A Private Sector Land Registry
Can a privately operated Land Registry be run efficiently and effectively and support the real estate market better than the current government-run system? The Department for Business Innovation & Skills in the office of the U. K. Secretary of State has recently sought feedback on the idea.
In what might be the biggest change since the introduction of Domesday Book in 1086, a Consultation Document (analogous to a request for public comment in the U. S.) titled “Consultation on Moving Land Registry Operations to the Private Sector," sets out the rationale for such a move. (For the record, there is no evidence that public comment was sought before the implementation of Domesday Book).
The CD is loaded with facts and figures. It tries to make the case that a private-sector entity (whimsically called “NewCo” in the CD) should control “the processes and operations of the Land Registry” while “the registers, their intellectual property and rights would remain under the ownership of the Crown and managed within government under the authority of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationary Office.” In addition, it reassures nervous registrants that the exisiting “no-fault” indemnity system (whereby the Land Registry may pay a sum of money as compensation for a financial loss someone suffers as a result of a mistake on the Register) will remain in place.
It’s interesting to see the U.K. heading in the direction of privatization in the same era which has seen serious proposals for nationwide, government-run registries in the U. S. The comment period for the Consultation Document closed May 24, and the Constructive Notice Newsletter will continue to monitor developments across the pond.