The Land Registry has released two datasets, Commercial and Corporate Ownership Data and Overseas Companies Ownership Data, which contain more than three million rows and includes property details such as title number, address, purchase price, company name and registration number, and country of incorporation. The data also includes whether the company owns the freehold or leasehold interest, and an indicator of whether there are additional proprietors. The data covers all properties except those owned by private individuals, foreign-owned companies, charities and trusts.
The datasets are being released under licence and, although there is no fee, users are required to register with their banking details in an effort to safeguard against fraud and misuse. The data was previously accessible for fees ranging between £2,000 and £10,000 for a set across England and Wales, the fee dependant on the number of data updates the user required.
The release removes existing cost barriers to the records and is part of the proposals in the Housing White Paper, 'Fixing our broken housing market', to make property data more readily available to all. The scheme also complements the PSC register at Companies House, which the Government has indicated that it intends to extend to overseas companies with UK interests - although it's unclear when these proposals will take effect, if they will at all.
Graham Farrant, Chief Executive at HM Land Registry, has said: "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".
This is the start of the release of further data about property ownership and backs the Land Registry's Digital Street scheme, which will enable the near instantaneous transfer of property ownership, backed by blockchain – the distributed ledger technology underpinning Bitcoin – and other technologies. This and future releases will no doubt provide a much needed boost to the development of the PropTech sector.