Witnessed e-signatures now accepted by HM Land Registry in conveyancing process

  • Posted

The conveyancing sector may be set to enter a new digital age following the announcement by HM Land Registry that it will begin accepting witnessed electronic signatures for transfers of property ownership, leases, mortgages and other property-related dealings.  The announcement will be welcome news to home buyers and sellers as it should help to ensure a quicker and more efficient transaction.

The process will require a conveyancer to upload the deed to an online platform which then automatically sends a link to the signatories. Having completed the necessary authentication checks, they then ‘sign’ the document electronically in the physical presence of the witness, who also ‘signs’. Finally, the conveyancer is notified that the signing process is complete and they can submit the completed deed to Land Registry together with their registration application.

The signatories and witness must follow a two-factor authentication process when accessing the online platform, similar to those used by banks. A link to the document is emailed and an authentication code is sent to the individual’s mobile phone.

It’s hoped that the new measure will make the process more secure, efficient and convenient for those involved in property transactions, particularly in light of the restrictions brought about by the pandemic.

HM Land Registry has made further proposals to accept “qualified electronic signatures” with the aim of further improving security and removing the necessity to involve a witness.