We are proud to announce that we have received over a million applications through the electronic Document Registration Service (e-DRS). The success of e-DRS is in no small part due to the hard work that customers have put into development and enhancement of the service alongside Land Registry’s teams and we’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has been involved.

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Users of the service are able to send us electronic applications to:

  • register almost all transactions and interests relating to registered property
  • register and extend leases for any registered property

whether the application affects the whole, or part of a property.

Dechert LLP associate Scott Curtis lodged the millionth application. Bill Fryzer, a real estate partner at the global specialist law firm, says: “We are very pleased to have helped e-DRS reach the one million mark. To have achieved this in a relatively short period of time is not only a measure of the increasing activity in the property sector, but further evidence of how technology continues to bring improvements to the ways in which we work.”

We recently announced our new change programme LR Connect which continues our journey to becoming a digital organisation. Part of our preparation to become ‘digital’ is to identify and introduce more electronic elements to our existing systems, services and processes. Where we have introduced electronic elements, such as electronic document submission, they are proving more popular with customers than their paper alternatives – 76 per cent of applications to change the register are now submitted electronically.

The service that customers use today has several advantages over its paper forerunner, such as:

  • having a reduced fee for certain applications
  • removing the time applications and requisitions would spend in the post
  • providing the opportunity to reduce postage costs, manual processing costs and paper consumption
  • creating an electronic audit trail, that can help to prevent fraud.

It has come a long way from the original service we released at the end of 2012. Here’s a canter through some of the key moments in e-DRS’s history:

The history of e-DRS

Development of e-DRS started in March 2011. After several months of work with customers and stakeholders (through advisory panel meetings, focus groups and successful pilots) we launched e-DRS. We made it available through our business-to-business channel, Business Gateway in September 2012 and the portal version followed in December 2012.  

By February 2013 over 700 customers had signed up to e-DRS, submitting 47,000 applications to change the register.

In June 2013 e-DRS was the runner up in the “Delivering Business Value” category at the Real IT Awards. This marked it as an outstanding example of an IT project that has real benefits for users, but we knew we could make it better. Our customers still had some great ideas that would enhance the service and we were working with stakeholders to make it simpler to access. That month we started to accept applications that contained a plan through e-DRS.

In August we updated our conditions of use to allow customers to use e-DRS without having to sign a Network Access Agreement. This helped to open up the service to a wider audience.

By October we had made the service more accessible to customers by extending:

  • our online service hours
  • the amount of time application results appeared in customers’ download areas.

We also set up an RSS feed to alert customers when their application results are available.

In December 2013 we made further enhancements.

  • we added lease extensions to the application types we can receive electronically
  • we revised our certification statements
  • we increased the file size limit for attachments to 10mb.

Our biggest changes came in March 2014. We introduced a 50 per cent fee reduction for transfers of whole, charges of whole, transfers of charges and most fixed fee applications submitted using e-DRS. From March, customers could also send us transfers of part of a property and new lease registrations using e-DRS.

During this period we were delighted to see that the number of customers using e-DRS more than doubled, rising from 1,100 to more than 3,000.

What’s next?

We continue to look for improvements to e-DRS and are once again working with customers to identify these improvements. We recently updated some of the user screens, and introduced complementary services to the portal, such as our new MapSearch service. Alongside providing electronic alternatives to our existing services, systems and processes, we’re looking at how we can build new, fully digital registration services from the ground up. Find out more about the future of Land Registry’s services.

Not using e-DRS?

It’s easy to join the 3,000 customers who use e-DRS. All you need is:

  • a Land Registry portal account
  • the ability to scan documents.

Sign up or find out more

We want to hear your feedback and your experiences of using the service. Please leave your comments below.


Antony Hart
By Antony Hart,
Marketing and Communications Manager at Land Registry, Head office