The property industry has added its voice to those expressing concerns about the privatisation of the Land Registry.
The British Property Federation (BPF), which represents those who own and invest in commercial property, has warned that the government should not rush into making big changes to the way that this critical service works, as any perceived threat to the security of property title in the UK could spook investors.
Responding to the government consultation on privatisation, the BPF stresses that security of title is one of the big attractions for overseas investors in UK real estate, who have steadily become more important players in the commercial property market. Security of title underpins billions of pounds’ worth of lending to commercial property and if it were undermined in any way, it would make the job of renewing the urban environment considerably more difficult and expensive.
The BPF also points out that over the past few years, there has been a noticeable drop in service quality levels at the Land Registry, and that additional investment is badly needed.
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “The Land Registry plays a crucial role in ensuring that real estate transactions are transparent and smoothly effected. It also plays an important part in making the UK attractive to those who invest in our towns and cities.
“Our concern would be that in the rush to push through these proposals important questions about the quality of service do not get the airing they deserve. Should the government go ahead with privatisation, it is critical that incentives exist for a new operator to invest in service quality and to retain the Land Registry’s deep pool of legal expertise. The Land Registry is often taken for granted but its activities facilitate important and much-needed regeneration across the country.”