Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (2010)

Robert Troy

Question:

2010. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the waiting times to have matters dealt with by the Land Registry; his views on whether there are resource shortages within the system which are resulting in unnecessary delays in dealing with queries; and the resources he will put in place to resolve this matter (details supplied). [36935/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Property Registration Authority (PRA) is the State organisation responsible for the registration of property transactions in Ireland. The PRA manages and controls the Land Registry and the Registry of Deeds registering what State guaranteed titles of land.

The PRA expects to complete over 250,000 Land Registry transactions in 2019, an increase of 49,000 over 2018. Applications submitted to the PRA, that are fully in order for registration and which do not require the raising of queries, are dealt with in a very timely and efficient manner. In 2018, 82% of cases in order for registration were completed within 10 days, an increase of 20% compared to 2017.

Applications received by the PRA that are not in order for registration must be returned to the lodging party. During 2019 to date, the PRA experienced a rejection rate of 14%. At end August 2019, there were 100,724 legal transactions on hand with 24% of applications for registration on hand subject to query. Given the legal and financial nature of the transactions, and the State guaranteed nature of title, such cases cannot proceed until all queries have been satisfactorily dealt with.

Certain applications, such as First Registration Rights-of-Way and applications for registration based on long or adverse possession, are legally complex requiring lengthy interaction over queries with the lodging party. In addition, notice must be served on all interested parties and appropriate time allowed for objections. The PRA must be fully satisfied that a case is fully grounded, the nature of the title proven and that all interested parties’ concerns are fully considered before registering a State guaranteed title.

Of the cases on hand, some 17% relate to First Registration applications. This is reflective of a large intake of such cases since the extension of compulsory first registration across Ireland in 2011. The PRA is specifically targeting First Registrations through a two-pronged approach involving: certification by a Solicitor, meaning a full examination of title is not necessary; and, targeted recruitment of dedicated specialist staff to deal with the First Registration cases.

In addition to the measures specific to First Registration outlined above, the PRA has put in place a number of initiatives to enhance its engagement with solicitors and improve the quality of the documentation submitted with applications for registration. For example, the PRA has developed a series of guides and videos which are available on its website.

The PRA has a current staff complement of 525 FTE. Strategic workforce planning has been embedded in the Authority for some time. Staffing resources are managed at a sustainable level and effective succession planning, talent management and learning and development strategies are used in tandem with planned recruitment. Business process improvement training has been provided for staff in key areas to help design and embed the most efficient case handling processes.

The day to day operation of the PRA is a matter for the Authority itself, which is independent in its operations. Agencies under my Department's remit have put arrangements in place for information to be provided directly to Oireachtas members. Insofar as the PRA is concerned, this service can be contacted at reps@prai.ie.