HM Land Registry Blog: Transforming and centralising local land charges for a new digital property market

CCN Blogs | 07 November 2022

Obtaining a local land charges (LLC) report is an essential part of the property buying process as it details the restrictions or obligations on the use of a property. Common obligations include planning permissions, listed building status or tree preservation orders.

The benefits of a single LLC Register 

Across England and Wales buyers are receiving critical LLC information in different formats, at varying costs and time scales. As these charges could affect the property buying decision, early access to the information is crucial. We know that late revelations during conveyancing increases the risk of property transactions falling-through. And failed transactions typically cost buyer’s time and up to £2,700 per incident.

Our award-winning LLC Programme is the most ambitious geospatial data transformation ever attempted by the UK government. By 2025, we aim to transfer all local authority LLC services in England and Wales to the national digital LLC Register. Work is well underway across different regions digitising and transforming records held on microfiche, paper or electronically.

Before we transfer the data to the register, fixes are applied where necessary to ensure complete data integrity. Our innovative tools also transform the textual data into geospatial records. This information is commonly called location data and contains digital maps, making the information more accessible and transparent.

Collaborating locally to stimulate place-based growth

Up until last month a property buyer in Richmondshire, North Yorkshire waited up to five days for their LLC report and paid £36.  Now, with Richmondshire District Council becoming the 51st local authority to join the LLC Register, buyers can get a guaranteed official search for £15 instantly, opt for a personal search which is free of charge, or purchase the information from a search company. Richmondshire is the third district out of seven we intend to migrate before they merge into a single unitary authority in April 2023.

By centralising the LLC data, we are helping decision-makers streamline their planning process beyond council boundaries. Developers, policymakers and innovators also use this valuable geospatial information to make important local infrastructure planning and investment decisions.

We understand the benefits of providing LLC information widely and we have adopted a regional cluster approach. By migrating between five and 14 local authorities in a region, they can support each other in the process and help increase the speed of the migrations. Once they join the national register, the local economic benefits are maximised by the whole region.

We are also working with Local Enterprise Partnerships to determine local economic priorities in driving economic growth and job creation. As data from each district council is transferred to the new register, we work with the relevant County Council in ensuring all charges are transformed and comply to our quality standards.

Our vision is for a world leading property market with a complete national LLC Register supporting it. We will continue to partner with organisations and networks such as the County Councils Network to better understand how we can add value to the work they do. The OxCam Arc case study illustrates first-hand the benefit of a single LLC service.

Allison Bradbury, Head of Implementation

HM Land Registry