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HMLR changes to help with the home buying process during Covid-19

View profile for Emma Gilroy
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HMLR announced changes which came into effect on Monday 4 May 2020, which provide alternative agreed ways in which deeds can be signed and also how ID can be verified in order to assist with the progress of property transactions during this very unusual time.

The changes provide the possibility of ID being verified via video link, which was previously prohibited, as well as introducing additional non-conveyancer professionals who can certify ID documents. There are certain restrictions and requirements for these additional professionals – such as the non-conveyancer professional having to have known the individual for at least one year and not being related in any way to the person whose ID they are certifying.

Additional forms have been created by HMLR which are required to be completed where ID is being verified by video link. There are different forms that need to be completed depending on whether the person certifying the ID is a practising conveyancer or not.

Alternative provisions for signing of documents has also been agreed. Previously, electronic signatures on Deeds was not permitted and would not be acceptable for registration purposes. HMLR have now agreed that the process known to Conveyancers as the “Mercury” signing approach can be utilised during this time, to enable transactions to proceed. This provides a set, step by step procedure which must be followed in order for the signatures on the documents to be valid.

These changes will hopefully help overcome some of the difficulties that have been experienced with signing of property documents and ID verification during the social distancing measures being in force. HMLR have made clear that these changes may be withdrawn at any time and may not continue to be acceptable once restrictions have been lifted due to Coronavirus. Please speak with your Conveyancer who will be able to offer you further guidance.

For further information on the new changes can be found here.

For more information contact our residential property team on or telephone 03333 208 644.

Emma Gilroy heads up the Residential Property teams across all of our offices in South West Wales and South East Wales. Emma has acted on behalf of a large public sector organisation with their wide ranging property needs and also continues to act for property investors with significant commercial and residential property portfolios.