Digital identity verification & property management software

New standards for digital identities, recently introduced by HM Land Registry, could help open up the possibility of using smartphones in the conveyancing process. What do estate agents need to know about the changes?

Offering an ‘enhanced level of digital identify verification’, the standard follows widespread calls to make the conveyancing verification process simpler.

The verification process is often the most challenging and time-consuming part of any property transaction. Full details have been published in an online guide: Encouraging the use of digital technology in identity verification.

What do estate agents need to know about digital identity verification?

In essence, all you need to know is that this new standard allows conveyancers to check who someone says they are. They can use either:

  • Biometric methods (identifying a person using some aspect of their biology, for example fingerprints or facial recognition)
  • Cryptographic methods (using sophisticated algorithms)

There are four steps that they must take:

  1. Get evidence that can be verified electronically, for example an e-passport
  2. Check the evidence, using a third-party provider to ensure it is not a forgery
  3. Match the evidence to the identity of the person presenting that evidence. A third-party provider must undertake a series of defined checks
  4. Get evidence to ensure the transferor, borrower or lessor is the same person or entity as the owner. This can include traditional forms of ID, such as a utility bills or driving licence

Electronic verification in property

This standard improves security by requiring that a photograph or live video (step three) is matched to the photograph extracted from evidence provided in step one.

It’s a big shift in the use of digital technologies. However, it’s not the first time that electronic verification has been made available in the property process.

Electronic signatures are common nowadays in property. Whether it’s purchasers agreeing a memorandum of sale or landlords agreeing to maintenance work on a managed property.

The benefits of e-signatures in property transactions

E-signatures for milestones such as this already provide a quick and simple way to confirm sign-off.

New digital identities standards could help speed up the conveyancing process

It means there is no need to print and post. Also, there’s no need for customers to make a trip into branch, which is particularly useful in the current climate.

What’s more, Alto’s property management software includes built-in e-signing so there’s no need for subscriptions to third-party services like DocuSign.

A brave future for digital identity verification

The new standard makes things clearer and more certain for conveyancers. They know that they’ve completed their duty on identity verification when dealing with land registration applications.

More than that, it’s another fantastic step forward for the use of sophisticated digital technologies in property.

Also, as a leading software provider for the industry, we’re excited by the opportunities and efficiencies that the continued development of such technologies will bring.

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