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.
With a new UK-wide government-developed Digital Identity Trust Framework (DITF) first flagged in November, the project will enable consumers to use one digital identity when buying or selling a home and share this with other relying parties such as estate agents, conveyancers, mortgage intermediaries and mortgage lenders, within a scheme framework.
Etive says that 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 which creates friction for the consumer, greater costs and uncertainty.
The project is supported by the Law Society, CLC, SRA, CILEx Regulation, NAEAPropertymark, Guild of Property Professionals, RICS and National Trading Standard. They says the centrally agreed framework should be aligned to DCMS policy objectives and HMLR guidelines, against which all processes and providers would be accredited.
Digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman said he “looks forward to seeing this project help not only house hunters but also those in the legal, business and public sectors.”
Long overdue communication
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“We welcome all progress toward providing easy-to-use, modestly-priced, remote and digitally secure ways for conveyancers to securely identify the buyers and sellers of a property,” said Michael Abrahams, product manager, digital services of HMLR. “Our recently published draft standards clearly establish our requirements and we hope to see conveyancers able to use this relatively new technology in the near future.”
Elsewhere, Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, notes that digital communication and cohesion “is long overdue” between the stakeholders involved in the moving process.
“Finding ways to reduce the time it takes for a property transaction to take place will be highly beneficial to both the industry and of course our customers who are eager to move into their new property as quickly as possible,” he said.
In a statement, Etive said the Digital Identity Trust Scheme “seeks to develop a standard against which providers of electronic verification can be accredited. Combined with this it will help 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.”
The project is expected to run for six months from November 2, 2020 and will involve a succession of working groups made up of regulators, government, financial services sector, identity providers and solicitors and estate agents.
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.