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News

Digital ID plan for house buyers and sellers

15 January 2021

Etive Technologies has secured an Innovate UK grant to improve identity verification in the residential home buying and selling process, using a digital identity trust scheme.

The project will enable consumers to use one digital identity when buying or selling a home and share this with other parties in the process, such as estate agents, conveyancers, mortgage intermediaries and mortgage lenders.

The first output is expected in April 2021 as a draft scheme supported with a set of operation manuals for the industry to adopt and work towards improving the home buying and selling process.

The project, supported by the likes of the Law Society, the Construction Leadership Council, and the Guild of Property Professionals, will create a centrally agreed framework, aligned to Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport policy objectives and HM Land Registry guidelines, against which all processes and providers would be accredited, to provide greater surety of data quality and reliance.

Stuart Young, MD of Etive, said: “Currently a seller's and buyer's identity is verified up to five times by the different relying parties. Conveyancers, estate agents, mortgage intermediaries and financial services are regulated by different entities with various levels of oversight and compliance, which can cause conflicting guidelines on identity verification.”

The digital identity trust scheme seeks to develop a standard against which providers of electronic verification can be accredited. It should also help to reduce some of the delays in the home buying process as well as better tackle incidences of property and mortgage fraud, where false identities are used to either steal a property or money or where these is a misdirection of deposits and funds where the individual has no right to sell the property.

David Greene, Law Society of England and Wales president, said: “We welcome efforts to establish a reliable, secure and universal digital identity for consumers to use when looking to buy or sell a home. This will ease the burden on consumers having to produce information for ID checks with different parties and could help reduce fraud and reduce delays in the sales process – all beneficial developments for our members.”

Image: 186754360 © Joven Barachina | Dreamstime.com