Queen’s Speech: Daniel Watney LLP responds to Land Registry sell off

Property consultancy, Daniel Watney LLP has responded to the government’s intention to privatise the Land Registry, as part of the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, revealed in the Queen’s Speech.

Richard Close, head of lease advisory at Daniel Watney, said the sell off threatens the Registry’s impartiality and introducing a profit motive would limit the organisation’s wider strategy. There’s also concerns over the market monopoly that privatisation would lead to, says Close.

Richard Close, head of lease advisory at Daniel Watney LLP, said:

“The Land Registry is a respected institution largely because of its impartiality – a sell off may put this under threat. It will only be through public ownership that the Land Registry can continue to take a strategic view on things which might not at first seem commercially appealing, like integrating blockchain technology and distributed ledgers to boost trust. Private owners are less likely to adopt a ‘one step back, two steps forward’ policy when shareholders have to be appeased.

“There may also be considerable knock on effects for the wider market. The property industry already has many valuable private data sources, but passing the Registry into private hands would create an immediate market monopoly. Imposing on the sector a single holder of 86 per cent of titles will surely render existing private land data companies redundant and could end up creating a blind spot when these go out of business or start to roll back their research.”