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Land Registry delays – How long will it take?

The Covid-19 Pandemic has caused a number of issues over the last few years in all sectors of life. 


Despite these issues, the property market has remained remarkably strong due to Stamp Duty incentive schemes offered by the Government increasing demand as well as general feeling for lifestyle change.

The Land Registry were already experiencing significant delays which were exacerbated through the course of the pandemic. Coupling this with a significant increase in applications and limited resources, there have been considerable delays in post completion transactions which have resulted in some property applications completing up to and over 24 months after being lodged at the Land Registry.


Are delays still ongoing post Covid-19?

Our firm has seen a growing number of emails from clients querying why their Land Registry application is taking so long. Although we have largely begun to move on from lockdowns and mask-wearing, the effect that the pandemic had on the Land Registry is still ongoing. The backlog in applications have mounted as the property market has remained strong throughout.

The Land Registry launched their Digital Registration Service on 28 April 2021 aimed to reduce errors in simple applications which reduce overall waiting times, and it is hoped that this will reduce future waiting times in application. We have seen that processing time has reduced significantly with the launch of this service however, it is not always the case. We are sometimes seeing that older, paper applications are still processing and newer applications are being seen to sooner.


Why is my application taking so long?

It is important to consider that your registration may be delayed due to its complexity. Complicated transactions need certain experienced Land Registry staff to complete, which in the main, have created the delays on top of the need for the Land Registry to continue and prioritise certain services that they offer.

Most standard applications involve several stages for the Registrar to complete, such as:

  • Registering Transfers
  • Updating Charges (Mortgages)
  • Changing Names

These are largely completed within 60-80 days.


Land Registry delays


More complex applications, such as:

  • multi-title applications submitted by developers,
  • major infrastructure projects,
  • registering property for the first time,
  • dividing existing titles, or
  • lodging a new lease,

will often take a significantly longer amount of time to process which is where we see the largest waiting times. Over half of these applications will require clarification or further information, which will be received by you or your solicitor as ‘land registry requisitions’. These can cause delays at the Land Registry resulting in an overall backlog.


What can you do?

In certain situations we can request an expedite of the application. The circumstances are limited and can be either residential or commercial, where a delay would:

  • cause hardship not related to a land transaction, or
  • put a property sale or any kind of property transaction at risk, for example, a refinancing deal or development.

Any other reason for wanting an application to be expedited will be rejected by the Land Registry.


Key takeaways

  • Some delays are taking over two years, though most routine updates take 60-80 days.
  • You usually don’t need to worry about land registry delays because the transaction is protected from application, not registration.
  • If the delay will cause a problem, including putting another transaction at risk, you can ask your conveyancer to apply for an expedite with the Land Registry.

The most up to date time scales for transactions can be found here on HM Land Registry estimated completion timeframes.


Further reading

Selling – Oakwood Solicitors



To make a start on the next step in your journey, get in touch today to book a consultation with a member of our team. Call us on 0113 218 5727 to find out how we can help you.

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