Details of the jurisdictional updates from each nation during the conference programme
From 1st July the NSW Land Registry Services became completely privatised with a 35 year concession;
Privatisation was driven by a number of things including the need for more innovation;
The housing market is still very strong – mainly due to the immigration situation in Sydney;
95% of applications are now auto registered which was mandated by Government;
Within the next 18 months 85% of applications will come in this way;
By 2020 all will be digital but not necessarily automated;
Some resistance has been received from the surveyance profession;
The organisation is working in a very busy ad digital world and is shrinking whilst ensuring the staff with the relevant skills and qualifications remain;
The Office of the Registrar General took over responsibility last year and are currently starting to see the initial reports coming through which will help focus attention;
Other jurisdictions in Australia are now following suit;
Policy sits with the Office of the Registrar General;
40000 common land titles have just been converted and letters sent to the owners with only one complaint being received.
Torrens-based register. Mission is to show that a government-run entity can be as innovative as a private sector company.
Process 300,000 documents a year; 40% in paper with wet signatures, 50% images sent by lawyers and 10% data.
Data is computerised and able to be processed in minutes. Paper is processed in two days.
Original paperwork is scanned in and then destroyed.
Gradual rise in the property market since 2010-11, although at a slower point just now.
Digitally-coded electronic signatures are in use.
Focus on legislation to make small improvements to enhance the digital world, the future is digital.
Deal with wills for probate court and original wills cannot be destroyed. Looking to move to e-wills and working with the law society to progress.
2011 legislation passed but still not enacted.
Provisionally registered all government land but didn’t have buy-in from the government and lawyers to enact.
Recent election and now have support from the new government and will introduce the land title registration, to be operational by April 2018.
Register for non-Bermudians.
Corporate Register – big issue with the corporate bodies.
Not a lot of buy-in from attorneys but big buy-in from banks.
Have the capability to accept digital documents, but not going to initially, introduce slowly.
Good link between registers and maps – GIS map base.
2012 flyover – able to overlay photography.
Government uses Bermuda National Grid 2000 and CAD drawings can be dropped into mapping, would love to make mandatory.
8 million population with 7% of land privately owned;
Act like a public sector organisation and funded by fees;
Organisation was cash starved with a huge backlog of applications and has been turned round from survival to modernising with initial focus on modernising processes;
Everything is digitised which has reduced turnaround times;
80% of transactions are search services and 20% registration;
55% completely automated and 45% partially automated;
96% of transactions come in electronically – soon to be 100% once some legislation changes are pushed through;
Looking at developing the land register for the first nations for all of Canada and also looking at Crown land;
Working with solicitors and conveyancers to review their processes;
Very interested in blockchain and looking to carry out a pilot;
Just completed an electronic map of the province – this is kept up to date when surveyors submit their electronic plans;
Aim is to help customers to do a better job with their application to reduce the input needed by staff;
Considering unique IDs to better track owners of land;
Privacy and personal safety issues are being looked at due to concerns around law enforcement officials, spousal abuse etc.
The Dutch Kadaster are currently seeing trends of recovery in volumes from the 2008 global crash where volumes slumped to 650,000 per annum and are now 1.2 million.
The Dutch Kadaster are hosting a conference next May with other Jurisdictions and would welcome anyone from RoTC to come along.
The Dutch Kadaster are currently assessing the business impact of the new GDPR regulations that are coming into force in May 2018.
The Dutch Kadaster are awaiting a decision from the EU court on European inheritance legislation that would potentially see the need for registration without a deed in the event of a death of a proprietor. Peter explained that this would be the first time that registration would be instigated without a deed and that this had many practical challenges for the Kadaster.
This led on to the group having a discussion about currency of land registers and the practical steps that other jurisdictions take in the event of notification of a death. The group noted that it depends on the purpose of the register and if it has any linkages to other public policy objectives as to the need for the register to be as up to date as possible.
Jan Moerkerke provided the group with an overview of the work of the European Land Registry Association (ELRA). Jan explained that ELRA was an advisory group that looked at the benefits of land registration as a public service.
ELRA has 22 member states and deals with deeds an title systems
ELRA has a particular interest in cross-border conveyancing and sharing best practice among member states. ELRA also plays a key part in assisting organisations with understanding the challenges of implementing EU legislation and national legislation.
