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Land Registry records first digital mortgage



Digital signature on house deal makes use of GOV.UK Verify to authenticate buyer’s identity

HM Land Registry has registered the first digital mortgage for the UK, recording a transaction between the Coventry Building Society and Enact Conveyancing for a house in Rotherhithe, south-east London.

Carried out under the ‘Sign your mortgage deed’ service, under which the borrower provides an online signature for the deed, it follows months of testing with the two commercial bodies involved.

Land Registry said the service will save borrowers from having to have their signatures witnessed and remove the risk of documents being lost in the post.

The signing, which was for the re-mortgage of the property, involved the used of the GOV.UK Verify service for the borrower to prove their identity. This is a notable step in encouraging the take-up of the platform, which is a central element of the Government’s Transformation Strategy.

Graham Farrant, Land Registry chief executive and chief land registrar, said: “By working with partners in the industry, we have secured a simpler and faster service for the benefit of home owners. We are looking forward to rolling this out nationally and will be working with more conveyancers and lenders to do so.”

Extension to purchases

Peter Frost, chief operating officer at Coventry Building Society, said that while the service has begun with re-mortgages it could be extended to purchases of properties.

The signing also marks a step towards Land Registry meeting its aim of automating most of its transactions by 2022.

A significant step towards enabling the Digital Mortgage service was taken in January, when Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark announced changes in the rules around contingent liability.

Electronic signatures were first used for an exchange of contracts last year, according to a report in Mortgage Finance Gazette. But the use of digital signatures, which ensure information on identity is permanently embedded into the document, provide more security.

Image from iStock

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