Land Registration Officers introduce the work of Land Registry
Deeds are vital documents to property owners. They are not just about property interests. Banks will take into account information on the land register when processing mortgage applications from property owners. To safeguard the interests of property owners, deeds have to be registered at the Land Registry (LR). Two Land Registration Officers will talk about the deeds registration process and how the LR improves the quality and efficiency of its service with modern facilities and their one-stop deeds registration service.
Preventing secret and fraudulent conveyances
The main roles and responsibilities of the LR are registration of documents affecting land and provision of land records for public search. Miss Yung Ngo, Kris, Land Registration Officer II of the LR says that land registers are maintained and made available to members of the public to prevent secret and fraudulent conveyances. Registration of a deed secures its priority over unregistered deeds and deeds registered after it. Upon registration, the relevant interest in a property is recorded on the land register.
Handling about 500 000 deeds yearly on average
The LR currently handles about 500 000 deeds on average every year, the majority of which, relates to sale and purchase of properties, such as sale and purchase agreements, assignments, mortgages, etc. The number of these documents is an important indicator of the transaction volume in the property market.
Regarding the deeds registration process, according to Miss Wong Hoi-ling, Eva, Land Registration Officer II of the LR, first of all, solicitors’ firms will lodge the deeds, together with their corresponding memorials and registration fees to the deeds lodgement counter for registration. On average, about 2 000 deeds are lodged for registration at the LR every work day. Upon receipt of the deeds, colleagues of the Registration Section will input the key information of the corresponding memorials into the computer system within the same day. Particulars of the deeds including the nature and date of the instrument, as well as the consideration will be shown in the “Deeds Pending Registration” section of the land register of the property concerned on the following day for online search or counter search at the LR’s search offices by members of the public and industry practitioners such as solicitors’ firms, banks, property agents, etc.
Accurate and transparent land records
Next, colleagues of the Registration Section will scrutinise the deeds and their corresponding memorials to ensure that the requirements under the Land Registration Ordinance and the Land Registration Regulations are complied with before completing their registration. The land register of the property will then be updated accordingly. Miss Eva Wong says that for sale and purchase of properties, it is very important to maintain accurate and transparent land records. Through conducting land search, a prospective buyer will know about the registered owner(s) of a property and its incumbrances (for example, subsisting mortgages, outstanding building orders, etc.), which will help protect his/her interests.
Advanced imaging technique
As a final step, registered deeds will be imaged at the Central Imaging Centre (CIC) with advanced imaging technology for storage in a computer system to enable the public to place orders for imaged copies online or at the LR’s search offices in person. The deeds will be returned to the lodging solicitors’ firms after the imaging process is completed.
Four high-speed scanners
Miss Kris Yung says that the CIC is currently equipped with four high-speed scanners, each being able to scan more than 100 pages per minute. Different modes can be adopted for scanning colour plans. To further enhance the workflow of deeds registration, the CIC was relocated from Sha Tin to 17/F, Queensway Government Offices in October 2020, so that the imaging process can be conducted with the lodgement and registration processes under one roof. Not only can it save the processing time and operating costs for delivery of deeds between the two offices, but it can also help shorten the time required for completion of the entire deeds registration process, thereby enhancing the service standard of the LR.
Committed to enhancing services
In fact, the LR has launched various services in recent years to strengthen the protection of the interests of property owners, such as the “Property Alert” service and the “e-Alert Service” for subscription by banks to help prevent mortgage frauds, etc. Colleagues of the LR will continue to strive for excellence to provide quality land registration services to the public.
(The video is in Cantonese)
(The video is provided by Development Bureau)