions cause extensive delays to our average speed of service times. Most simple applications to update the register – which account for more than 80% of applications we receive – are completed in 5 weeks. This increases to 7 weeks for those with requisition points.

Most complex updates take just under 9 months to complete. It’s worth quickly noting that we look at complex applications as we receive them to ensure we have all the relevant information and that they can be processed by the right expert caseworker as soon as the application is ready. Those complex updates with requisitions take more than 10½ months. We want to work with our customers to reduce the impact of requisitions.

Reasons for requisitions

We know that requisitions are raised for a number of reasons, some within the control of the applicant and some that are dependent on consent or information from a third party. Third-party consent issues do come up quite often and we know, from experience, that the matter will resolve in due course with no action required from the applicant.

This was one of the reasons we made the recent change to the way we send reminders about unresolved requisitions, giving conveyancers considerably more time to reply to requisitions. With more time to resolve outstanding requisition points, the priority of the original application is reserved for longer. It also reduces the significant administrative burden on all involved from extensions being requested or the cancellations of applications. This in turn allows us to focus on reducing any delays. Extensions can be requested; the best way is through the Reply to Requisition tool in the portal as this automatically attaches the request to the case, further reducing any potential delays.

However, nearly half of all requisitions are avoidable. We have produced online guidance and video tutorials on how to avoid the most common errors. Practice Guide 50 also provides tips on avoiding requisitions. On top of this guidance, we are introducing technological solutions to help address the problem.

Digitising the process

In order to provide a simpler and faster service, we have undertaken an extensive programme to digitise key elements of the registration process. This includes the lodging of applications – with our new Digital Registration Service. Part of HM Land Registry’s portal, the new Digital Registration Service checks information as you enter it, before the application is submitted.

The service will also help to calculate the relevant fee rather than the applicant having to look up the fees and calculate it themselves. Furthermore, the service provides prompts and guidance, as well as autocompleting certain fields, throughout the process of compiling an application. Digital Registration Service will be launched for all portal users in the spring and offers a superior experience to many customers who manually submit applications to change the register.

Portal users can already use the new View My Applications dashboard to quickly find all information about HM Land Registry portal applications online, in one place. This includes the ability to see – at a glance – which applications have requisitions that still require a response.

We know we have a role to play in raising requisitions more consistently and with fewer errors. We are exploring every option – new error checking technology through DRS, improved visibility with View My Applications, and a more consistent approach from caseworkers – to reduce the burden of requisitions this year and beyond. We ask conveyancers to continue to check our guidance and the information already in the register, and use the new portal services, when submitting applications.

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

    Yet some Requisitions are misconceived.
    Recent ones that we received include:
    a. asking for a fee, where the AP1 shows the correct amount and our key number;
    b. asking for a plan on a Transfer, where the TP1 does not state than any plan is annexed AND instead shows the property correctly defined by cross-reference to the existing leasehold title plan; and
    c. querying a party's name, although it must surely be a better use of time simply to telephone us.

    So HMLR should realise that the blame is not all one way!

  2. Comment by Mike Grantham posted on

    I think that it would help if the Land Registry could be more consistent in raising Requisitions. e.g. obvious typing errors.
    Also raising Requisitions about the witness name and/or address is irritating and unnecessary.
    Where an obvious mistake was made the Registry used to ring the applicants solicitor and make a rule 43? amendment over the phone which saves time and effort on both sides.
    Also the Registry does not help itself in not approving documents beforehand e.g. deed of Variation affecting a number of flats in in a block.

  3. Comment by Richard posted on

    Here are one or two ways you could assist.

    Many lawyers are confused about how an tenancy in common is treated on a sale and how this fits in with Restrictions. Put some real life examples in the Practice Guides.

    Many lawyers are confused with the difference between RX3 (cancellation) and RX4 (withdrawal). Rename them with clearer titles or combine them into one form. Put some real life examples in the Practice Guides. Simplify the tick boxes. So many boxes, so little time.

    Revise AP1 with fewer boxes and tick boxes. Sometimes it feels that completing an AP1 is more complex than completing a TR1. Also it is often delegated to people who have not had actual conduct of the file. Its not surprising that they dont know all the ins and outs.

    Remove requirement for a paper AP1 and go on line electronic with prepopulation. I think you may be doing this with DRS. Paper tick boxes in 2021?

    Work with lenders to have better designed forms that require signatories to PRINT their names. Some lenders have great Legal Charge forms. Others hardly enough space to get everything in. Hence illegible/insufficient.