Digital signatures make it easier to re-mortgage

The Land Registry says its commitment to developing new digital services is making the process of buying a home simpler and quicker.

One of its main innovations is a system allowing homeowners to re-mortgage their property by signing their mortgage deeds online.

Lord Henley, the minister with responsibility for the Land Registry, said: “People are doing an ever-increasing amount online, from shopping to banking, e-learning to gaming. Now they can re-mortgage their home online as it’s quicker, more convenient, and fits their busy lives.”

The digital service enables people to sign their mortgage whenever and wherever they are, including on their phone or computer. It removes the need for ‘wet’ (pen-on-paper) signatures, and witnesses no longer need to be present when the documents are signed.

Homeowners no longer face delays from having to print out forms, find an independent third party to witness their signature or pay to return the forms by post.

Nationwide, HSBC, RBS and NatWest were among the first mortgage lenders to sign up, allowing their customers to use the new service. To sign their deed, the borrower uses GOV.UK Verify to confirm their identity.

This provides an additional level of identity assurance that does not exist when signing a paper deed.
The digital deed is also more secure than a paper deed as it is always held on HM Land Registry’s IT infrastructure so cannot be tampered with or lost.

The service is currently available for people applying for a re-mortgage on their house, with no immediate plans to expand to all mortgages until further testing is complete.

Please contact us if you would like advice about the legal aspects of buying and selling a home.