Digital AP1s: five things law firms need to know

Category: Blog, Practice Management 22nd March 2022

HM Land Registry have announced they would be mandating all register applications to be submitted digitally from November 2022.

So, what changes are required from law firms? Paper forms are no longer accepted. If you scan or populate a PDF and upload it currently, you’ll need to migrate to a completely digital AP1 form submission process from November 2022.

The change is being introduced to make the process quicker and smoother. It will, however, involve change for a lot of law firms. What does your firm need to know to ensure you’re digital AP1 ready in 2022?

1. Paper forms will be ceased

From November 2022, paper forms for applications to change the register will no longer exist. At present, approximately 80% of the conveyancing sector submit a variation of paper forms, even if they are ‘electronic’, such as an uploaded PDF. If your firm’s process currently involves the manual completion and upload of AP1s, or you populate your form within Osprey Approach and upload, you’ll need to employ a new process.

What do you need to change? A new digital process is required. You can choose to use HM Land Registry’s DRS directly, however if you’re already integrated with InfoTrack via Osprey, you can instantly access digital AP1 submissions via the Business Gateway through your integration.

InfoTrack has been providing a digital AP1 service since 2016 and more than 1,100 firms already access the system. To date, over half a million digital AP1 applications have been submitted through our platform. As the leading provider of digital AP1 submissions to HM Land Registry, making the switch with InfoTrack and Osprey is quick and easy.

2. You’ll need to understand validations

HM Land Registry have introduced validations to ensure the right information is entered into the right place on the form. It means the HMLR caseworker can process the application quickly and with minimal questions, ultimately reducing the chance of requisitions.

This process didn’t exist with paper forms, which meant they could be submitted with any information on the forms and relied on the caseworker to figure it out. If information is incomplete or incorrect when submitted, it results in a requisition being raised by the HMLR caseworker.

Delays to your submissions may arise if you don’t understand the validations, and cause more requisitions, overall slowing down processing. Prepare by ensuring you’re familiar with the standard requirements and necessary validations in the digital platforms.

InfoTrack is focused on making it as easy as possible for you, which is why we help validate your titles, SDLT thresholds, registration type match, missing fields, role types, and more with our automatic checks. Ultimately, we’ve refined our digital AP1 service over the last five years to help you reduce your risk of requisitions.

3. Review your requisition management process

Requisitions are a pain point for conveyancers, and we understand the impact they have on your AP1 process. They remain an important part of the process though, ensuring the information provided is accurate. While we can’t get rid of them, we can help make the way you manage them easier.

Managing and tracking requisitions is a time-consuming and complex process. If you’re using a manual process, this carries an increased risk of missing deadlines. As you move to digital AP1s you’ll also be required to change how your requisitions are managed. 

Using InfoTrack’s AP1 dashboard via your Osprey integration makes the management, submission, and monitoring of AP1 applications intuitive and easy. Track each application, and access task lists and reminders to ensure you don’t miss expiring priorities or key dates.

The built-in ‘WhatsApp-style’ messaging solution connects you directly with the Land Registry caseworker to make responding to requisitions simple. You can also upload additional documentation if required, all within the same platform.

4. Evaluate your AP1 draft and approval process

The post-completion process can involve different people internally managing different stages of the transaction, with the role of drafting, reviewing, and ultimately submitting applications. As you move to digital AP1s, you’ll likely need to change how this is managed.

Currently, the HMLR’s DRS doesn’t allow multiple users with different logins to review the same applications. Firms are going to need to work out how to review applications made online, while ensuring they don’t duplicate or lose data, which can cause serious delays.

Our interactive AP1 management system provides firm-wide transparency across all AP1 applications to ensure post-completion teams can easily locate and process applications. 

5. Start training now

We believe this new system will improve the accuracy of submissions, help reduce requisitions, and speed up the process. So, our biggest piece of advice, as with any major change, is to be prepared and get ahead of the deadline.

To prepare for the migration and working with the new systems, get your new processes in place early and start training as soon as you can to avoid teething issues right on the deadline.

Osprey integrated with InfoTrack: digital AP1s made easy

If you migrate to submitting your AP1s digitally with Osprey and InfoTrack, you gain the benefit of:

  • Up to 90% of your digital AP1 form pre-populated using data mapped from Osprey, the Register, Property Report, SDLT, and more to save you time and reduce rekeying errors.
  • Ability to submit your form as a single page in five minutes, so there’s no need to step through multiple pages to submit.
  • Access to our integration with LMS enabling you to automatically send the submission receipt and completion of registration documents to your Lender.
  • Ability to submit multiple forms in one application including Shared Ownership Staircasing or complex commercial sites.
  • Guided validations help you to reduce your requisitions, including Land Tax thresholds, Power of Attorney, and Donor details.
  • Immediate access to priority for your applications with digital submissions. You receive a submission receipt on submission, with your Land Registry Reference, as confirmation your application has been received successfully.
  • Auto-population of your electronically signed TR1/TP1 and Conveyancers Certificate for electronically signed Deeds.
  • Access to our intuitive AP1 dashboard so you can contact your HMLR caseworker directly from within InfoTrack, respond to requisitions with guided response templates, or request action, while staying up to date with any correspondence.