ELRA also has a key role in information sharing between member states and looking ahead at trends in land registration.
England and Wales – HMLR
Her Majesty’s Land Registry (HMLR) is a non-ministerial department that provides land registration services for England and Wales.
HMLR currently runs as a trading fund.
Alasdair explained that there has been some discussions around HMLR’s status and the latest position is that these are on hold.
HMLR has processed 31.8 million applications last year of which 94.8% were received electronically. HMLR’s revenue was £311 million with £243 million in costs. £89 million going back to treasury in a dividend payment and they retained £45 million in reserves.
HMLR have 4800 employees of which around 10% are modern apprentices
Fraud remains a key risk for HLMR and Alasdair provided the group with some specific examples.
HMLR are working with the English Law Commission on potential legislative changes and this should be announced at some point in 2018.
HMLR have undergone a change within their management structure with the appointment of a number of new key posts. They have also appointed some new non-executive directors.
HMLR have agreed a new business strategy and this will form the basis for Alasdair’s presentation later in the conference.
Alasdair gave an overview of the current challenges being faced by HMLR in terms of resourcing and meeting their service standards. Alasdair added that they have an ambitious plan to eradicate their arrears by 31 March 2018.
The UK government is currently dominated by the impact of the outcome of the referendum on Brexit and it is expected to remain this way for some time as well as the challenges within the current government of running a minority administration.
The Estonian Land Registry have a title based system and currently host 27 registers.
The Estonian Land Registry have been operating with electronic signatures since 2006 and digital signatures since 2016. They have had a paperless system since 2008.
All 50 staff at the Estonian Land Registry work at home and they have no fixed customer service point.
The Estonian Government is currently implementing local government reform and the Estonian Land Registry are reviewing the impact that this will have on their business.
The Estonian Land Registry are developing a new e-conveyancing system that will be implemented in 2020.
Kadri Laud explained that Estonian’s have no fraud within their system given the robust process of digital signatures.
The group asked a number of questions around the culture within the Estonian Land Registry. Kadri Laud highlighted the following:
All applications are divided equally amongst the registration staff each day
People are managed from their home
They must attend a monthly team meeting only
They have an ageing demographic and that the management board are taking steps to address this.
They have a composite induction programme to integrate new staff members into the home workplace.
Major change to the apartment association regulations will come into force at the end of the year which requires a legal entity to be established for the management for a building. Apartments will therefore need to be registered in the land and business register.
Experiencing challenges with the electronic signature ID card, possibly due to a technical flaw. ID card used government wide and has the legal value of a wet signature and therefore some technology within the government is required to be replaced with urgency to eliminate the threat.
Notaries are mandatory in conveyancing. Original paperwork is held by the notary and copies are sent to the government electronically.
Land Registry activities transferred from the Land Court in 2010;
The National Land Survey of Finland are responsible for performing cadastral surveys, maintain property information, produce map data and handle registrations;
Finland has no private or licensed surveyors;
Parliament is due to pass legislation on 3D cadastral units at the start of next year;
The Finland building register is maintained by the Population Register Centre;
Land tax valuation is a new project being undertaken by the National Land Survey. This will be rolled out in 2020;
Real estate market is improving;
Have introduced automatic decisions on mortgages and will be doing the same for titles in the future;
The organisation is changing due to the progressive atmosphere and the view of benefits associated with going digital including saving money and resources.
Hong Kong Land Registry has around 500 staff. It is operating as a trading fund organisation. The trading fund pays dividends to public funds but may retain profits to invest for service improvements.
As compared to 2015/16, the total number of documents registered and searches of land registers increased by 5.1% and 5.4% respectively. The business turnover of Hong Kong Land Registry registered an increase of 5.7%.
In 2016/17, around 2,200 instruments were lodged for registration per day and 5.3 million searches were conducted in the year.
Hong Kong Land Registry has extended the e-Alert Service with modified features to Authorised Institutions under the Banking Ordinance, Chapter 155 of the Laws of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Land Registry’s website has adopted responsive web design since June 2017.
