Guest blog: Dealing with discharges

Guest blog by RoSS Mackay WS, Partner, HBJ Property.

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When you are looking around for possible inefficiencies in the sale/purchase process, one issue would, I suspect, be at the top of most practitioner’s lists. This is the issue of dealing with discharges of securities (usually in favour of a former owner). At present, the process for a selling agent typically involves preparation and delivery of a paper deed to the lenders (and according to current policies of many, this can only be done after redemption) followed by delivery of that signed hard copy with an appropriate registration form to the purchaser’s agents. Those agents, in turn, have to submit the deed to RoS and then look to the selling agents to provide an updated title sheet as evidence that the old security has been removed.

This circular process has numerous links in the chain, any of which can be disrupted due to simple matters such as lenders losing the hard copy discharge, delays in presentation and the chasing of the title sheet (unless one is willing to pay for a Registers Direct print).

There is no doubt that, anecdotally, the profession would be delighted with a step towards the simplified registration of discharges whereby virtually the entire process above can be removed from the average transaction, and we are left with the simple solution of a seller’s agent dealing with redemption of a mortgage account following by electronic intimation of same to lenders. That can then trigger a train of electronic communication from lender, to register, to seller’s agents, thereby simplifying and updating the whole process. I would be surprised if there would be any in the profession quibbling with that end result!

I am sure all agents have their own particular bete noir, but the often unnecessary inefficiencies dealing with discharges must be in everyone’s top five.

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