UK property

Guest Post for Property Insider by Stuart Young, Managing Director of Property Log Book

The adoption of an assured digital identity of a seller and buyer, combined with the use of a Property Log Book, can introduce greater transparency into conveyancing transactions and speed up the process. 

The conveyancing transaction has seen year on year increases in the length of time it takes to complete.  It can take around six months from a property being listed to completion of sale, and 8-12 months between offer and completion in England and Wales. There were approximately 300,000 failed transactions last year equating to costs of over £400m, according to the MHCLG.

The conveyancing transaction centres on proof of identity and ownership for vendors, purchasers and others providing funds.  Conveyancing organisations, and other relying parties such as estate agents and mortgage lenders, will not trust the identity verification carried out by another organisation.  This lack of trust adds to the time to complete a transaction, with poor consumer experience and the potential for identity, property and financial fraud. 

However the industry adoption of a standards based digital identity assurance process, backed by regulators, would lead to significant reduction in the time to complete and a reduction in the risk of fraud, without adding cost to the process. The reduction in time to complete is seen as the most pressing issue and the most important deliverable of the introduction of a digital identity trust framework.

Implementation of a Digital Identity Trust Framework would address the key identity verification issues found in the home buying and selling process and conveyancing transaction.  It would be beneficial in reducing time to complete, failed transactions and reducing fraud risks.

An assured digital identity combined with a biometric check has a much higher value under the Government GPG45 guidelines on identity checking.  A pilot of which is currently being carried out by Etive with a range of conveyancing firms.

By completing a Property Log Book (PLB), Etive has evidenced that we can reduce the conveyancing part by 2 weeks just by having all the information together – up front – in one place. As one Solicitor firm confirmed, they can wait on average up to 24 days trying to gather all the information together from the seller. Once you put all the information together, into a PLB, it stays there for life benefiting all future owners, sellers and buyers of that property. 

Combined, the sellers Property Log Book with an assured digital identity, as part of a Digital Identity Trust Framework, enables us to link a seller/buyer to a property, solving another problem for solicitors, conveyancers and HM Land Registry. This also helps reduce initial incidences of identity fraud.

Etive recently completed a white paper into the development of an identity trust framework with contributions from the MHCLG, Law Society, SRA, CLC, HMLR, insurance providers, estate agent and identity providers. The output from this work is the on-going development of a digital identity trust framework for the home buying and selling process, which is aligned to MHCLG aspirations to improve the process for consumers.

A free copy of the white paper can be obtained here Digital Identity Trust Framework

For more details on this project and to take part please contact Stuart Young at