Huge housing crisis and housing prices in Dublin are significantly up;
Receiving bulk transfer of mortgages which has been a different type of business and practices had to be reviewed to deal with this;
93% of land mass is on the register;
Most unregistered land is in Dublin and Cork;
Strategic aim it to have the remaining 7% of land mass registered (currently unregistered due to no trigger e.g. sale of property);
Digital registration is open to all;
Rolled out e-registration and e-charging in 2012;
There’s currently no digital signature law at present;
Currently paper based for deeds but looking at improvements;
Driving e-delivery will remain as a focus;
Fraud cases have resulted in the need to change strategy.
Isle of Man
Isle of Man Land Registry is 35 years old, has a population of 80,000 people and 40,000 titles. To date 16,000 registrations have been processed.
Isle of Man Land Registry has recently under gone a change in structure. This has instigated a review of their business processes including the updating of their mapping data and case management system.
Isle of Man Land Registry are currently investigating merging their mapping system using GIS tools to create a new cadastral map.
Isle of man Land Registry has recently published their land transaction data for the first time.
Isle of Man has recently implemented a change in its processes in relation to the processing of voluntary applications for registration given the outcome of a recent court case. Nick explained that this would be an iterative process and would be continually monitored.
Isle of Man Land Registry are further behind the curve that they would like to be on e-conveyancing and that they are hoping to progress this is the coming years. Nick added that they have some electronic capability with some documents being processed by email or by scanned image.
Nick provided the group with an overview of an issue of that the Isle of Man Land Registry are currently dealing with. He explained that under Isle of Man Legislation that there are no limit to the number of owners to one particular property or area and that this has caused them great practical issues in relation to notification of the other owners. John King advised that RoS had experienced some initial issues with notifications and was happy to share our experience to assist the Isle of Man.
Experiencing difficulties with the surveyor profession;
Fully automated with digitised records;
Digitised records have allowed for new products to be launched including eLandJamaica (elandjamaica.gov.jm) which has similarities to ScotLIS;
4000-5000 transactions carried out per month;
Work in ongoing to amend legislation to make it easier to get land registered;
Experiencing difficulty with registering common land due to no proof of ownership;
Exploring limited qualifies titles;
The National Land Agency is funded through fees and is not privatised;
The valuation function is funded by Government;
There is a lot of political interest in what we do particularly in relation to Crown land;
Looking at the adjudication system for assistant to resolve a number of issues including family ownership.
Title system similar to Estonia.
Notary and land registry working towards an electronic document management flow system. Currently paper based.
Notary keeps original documents provided by them; however, individuals are able to submit applications direct to the land registry and there is an issue in relation to where to store the original documentation in this scenario.
Property market booming.
Rapid decline from 2007 to 2012.
25% lower property value.
Recovered almost completely, particularly in the bigger cities, such as Amsterdam.
2% interest on mortgage rates (low), therefore attracted to invest in real estate. 1 in 4 transactions are not first time buyers.
250,000 transactions per year, 300,000 mortgages, 10 million parcels.
30,000 square km land mass.
French land registration system in use and 100% of land mass mapped since 1600s, obligatory.
System and process fully digitalised and 60% of deeds automatically lodged.
Started with simple change of owner and gradually covering the other 40% as complex business rules are put in place.
In the future it is envisioned that transactions will be done in minutes rather than hours.
System of key registers – can only enter data that is verified. Obliged to report any mistakes to the custodian.
Dutch cadastre – integrated land registry and mapping in one building and fully integrated.
Municipality and cadastre link is important.
Cadastre is a data provider and provides services at a national level.
Data security is a real threat – 3,000 hacks on the system monthly, no success so far, but it is a real threat.
Current system is 40 years old, looking to move to a modernised system next year – big challenge internally.
3D applications are accepted and 3D PDF included in the registers as legal evidence.
Torrens-based land registration system.
Survey and title system integrated and fully digital.
Virtually everything comes in electronically (occasional paper submission from citizens).
640,000 transactions per year.
Just had an election and change of government (now Labour), who have land/housing affordability and foreign ownership agendas that will impact the work. Likely that a foreign ownership register will need to be established.
Legislative reform – transfer bill passed.
New Torrens for the digital age – November 18.
Changes to processes and policy ongoing to accommodate modernisation.
Technology refresh – current system 15 years old, striving towards a new tech platform.
Continuous improvement is leading to significant decisions on changes to roles and processes.
