Buying a house can take quite a while, but how long does it take for the Land Registry to complete your application, and why does it take so long?
In this article, we outline the general timeframes it takes most people to go through the process – and highlight vulnerability to civil service industrial action.
Time needed to register existing titles
When it comes to the common ownership, mortgage or other similar changes to existing titles, the average timeframe for a completion is between 10 and 30 days. There can be hiccups along the way which have the potential of extending this, but the majority of applications are completed in 60 to 80 days.
If you need to make more complex changes through the Land Registry, for example registering an extension to an existing Lease term, it will take longer, as there is more work to be done. The average timescale is around 80 to 100 days, though in certain circumstances the process can take up to 150 to 185 days.
It has however been known for such changes to take even longer depending on whether Land Registry raise any questions, known as “requisitions” on the application lodged.
Registering a property for the first time
If, however, a property is being registered for the first time, the Land Registry has to run extensive checks to ensure that there are no hidden surprises.
These can include additional covenants on title, or third party rights, often contained in old Deeds and Conveyances, which may need to be registered to protect third party interests.
Since these titles often have a number of old Deeds, sometimes going back over 100 years, there is a lot for the Land Registry to check before adding the title to the Register.
Legal Aid Agency & Land Registry to strike
To further increase the length of time for the Land Registry to do their work, we can add in the effect of industrial action.
On the 11th January 2023, the Public and Commercial Services Union said that there would be a strike on 1st February affecting Land Registry and Legal Aid Agency staff. This is, in common with other public sector workers, due to pay, pension and job security frustrations in a time where inflation has risen to nearly 11%.
This industrial action is projected to be the largest civil service strike in years, with 100,000 members estimated to go on the picket line. Industrial action of this magnitude is bound to have an impact on Land registry processing times, particularly if it is repeated.
Your move is worth the wait
We hope this gives some insight into issues that make the process of buying a new home seem lengthy. With chains, searches, the Land Registry, and now industrial action on top, it’s not a quick process – but when you’re done you can relax, your home is finally yours.