NLIS crucial in overhaul of UK house buying process

The National Land Information Service (NLIS) will underpin government efforts to speed up the laborious house-buying process, it...

The National Land Information Service (NLIS) will underpin government efforts to speed up the laborious house-buying process, it was claimed this week, despite doubt about the accuracy of the information it provides.

"NLIS will play a vital role in the delivery of e-conveyancing to the solicitor's desktop, creating a faster, more reliable and cost-effective service," said Malcolm Edwards, chief executive officer of MacDonald Detwiller, the supplier that operates the NLIS system.

The Homes Bill, published earlier this month, will require essential information in the house-buying process to be included in a "sellers pack". NLIS, a public-private partnership launched last year, will rely on the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) as its information source for property searches.

The NLPG was supposed to be sold as a separate product, but the database is not ready for commercial use.

Computer Weekly has learnt that NLPG's supplier, Intelligent Addressing, is still in negotiations with Ordnance Survey over royalties for the address co-ordinates taken from Ordnance Survey data sets used in the NLPG.

In September Intelligent Addressing admitted that property searches using the NLPG were less accurate than the address file that it aims to replace, the Post Code Address File (PAF).

Property searches using the NLPG were successful in about 92% of cases, compared to 93% using the PAF, for 600 random addresses.

NLPG project leaders said a number of factors, including data formats, could explain why the address match rate for property searches using the NLPG was lower than when using PAF.

How NLIS works
Property industry professionals and solicitors will submit pay-as-you-go requests to the National Land Information Service (NLIS) through channels provided by private companies.

They will pass on these requests to the NLIS hub, run by MDA, which will forward the information to the relevant agency, such as the Land Registry or local authority, before passing it back to the customer.

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