Removing HM Land Registry barriers vitally important for agents – Propertymark

Propertymark has encouraged HM Land Registry to provide more accessible and affordable services to its members. 

HM Land Registry holds crucial information that property agents use throughout the sales process that also ensures agents can provide accurate property listings.  

The Land Registry launched a consultation in March 2024 as part of its review into its services to guarantee that they meet their objective to ensure they provide a digital, efficient, and safe service to the property market and to enhance the potential of the data it retains.  

Therefore, HM Land Registry is currently examining how its fee structure could be an obstacle to access to its services and how its fee structure could be enhanced.

In its consultation response, Propertymark highlighted that the existing fee and structure did in fact present a barrier to accessing data and services.

The trade body said that removing this barrier was vitally important for agents as it enables them to verify property information provided by landlords and homeowners which may not be reliable.

Furthermore, the information that property agents have to include in property listings has increased.

In November 2023, The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team introduced guidance for Parts B and C of the Material Information, which clarified the information letting and estate agents had to provide in property listings in order to comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Propertymark made the case that agents need access to affordable and accessible property data now more than ever.

The challenges with obtaining material information were highlighted by Propertymark’s regional executives, who provided their own insight through focus groups held in March.

Propertymark members raised that existing payment methods for individual documents per property could discourage some agents from confirming the information their clients provided, potentially leading to outdated or incorrect information being recorded and shared during the sales process – situations like these often lead to sales fall throughs. 

Instead, Propertymark members called for a subscription model or the ability to buy the use of services in bulk at a lower price that will encourage agents to make more regular use out of HM Land Registry’s data, thereby cutting possible fall throughs.

Finally, the professional body recommended that HM Land Registry explore the possibility of delivering additional services around improving transparency and data sharing across all organisations involved in the home buying and selling process.

Propertymark said this would increase speed and cut the possibility of fall-throughs within the buying and selling process.  

Nathan Emerson, CEO at Propertymark, said: “More and more we are finding that estate agents use HM Land Registry data for every transaction.

“Despite the importance of this data in the home buying and selling process, the current accumulation of fees agents are expected to pay are an obstacle to accessing the services HM Land Registry provides.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to highlight the experiences of our member agents and we look forward to continuing to work with the Land Registry to shape these proposals to encourage greater use of their services.”