Practice Bulletin 15 – e-CSF (electronic charge in standard form)
Issued: January 2009
Scope of this bulletin
This bulletin gives details about the facility to lodge charges in standard form electronically for registration by Land Registry through our new portal. It is aimed at conveyancers and lenders who have signed up or are intending to sign up for our portal services.
1 Abbreviations and terms used
In this bulletin:
‘CAS’ means Land Registry’s Commercial Arrangements Section
‘conveyancer’ means a solicitor, a licensed conveyancer within the meaning of s.11(2), Administration of Justice Act 1985, a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives, a barrister, a duly certificated notary public, or a registered European lawyer (as defined) (r.217(1), LRR 2003). Where appropriate it includes in-house conveyancers as well as those in private practice
‘e-CSF’ means electronic charge in standard form
‘e-MD’ means electronic mortgage document
‘LRR 2003’ means the Land Registration Rules 2003
‘the portal’ means the website platform that hosts Land Registry’s new electronic services for professionals and the public.
In addition to the information and land charges services and the range of e-documents already available through the portal, Land Registry has introduced e-CSFs.
3 What is an e-CSF?
An e-CSF is an electronic charge in standard form and is the first electronic equivalent to a deed to be accessed and created through the portal. It will enable mortgages to be prepared, signed electronically and submitted to Land Registry for registration.
The e-CSF system allows, in the appropriate circumstances, for a conveyancer’s certificate of compliance to be completed, or an electronic attachment of supporting evidence when this is required.
An e-CSF template is created by Land Registry in accordance with the lender’s instructions and given an e-MD reference. Once approved, the details of the charge are built into the system and cannot be altered or changed during the creation or signing of the charge. Additional provisions can be added to the template if needed for the lender’s mortgage product.
4 Who can lodge an e-CSF application?
Conveyancers who are registered portal users and have signed a Land Registry Network Access Agreement.
5 What are the advantages of lodging charges electronically?
Improved security reduces the risk of fraud.
Streamlined process with increased automation.
Improved accuracy reducing the number of requisitions and risk of cancellation.
Certainty of lodgement.
Automated calculation of fees deducted by variable direct debit with daily statements.
Pre-approval process ensuring accuracy and speed of creation.
6 What kind of charges can be lodged electronically?
Only charges approved for electronic use by CAS can be lodged electronically.
It is not possible to lodge an e-CSF that affects only part of a title or more than one title. It is possible to lodge a single e-CSF only at any one time through the portal.
7 Approval of e-CSFs
7.1 Do I need to have an e-CSF approved?
Yes. You will not be able to create an e-CSF on the portal without having that form of charge approved first. You will therefore need to apply for approval of all forms of charge that you are going to use in electronic format.
7.2 How do I apply for approval of an e-CSF?
You need form e-ACD. Your Marketing & Sales contact, if you have one, can ask CAS to email you a copy. To request a copy of form e-ACD direct, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Simply complete the e-ACD and email it to email@example.com
You will need a separate e-ACD for each type of charge you wish to have approved.
Once CAS receive your application, they will create an e-CSF from the information you have supplied on the e-ACD. They will email you a copy of the e-CSF once it is approved and there will be a printed reference on the charge, the e-MD reference. This is the reference that you need to access the electronic charge on the portal.
7.3 What if the same charge is approved in paper form?
You will still need to have it approved for use electronically. This is because the charge needs to be in form e-CSF for use on the portal and the data relating to the charge needs to be stored on our IT system to allow you to create the charge electronically. The e-CSF form is set out in section 16 Appendix B – Example of form e-CSF.
Similarly, if you wish to use a paper version of a type of charge that has been approved for use electronically, you will need to have the paper version approved separately and it will be given its own MD reference number. An electronic charge is only approved for use electronically.
7.4 How long does it take to approve forms of charge?
We will approve forms of charge within 10 working days.
7.5 What happens when the charge is approved?
CAS will give each form of approved e-CSF a unique reference beginning with the letters “e-MD”. This is the reference you will need to create a charge document using that e-CSF on portal. Once you have received a copy of the approved e-CSF, it will be available to use on the portal.
7.6 Address for service
The information included in the e-ACD is used to generate all the register entries that relate to that particular e-MD reference, including the lender’s address for service. It is therefore important to notify CAS if the lender changes its address for service after approval of the e-CSF. Notification must be in writing (email, fax or letter is acceptable) to CAS at Head Office, but you do not need to apply for fresh approval. However, you will need to apply for a fresh approval for any other amendment to the charge.
Because the e-MD reference generates the lender’s address for service in the register, if the lender intends to use the same form of charge with multiple addresses for service, the charge must be approved separately for each one. Therefore, each approved form of charge will have a unique e-MD reference, which will generate the appropriate address for service.
7.7 What if I want to amend a charge after it has been approved?
If the charge needs to be amended, you will have to reapply on form e-ACD and you will be given a new e-MD reference for the charge. This is essential for version control of e-CSFs.
7.8 Is there a prescribed form of charge?
All electronic charges must be in form e-CSF, which is set out in section 16 Appendix B – Example of form e-CSF.
7.9 Do I have to pay a fee?
There is no fee for approval of charges.
7.10 What is form e-ACD and where can I get it?
Form e-ACD is set out in section 15 Appendix A – Example of form e-ACD. It will be emailed to all organisations that apply to use e-charges. Alternatively, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy.
8 How do I make an application for an e-CSF?
Once you have accessed the e-business services on the portal, you should select the e-CSF from the list of documents displayed. You will then be presented with a series of steps which lead you through the process for keying the appropriate data for the e-CSF application. You then provide Land Registry with contact details for the borrower(s).
9 How is the borrower’s signature applied?
Land Registry contacts the borrower(s), using the information supplied by you, and provides the borrower(s) with the facility to apply an electronic signature. You are notified when the borrower(s) has applied the electronic signature(s). You inform Land Registry that the e-CSF is to take effect and Land Registry confirms the time and date the e-CSF took effect. You are then able to submit their e-CSF for registration.
10 Is there a facility to save and store the e-CSF application before it is submitted?
When you have completed the e-CSF you will have the facility to save the application to await the borrower’s signature. Once the e-CSF has been saved you will be able to access it at any time before it is submitted for registration.
11 How will I know the e-CSF application has been completed?
Providing the e-CSF passes all the portal validation checks, the e-CSF application will be completed automatically and you will receive the completed registration documents electronically to view online via daily downloads. If, however, the e-CSF fails any validation checks or is accompanied by an electronic attachment or certificate the application will require manual processing by Land Registry staff, and the completed registration documents will be posted to you.
12 What happens if the e-CSF is cancelled after it is submitted to Land Registry?
You will be able to access the cancelled e-CSF through the portal. Once the defect is rectified you will be able to resubmit your application.
13 At what times is the service available?
Monday to Friday 7am to 10pm (excluding national holidays). Saturday 7am to 5pm.
Applications made outside of the day list business hours will be processed during the next operational period. The priority date and time will be allocated as soon as the day list reopens. An application cannot be given a priority while the day list is closed.
14 Enquiries and comments
14.1 Portal services
Customers who have signed up to use the portal services are supported by online training packages and self-help pages as well as a dedicated Customer Contact Centre. The Customer Contact Centre opens between 8am and 6pm and contact details for telephone and electronic communication are provided when you sign up.
14.2 General enquiries
If you have any comments or suggestions about our bulletins or guides, please send them to:
Central Operations Group
1 Bedford Park
(DX 8888 Croydon 3)
15 Appendix A – Example of form e-ACD
16 Appendix B – Example of form e-CSF