Changes in ownership of land, or houses for that matter, cannot be recorded at the moment because the Land Registry office is closed. Deals may be struck but the new owners cannot be registered until the offices reopen. This will also delay applications for a loan to buy property.
All applications for registration, other than eRegistrations and online viewing of folios, was suspended by the Property Registration Authority (PRA) on 30 March. There are no staff in the PRA office and no applications are being processed.
“Applications for registration of judgment mortgages, cautions, inhibitions and priority entries are all suspended,” an email circulated to members of The Law Society of Ireland reads. “All unopened post will have the same priority as of the date the PRA reopens. Solicitors can still view folios and file plans online but cannot obtain official certified copies.”
Sales and purchases can still occur. The transaction is normally completed between the solicitor for the vendor and the solicitor for the purchaser. Once the deed has been stamped, it is then lodged to the Land Registry for the purchaser to be registered as the new owner.
“As the Land Registry is now closed and not accepting applications for registration, the deeds cannot be lodged. However, the purchaser still has good title as such as they are the person entitled to be registered as owner,” agri solicitor Aisling Meehan said.
However, some deals may require information from the Land Registry to be completed. Solicitors have queried how up to date Land Registry online records are and whether they may be relied upon. However, this has not yet been clarified.
“With regard to ‘dealings pending’, it is not seen how a purchase could proceed if a deal pending is disclosed on a search and a purchaser is unable to inspect it.
“Execution and witnessing of conveyancing deeds require wet signatures and must take place in person, as must the swearing of statutory declarations and affidavits,” the Law Society of Ireland says.
Meanwhile, the Probate Office will once again start to issue grants from Thursday 16 April. Originally it said that it would not issue grants of probate until public health restrictions were eased.
However, after representations by the Law Society this was changed.