The property market has been buoyant, particularly in Auckland and Wellington, although has been slowing down recently.
Nisga’s land title system is a Torrens system;
Nisga’s land is not recorded in the British Columbia land title office or any other provincial registry;
1200 registered titles;
Operate an educational system with a lot of client support;
No fees are charged to citizens;
Currently managing the business land registry and looking at representing Nigga for BC assessment for taxation purposes.
E-submissions launched in early 2000s;
Starting on a digital journey now;
85% of land on register;
Quality of applications are poor with 18% being rejected due to minor errors;
44% of paper applications are rejected;
GDPR regulations will cause some difficulty as old paperwork in storage will have to be cleansed;
Difficulties with fraud cases;
Souvenir land is a new difficulty being faced as people think they own the land but it is not being correctly registered;
No executive in Northern Ireland so there’s currently no access to capital funds.
Nova Scotia has 600,000 land parcels and runs as a deeds system
150,000 applications are processed each year.
Nova Scotia has 2 systems of registration
Nova Scotia launched an electronic system in 1998 and almost 70% of registrations are submitted electronically
Nova Scotia property market is flat with 80% of titles already registered.
Nova Scotia also has an issue of an ageing civil service
Nova Scotia Land Registry are looking at potentially increasing triggers for land registration although this is unlikely to be completed as there is no appetite within the Nova Scotian Government to change the current triggers.
The group then discussed potential ways to influence the Nova Scotian Government to increase land registration triggers and that they would be happy to discuss what individual juridiscictions did separately.
Property Title Ltd
Working closely with the land registry;
Providing title insurance/indemnity giving additional security;
Protection of ownership rights is important;
Title indemnity is really flourishing.
Three key priorities, digitisation, land registration completion and land reform agenda.
Digital transformation, ScotLIS launched this week, an online land information system that is digital and user-friendly.
Moving towards e-registration with a view to being fully digital by 2020. Ongoing on a progressive basis, discharge of mortgages has started and has been taken up by banks and recognised as a more efficient and secure process.
Currently holds 18 registers and increasing.
Soon to hold a register of controlling interest to identify who the legal owner is and who the beneficial owner is. Driven by the land reform agenda, land focussed and increasing interest from communities and community bodies in relation to this. (Spain highlighted the importance of knowing who the beneficiary is for anti-money laundering purposes).
Completion of the land register – 2/3 complete, however only relates to 1/3 of the land mass. Challenging target to complete by 2024 but work ongoing with big land owners.
Work ongoing to make our digital services mandatory, Minister is signing orders this week to approve the move to mandate and then we have one year’s notice to provide before we become mandatory.
Applications are currently submitted in paper form, looking to move to electronic alongside the journey to mandation.
Singapore Land Authority launched their portal last year that allows a free search for citizens to look at their own properties. Bryan explained that this has been possible as an extended use of the SingPass infrastructure that was based on the individual’s unique identification number with 2-factor authentication.
Singapore property market has seen an increase in volume of transactions in the 3rd quarter of 2017. This followed seven rounds of market cooling measures since 2010 by the Singapore Government to stabilise the property market. Another measure was to cap the amount of loan that a purchaser may borrow from a bank based on his total debt servicing ratio.
Property developers in Singapore appeared to have taken the view that property prices have bottomed and were actively buying land for development. So far this year, developers have bought about $7 billion worth of land through collective sales, where at least an 80% majority of the strata lot owners agreed to sell the whole development.
Singapore Land Authority recently implemented auto registration of standard caveats which has brought great efficiencies within their business and would be gradually expanding it to other documents.
Singapore Land Authority would be conducting a trial for lawyers to sign their digital signatures using mobile devices.
Bryan provided an overview of the tax regulations when buying a residential property in Singapore:
3% – First property
3% + 7% – Second property
3% + 10% – From the third property
Foreigner or Company – 3% + 15%
Bryan answered a couple of questions in relation to the application of the SingPass explaining that it was also used to access different government services.
Map-based land registration system.
In 2017, a digital map was launched, available on the intranet free of charge and can search for the owner of any property. Discussions ongoing in relation to what is and isn’t private information.
Interested to hear about the launch of ScotLIS in Scotland.
