A man in a suit stands beside a large hour glass, watching the sand slip through. SAM Conveyancing explains how to beat Land Registry Delays.
Are you looking for Conveyancing Solicitors who can handle a Land Registry expedite application?
If you're worried about Land Registry delays, our experienced conveyancing solicitors can enter your application with an expedition request to keep your transaction moving smoothly.

We'll work to manage your timescales and speed up the process wherever possible.

How Can I Beat the Land Registry Delays?

(Last Updated: 04/09/2023)
5 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Some delays are taking over two years, though most routine updates take 10-14 weeks.
  • 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 apply for Land Registry expedite.
  • There are additional factors you must consider if you are purchasing a short lease which you intend to extend two years after purchase.
  • There are additional factors you must consider if you are a cash buyer, and you will need to mortgage the property after purchase.

Is there a backlog with Land Registry?

There is a backlog with the Land Registry. The most up to date waiting times, categorised by the nature of your application, can be found at Gov.UK

How long is Land Registry taking at the moment? Updated August 2023

The longest time the Land Registry is taking to process an application is 24 months and this is for almost all applications when registering purchases of part of a registered property that isn’t a new development. However, routine updates are mostly taking 10-14 weeks.

Almost all complex changes to existing registered titles are taking 7-9 months. Almost all registrations of purchases of plots on new developments are taking 20-22 months. Almost all first registrations of properties are taking 14-16 months.

Why is Land Registry taking so long?

Many applications to the land registry are automated and can be registered on the same day:
"Just over 30% of applications to update the register are automated and completed within minutes. These include applications to remove a mortgage or registering a standard form of restriction."
Source: Gov.UK

Most standard applications involve several stages for the Registrar to complete, such as:
  • Registering Transfers
  • Updating Charges (Mortgages)
  • Changing Names

More complex applications such as:
will involve more work for the registrar. 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. The good news is:

"We have increased our overall caseworker resource by around 1,000 in the last few years, including over 500 in the last 2 years alone to help process additional cases. We believe improvements can only be delivered through a combination of recruitment and training as well as automation. At the moment, 29% of our applications to change the register are automated – we want to increase this to up to 70% in the next 3 years."
Source: Gov.UK

What happens to the legal ownership during the Land Registry delay between completion and registration?

The seller remains the legal owner until the property is transferred to the buyer, which only takes place on registration. The legal process for this is that the seller holds the property on trust for the buyer, until the property register is updated at the Land Registry. This means that your legal ownership rights are secured from the moment the application is received, not at the point at which it is processed and completed.

Be assured by this statement from HMLR:

"Every application we receive protects the transaction it is registering from the day we receive it."

Is there a Land Registry Fast Track?

These delays are frustrating for homeowners who are excited to see their name on the title deeds. However, due to the protections described above, the delay usually isn't too much of an issue. If the delay in registering the property at the Land Registry is going to prevent or put at risk another transaction, you can apply to the Land Registry to fast track your registration. If you meet their criteria, they’ll finalise the registration.

The Land Registry expedited (fast-track) process is available for applications, either residential or commercial, where a delay would:
  • cause problems 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.

You can’t ask the Land Registry to fast track your application if you don’t have a valid reason to.

How do Land Registry delays affect lease extensions after completion?

If you've bought a lease with less than 84 years remaining, you will most likely want to extend the lease as early as possible; because every year the lease reduces, the cost to extend your lease increases.

You cannot extend your lease by the formal (statutory) process until you have been registered proprietor for two years or more. The clock begins at the date of final registration, not the date you completed on the purchase. So, if it takes two years for your purchase to be registered, you could end up waiting four years in total, before your statutory right to extend the lease kicks in.

On any purchase of a leasehold with a term of 84 years or less, where you intend to extend the lease, request that your solicitor put in an application for expedited registration. Delaying this would prejudice your onward lease extension in 2 years, so it meets the Land Registry's conditions for expediting your application. This can be done after completion, as well as before.

How do Land Registry delays affect cash buyers?

If you are buying with cash, but need to mortgage the property after purchase to raise finance, you will find that most lenders require the property to be registered for a minimum of 6 months. Again, if you need to mortgage the property, request that your solicitor put in an application for expedited registration.

Fixed Fee | Rated Excellent on Trustpilot | No Sale No Fee

Frequently Asked Questions
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Written by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Reviewed by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.

People also searched for

Land Registry Registration Fees

Land Registry Registration Fees

How long does it take to extend a lease? From SAM Conveyancing

How long does it take to extend a lease?

Land Registry Form A Restriction and other restrictions explained

Land Registry Form A Restriction and other restrictions explained