August 11, 2020
HM Land Registry accepts Digital signatures with witnessing
Land Registry Digital Signatures
The Land Registry announced on 27th July 2020 that it will accept witnessed electronic signatures. This was a landmark date for all those looking to transfer ownership of a property, taking out leases, mortgages and other property related activities. It suddenly made it faster and easier for people to move homes with no more waiting around for signed hard copies of paperwork.
What is a Witnessed Electronic Signature?
Electronic witnessing is where a witness is physically present with the signer and witnesses the application of a signatory's electronic signature and then adds their own electronic signature to confirm that witnessing. The organisation has published practice guidance for conveyancers practice guide on how to use electronic signatures after seeking feedback from across the property sector.
Following HM Land Registry’s announcement regarding witnessed electronic signatures many esignature software companies including Legalesign worked hard on developing their esignature technology to meet the requirements of the practice guide 8 section 13.
Compliant Electronic Witnessing Legalesign is now compliant with the specific signing and witnessing process that HM Land Registry requires, which is detailed in their practice guide above. The procedure includes one-time-passwords (OTP) through emails and SMS pin codes. Our how-to guide explains the full procedure for platform users. Support is on-hand for one-to-one advice too.
HM Land Registry allows either the conveyancer or the signatory to add witness details and the Legalesign platform allows either option. To let signatories add their witness details, Legalesign users simply need to click the 'decide later' button beside where they would normally enter the witness details. The process is still protected because an email and mobile number is still required, with an OTP for both signatories and witnesses.
Ben Eliott, CEO at Legalesign said,
HM Land Registry's acceptance of witnessed electronic signatures is great news to help expedite the work of property solicitors and conveyancers across the country, particularly in a time of social distancing. We're delighted to be able to launch our signing service for property transactions, where solicitors can be assured their data remains UK located and processed within a secure ISO27001 certified system.