HM Land Registry—early completion
HM Land Registry—early completion

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • HM Land Registry—early completion
  • Why might evidence of discharge be delayed?
  • HM Land Registry practice before 3 August 2009
  • HM Land Registry practice on and after 3 August 2009
  • Advantages and disadvantages of Early Completion
  • Minimising the risks

As of 3 August 2009 HM Land Registry has applied a policy of early completion to applications to register a new owner (and their lender) where there is no immediate evidence of the redemption of the existing (seller’s) mortgage. Early completion applies only to applications for the transfer of the whole of a registered title (not part) but HM Land Registry will keep this position under review.

In most cases HM Land Registry will no longer sit on the application until evidence of redemption is produced. Instead, they will register the transfer to the new owner and the new charge, without first removing from the register the entry protecting the seller’s existing mortgage. This means that the buyer’s lender will be registered as second chargee unless and until the evidence of discharge of the first mortgage is presented. This will breach any undertaking given by the buyer’s solicitor to the new lender that its security will be a first legal charge.

However, in some cases (where there is a restriction on title), failure to produce evidence of discharge of the seller’s mortgage within one month of submission will lead to the cancellation of the registration application. This will expose the buyer and its lender to the possibility that the priority period conferred by the pre-completion search expires before the application can be re-submitted