Today, we announced that on 17 March 2014 we will be changing a number of our fees.
Why does Land Registry charge fees and why are changes being made?
As a trading fund, we are required by government to cover our costs and provide a dividend to the Treasury. We therefore charge fees and make amendments to our fee order in order to fulfil this requirement.
In 2012, we reduced fees on average by 10 per cent as a result of a number of operating efficiencies. In our 2012/13 annual report we announced that we further reduced our operating costs by 4 per cent.
With further efficiency improvements expected, and with the number of transactions in the housing market expected to be higher than in 2011/12, we are in the position to share the benefits with our customers by reducing our fees once again.
What changes are being introduced?
We intend to introduce a 50 per cent reduction in fee for customers submitting transfers of whole, charges of whole, transfers of charges and other dealings of whole applications electronically. Although other application types that are sent electronically will not benefit from the 50 per cent fee reduction, as part of the Government’s Digital by Default service standard, we are looking to provide further encouragement for our professional customers to submit their applications electronically by using one of our Business e-services.
We intend to merge the two lowest scale 1 fee bands and will reduce the fee for properties priced between £80,001 and £100,000. Scale 1 fees are used for registrations such as first registrations and transfers of registered land for value and are charged according to the value of the property or price paid. By merging the two lowest bands, and reducing the fees for the new second lowest band, we are not only simplifying the band structure, but also helping customers engaged in property transactions by reducing conveyancing costs in the form of lower registration fees.
We intend to introduce a flat fee for all ‘inspection of documents’ and ‘official copy of document’ (OC2) applications. This new flat fee will help to simplify a commonly-used part of the Fee Order for our customers, saving time and reducing the risk of delays caused by incorrectly paid fees. We estimate that 83 per cent of customers will pay less as a result.
With these key changes, we anticipate the new Fee Order will allow us to pass on estimated savings of over £1.5 million to our customers before the end of the 2013/14 financial year in the form of lower fees.
What happens next?
We will be updating all of our guidance relating to our fees over the next weeks before the order comes into force on 17 March 2014. We encourage you to prepare to update your systems to ensure you don’t over-pay us for the services you use.
Blog post written by Ariane Newman, Project Support Officer and Peter Mayer, Central Operations Group, Land Registry Head Office.
This article was updated on 14 February 2014 to clarify the types of applications that benefit from the 50 per cent fee reduction if submitted electronically.