Author Brightstone Law LLP

Like most conveyancers, I am extremely frustrated with the continued Land Registry delays, which I estimate have increased my workload by roughly 20-30%. The delays mean we receive many more emails chasing us for the updated register, be it from other conveyancers acting for borrowers, our clients or in some instances, the borrowers themselves.  At Brightstone Law, we ensure that we lodge all applications even though we do not act for the borrowers, we act for the lenders. We like to have control to ensure the application is completed and mistakes are not made.

The pressure is heightened when acting for bridging lenders, as we do, since most loan terms are between 6 and 12 months. However, we have many applications being processed by Land Registry which are taking much longer than 6 months.  There are even a few applications that involved the grant of new leases which were lodged over a year and a half ago and have still not been completed.

Seeking expedition of the application often helps, but if the transaction involves the grant of a new lease or a transfer of part (such as a new build development site), expedition does not assist as the applications are completed in order of receipt.  Our application may well be perfect but if Land Registry must complete another 30 new lease applications ahead of ours, coupled with the already existing backlog and delays, it can still take far too long.

We have an unfortunate situation on our hands to say the least. Therefore, on top of all the major decisions a lender must make before agreeing to lend, it now also must realistically consider how Land Registry delays might impact the proposed exit.  The lenders also must be mindful that recovery proceedings could be impacted by these Land Registry delays.

I have advised certain lenders not to agree to a 6-month term when the transaction will involve a new build property.  Nowadays, it is simply not realistic to expect the application to have been completed and for the borrower to be able to then sell or refinance in that timeframe.

In my opinion, agreeing such a short term for a new build is simply inviting a default situation no matter how confident the borrower may be, as most borrowers will not be aware of the current issues.

Once again, like most conveyancers I suspect, I am hoping the situation improves but I can’t see it doing so soon.  I genuinely hope I am wrong.

Harry Peradigou, Partner at Brightstone Law