The online system in Slovakia details the current owner, no historical data, and GPS can be used on a mobile phone to identify an owner.
300,000 applications, 10% digital, 90% paper.
Have the technical capability to be digital, but the biggest challenge is how to move to digital, may think to move to mandation.
30% rejection rate.
No conveyancers – citizens, notaries and attorneys can submit applications, although a notary has to verify the signature of a person for all applications.
South Australia Land Services run a torres system of registration, has a turnover of 200,000,000 Australian dollars and have around 5,000 parcels of land
South Australia’s property market is currently flat.
South Australia Land Services are currently going through a period of commercialisation and that this is having a major impact on their business. Brenton advised that he would talk about this more within his presentation later on in the conference.
South Australia Land Services have implemented phase 1 of their electronic system and are in the process of moving to phase 2.
10 – 15 % of the South Australian transactions are through the PEXA system.
South Australian Land Services have also developed a relationship with the tax office and will be looking to further explore what services they can provide for the south Australian citizens.
South Western Australia
Landgate is the company that operates the land registration function in South West Australia and has both regulatory and commercial powers. South West Australia have a population of around 2.6 million.
Landgate have recently undergone a re-structure at senior management level and Jodi Cant formerly their Innovation Director has been appointed as CEO.
The Western Australian property market continues to be subdued with registration volumes being lower than expected.
Landgate have implemented a new LRaaS system that automates the processing of mortgages, discharge of mortgages, transfers of land, caveats and withdrawal of caveats. So that their customers can benefit from real-time processing of property transactions.
Landgate receive 24% of their overall applications by electronic lodgement and that this has been steadily increasing over recent months.
Landgate have implemented a programme of mandating e-lodgement which started in August 2016 and has further implementation milestones in December 2017 and May 2018.
Susan explained that there has been some resistance from the legal community in South West Australia in relation to the e-lodgement mandation. However, Landgate are committed to continuing with the programme as they see real benefits from delivering the end to end product for their customers electronically.
Landgate are currently reviewing their approach to Customer Services
Landgate received international recognition for their innovation work and this is something that they are very proud of.
South West Australian Government
South West Australian government has been considering options for better ways of living for Australians and that one of the options being considered is more flexible housing. Landgate are hoping that this will provide a boost to the property market.
Susan advised that there is currently new Commonwealth legislation and that Landgate are considering how this legislation will impact on their business.
The South West Australian Government are considering selling Landgate to a private sector company to deal with the government budget deficit but this is currently on hold.
Title system fully electronic, paper kept for security reasons.
Property market is beginning to recover from the crisis. Number of mortgages 10 years ago was 2 million per year and 1.2 million transactions. In 2015 the number of mortgages was only 200,000 and transactions had halved.
2017 the market is recovering with 700,000 transactions and 400,000 mortgages.
Electronic registration, easy to use for the citizen.
40 million pieces of information processed each year.
17% of registrations are foreign.
40% of buyers in Barcelona are foreign.
The Lantmateriet are a public authority that belongs to the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation;
Electronic applications went live in 2012;
34% of all applications are digital;
From May 2017 everyone has been able to apply electronically although new system is not up and running yet;
Hoping for a change in legislation to move from paper application which will allow for automatic decision of titles (already automated for mortgages);
Developing a new citizen system which will be ready early next year;
A little more than 500000 applications per year – around 90% are ok to be processed;
Electronic IDs are used to verify documentation;
Market remains strong;
Blockchain prototype will be ready in Winter;
Looking in to artificial intelligence;
Also looking at crowd sourcing for cadastral map for people to check it and feedback information.
Suppressed information – A discussion took place in relation to suppressed information for special cases, such as domestic violence. In Australia, information can be suppressed at the discretion of the registry. There is no system for this in Scotland, will need to address in the future, particularly with the recent launch of ScotLIS.
Information availability – New Zealand advised that their information is globally and freely available and were interested to hear how available data is in other countries. Netherlands advised that they provide data in bulk to banks, but they have to pay for a subscription for this kind of information. Scotland advised that some information is provided for free, such as house price index and now ScotLIS, anything beyond that is paid for – RoS is a self-financed trading fund. New Zealand advised that although their information is available, there is a legal requirement for lawyers to search the register, banks expect them to.