The Land Registry has always been and will continue to be an essential part of land and property ownership in England and Wales. It undertakes a range of functions and responsibilities, supporting an effective and functioning property market, by providing assurance to those who have an interest in land and property, and a state-backed guarantee to title. In this way, a well-functioning Land Registry underpins housing supply, home ownership and economic growth.
With some provisos, there is no obvious reason that all of the Land Registry’s functions should be carried out within the public sector. Relevant protections would require to be in place and the statutory register should remain under government ownership but the Land Registry could have more freedom in the private sector. It could continue to evolve into a high performing, innovative business, delivering for customers and the wider market in a 21st century, digital economy.
In order to understand the arguments better, the Government has been consulting on the future of land registration operation and will analyse this feedback in due course. Although the Government has set out a proposed model, no decisions have yet been made. As such, we cannot pre-judge what any final model will look like.
However, under all proposals currently being considered, the Land Registers for England and Wales would remain under Crown ownership to ensure the integrity of each register. In addition to this, the Government is considering a range of measures to protect land registry customers and the wider economy should there be a privatisation. These safeguards include data protection, disputes handling and fee setting.