Land Registry frees up commercial ownership data

Transparency drive ‘gives citizens and organisations the opportunity to discover which companies own land and property in England and Wales’

The Land Registry has freed up the data on corporate and overseas ownership for millions of property records across England & Wales.

A key measure in the government’s ongoing transparency drive, the Commercial and Corporate Ownership Data and Overseas Companies Ownership Data includes three million rows of data where the registered legal owner is a UK company or corporate body, or an overseas company.

Access is now free for all, which the Land Registry says will support growth in the PropTech sector and among small and medium-sized enterprises; an official statement said the move would “give citizens and organisations the opportunity to scrutinise the records…and discover which companies own land and property in England and Wales”.

According to a 2015 investigation by Private Eye, offshore-based “corporate entities” had bought up over £100bn-worth of property across London in the preceding five years, including one in six homes in Kensington & Chelsea and many of the capital’s “trophy” buildings. As details were not publicly available at the time, the magazine had to go down the Freedom of Information route.

More datasets are due to be opened up over the coming months in a bid to “promote economic development, financial stability, tax collection, law enforcement and national security”.

Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar Graham Farrant: “We are continually striving to make the best use of our hugely valuable data. Our ambition is to become ‘the world’s leading land registry for speed, simplicity and an open approach to data’. The release of two significant sets of data today marks another important milestone in that journey.

“We will be releasing more datasets in high quality and accessible formats to enable them to be used by anyone with an interest in land and property, supporting the growing digital economy and adding to the nation’s geospatial intelligence.

“HM Land Registry is committed to protecting the register while encouraging greater use of the data. To safeguard against possible fraud or misuse, the datasets are being released under licence and require users to register to get access.”

This article was first seen in PrimeResi

Published 09 Nov 2017 by Georgina Rabl

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