We’ve continued to take some important steps on our journey to becoming a world leader in digitising land registration services and maximising the re-use of our data.

A few weeks ago we published a blog to introduce some of our upcoming major releases to help us make some of these steps. With so many new services and enhancements, we wanted to remind you of anything you may have missed with this summary.

New Land Registration Fee Order

On 17 March, our new fees came into force and as a result:

  • our business customers have taken advantage of a 50 per cent reduction in fee for certain applications, lodged using our electronic channels,
  • contributing to a total saving of over £1.7 million in the first two weeks of the new fees coming into force.

New online services

On 18 March we launched MapSearch – our free service offering land and property professionals a searchable online map. This containing the location of all registered land and property in England and Wales.

With over 43,000 searches made in the first two weeks after the service launched, it has proved to have been an instant hit with our customers. Deena Wood, Data Project Coordinator for the National Grid agrees; “Very satisfied, such that I feel that I wouldn’t be able to do without it. It saves a lot of time.”

Another major goal for us has been to introduce services which help members of the public to reduce the risk of property fraud. That’s why, on 4 March, our award-winning Counter-Fraud Unit introduced Property Alert (our free property monitoring service).

Members of the public can sign up and register up to three properties to be monitored. Email alerts will be sent when we receive an application to change the register as well as for official searches. This puts you in the position to judge whether or not the activity is suspicious and if you should seek further advice. We are delighted that over 5,000 new accounts have been set up to date helping those home owners to reduce their risk of property fraud.

We also always try and listen to our customers’ feedback when developing new services. Our Online Owner Verification is one such example. Online Owner Verification is our new paid for service that allows customers to enhance the value of their data. It does this by verifying their property ownership data against our definitive records. This service was successfully launched on 17 March.

Improvements to our existing digital services

As part of our journey to fully digitise our services, we have introduced a number of enhancements to our electronic Document Registration Service (e-DRS). Our enhancements have meant that ever more customers are turning to our online channels to save time and money when submitting their applications.

In March alone:

  • over 500 of our business customers submitted an application on the portal for the first time
  • we received over 2,500 electronic submissions of the new application types accepted on e-DRS from 17 March with over 1,250 transfers of part and over 1,250 new leases being submitted
  • the number of customers submitting applications using our online channels was over 50 per cent higher than at the start of 2014.

Maximising our data

Continuing our commitment to open data, at the end of March, we released details of the first properties registered under the Land Registry Act 1862. This data includes almost 2,000 fascinating records that members of the public can now view or download for free from our website. We are pleased to report that there have already been over 3,000 views of the records in the very short time it has been available.

We have also responded to customer demand by launching our Commercial & Corporate Ownership Data. On the Data.gov.uk  website this was recently voted as one of our most sought after datasets and has consistently been at the top of our customers’ priority list. For a fee, you can now access over 3.2 million ownership records of freehold and leasehold land and property in England and Wales. This excludes those of private Individuals, overseas companies, charities and trustees. This is a significant step in our continuing journey to provide data to stimulate wider economic growth.

Tell us what you think

With so much going on there is sure to be something for everyone here, whether you are one of our professional customers or a member of the public. If you would like to find out more about our new fees, new services, enhancements or how to contact us, be sure to take a look on our website. You can also keep up to date by subscribing to our blog.

Have you used one of our new services? We would love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below or contact us on one of our social networks – we’re on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Jon Parker
By Jon Parker,
Marketing Executive at HM Land Registry