HM Land Registry Digital Identity Standard
In addition to the introduction of electronic signatures, HM Land Registry launched their Digital Identity Standard.
This sets out 4 requirements that involve biometric and cryptographic checking of identity and verification that the individual or individuals signing of behalf of corporations are the owner of the property or otherwise a genuine party to a registrable transaction. If a conveyancer carries out the steps described in the standard, HM Land Registry will not pursue any recourse claim against the conveyancer resulting from the registration of a fraudulent transaction on the grounds that identity checks were inadequate.
Requirements 1 to 3 must be carried out by all conveyancers acting for a party to the transaction. Requirement 4 is an additional check to be carried out by the conveyancer who represents a transferor, borrower, or lessor in the transaction.
1. Obtain Evidence in the form of photographic ID with biometric facial recognition.
Biometric Passport, Identity cards from an EU or EEA country and an UK biometric residence permit.
2. Check the Evidence
Use an identity check provider that can read the ID Chip. It is not sufficient to check the evidence by just using a photography of the document. Must be machine readable.
3. Match the Evidence
Identity check provide must perform liveness check on the biometric information captured.
4. Obtain evidence to ensure the transferor, borrower or lessor is the same person or entity as the owner
If individual, then 2 forms of evidence such as proof of address document and ID. If a UK company, then the following steps will apply:
- Obtain company information
- Verify the information
- Check corporate identity information held by the HM Land Registry
- Obtain evidence for that individual signing on behalf of the company.
The government source states that where a conveyancer has carried out the above checks and met the requirements in relation to an individual who is signing in multiple transactions, the conveyancer may rely on the results of those checks for a period of up to six months. If the signing occurs more than six months after the original checks were carried out, the checks will need to be completed again.
However, there is still some risk for conveyancers. If a conveyancer or solicitor did not feel it was practicable to carry out these enhanced checks or explore any doubts around the checks then they will not reach the standard. This may result in HM Land Registry seeking recourse if it turns out the transaction was indeed fraudulent, and the conveyancer has been either negligent or fraudulent when checking of identity.
Emma Boys-Smith, Trainee Solicitor in the Commercial Property department, said:
“With the above risk in mind, conveyancers and legal professionals should still be vigilant and aware of the anti-money laundering and identification check standards and regulations that they must uphold.”