Landmark digital transfer of UK property expected within the year

The first fully digital transfer of a property is expected to be completed by the Land Registry within the next year as conveyancing prepares for the greatest innovation in decades.

Now in its second year, the Land Registry’s Digital Street, a research and development project that includes industry leaders, has ambitious targets to reach. In April 2018, the first digital mortgage deal was entered into the land register.

Incorporating smart contracts

Now the next step is to incorporate smart contracts, so a transfer of land or property can be completed digitally for the first time in the UK.

Lauren Tombs is the senior product manager at Digital Street. In a recent blog post, she explained how the Land Registry’s focus is on understanding precisely how digital contracts will interact with the land register.

Smart contracts are encoded using Bitcoin or on blockchain and use both buyer and seller’s digital signatures. These types of contracts are expected not only to speed up the conveyancing process but to revolutionise how property solicitors and conveyancers complete land and property sales.

Developing concepts

Lauren Tombs wrote: “Digital Street will be developing concepts over the next coming months to test future models with our users and to validate our learning. We’ve decided to make understanding the technology our first priority, particularly smart contracts, and distributed ledgers.”

Currently all land and property sales must be registered with the Land Registry within 30 days of completion. Most solicitors submit the details electronically.