Sunday, August 1, 2021
UK

Government backs UPRN concept to speed up transactions

Government

UPRNs give each address in the country a unique number and can have ‘attached’ to that number the characteristics agents need to know about

The government has backed the concept of Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) as a way of speeding up transactions.

UPRNs give each address in the country a unique number and can have ‘attached’ to that number the activities and characteristics agents need to know about. These may include information such as planning permission for when the property was first built and subsequent extensions, building regulations, council tax payments, utility providers, EPCs, health and safety checks on rental properties.

Now housing minister Chris Pincher has told a conference: We know that the current buying and selling process is besieged by long and arduous and byzantine processes and inefficiencies.

When a buyer is found, old and dusty deeds, half-forgotten documents lying in solicitors’ safes or basements of town halls – they have got to be located, they’ve got to be shared, they’ve got to be pored over by both parties in great detail, he says.

With UPRNs, he says, the processes can be streamlined. Information like the number of previous owners, boundaries, that can all be shared digitally at the touch of a key helping to speed the whole house buying process along.

Last summer the government opened the UPRN system with the aim of allowing digital searches for properties producing more comprehensive information than in the past. The system is managed by a GeoPlace, which has Ordnance Survey as its parent company.

Early this year, a number of estate agencies, PropTech firms and professional property bodies wrote to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick highlighting the potential benefits offered by the Unique Property Reference Number concept.

Signatories to the letter included NAEA and ARLA Propertymark, Savills, Foxtons, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), The Lettings Industry Council, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), The Property Ombudsman and the Property Redress Scheme.

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