Revolutionising the residential property industry with UPRNs

The public sector is streets ahead in using the Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRN) to link their systems to drive cross-boundary efficiencies. Local authorities and emergency services have been trailblazing this for some time, enabling 360-degree data view of a location, from electoral data to council tax information, risk factors to access restrictions or rent arrears to Energy Performance Certificates.

With the pandemic acting as a catalyst for accelerating digitisation of services, the private sector is catching up. One industry that is getting behind the enormous value of the UPRN is the residential property industry, identifying benefits for both sales and lettings.

In an open letter to Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, over 200 signatories supported the adoption of UPRNs across the residential property sector. The benefits of wide adoption of a single reference number for residential properties are far-reaching, providing:

  • improvements in building, consumer and market safety
  • more targeted and cost-effective enforcement of legislation
  • increased protection for tenants and a reduction of rogue landlords
  • increased certainty and a faster home buying and selling process
  • reduced waste while saving time and empowering the consumer
  • increased income for the Treasury

Speeding up the conveyancing process

One of the key practices that will benefit most from the adoption of the UPRN is the buying and selling of properties. The current process is long, arduous and inefficient.

The conveyancing searches alone involve collating information from different departments, such as the Local Authority Search, Regulated Drainage and Water Search, Chancel Indemnity Policy, Envirosearch and Land Registry Title. If you have ever bought or sold a property, you know this can take a substantial amount of time. This inefficient process is time-consuming, and increases the risk of losing a purchase or sale. Using UPRNs widely simplifies linking and digitally sharing geospatial information, speeding up the transaction process.

Using UPRNs widely simplifies linking and digitally sharing geospatial information, speeding up the transaction process.

Pre-purchase information packs

Once UPRNs are widely utilised, the ease of digitally collating information relating to a property will mean that buyers can review this before they buy, not just when they are in the purchasing process. This will give buyers more control, certainty and confidence – again, greatly speeding up the process.

Benefits for tenants

With rising house prices, there are an increasing number of people renting. And this is set to continue with the cost-of-living crisis making it difficult for people to save the deposit needed for a purchase.

With the ease of linking data, councils will be better able to conduct their enforcement activities.

So how will the use of UPRNs benefit renters? With the ease of linking data, councils will be better able to conduct their enforcement activities. This could include activities that protect residents in the private rental sector or the ability to retrieve building safety information quickly, such as the presence of sprinkler systems or unsafe cladding. Rogue landlords will become more visible, so councils will be better able to safeguard their residents.

Planning reform

We are about to undergo the most significant planning reform since the 1940s – utilising UPRNs will be a part of that. It will inject simplicity and agility into the planning system as planning authorities will find data sharing much quicker and easier. With this in place, we will see faster approval of planning applications, thereby speeding up the delivery of new builds.

At the GeoPlace Conference 2021, Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, Minister for Housing, said, “Digitisation is at the heart of planning reforms and the Government remains a strong champion of UPRNs”.

According to Dinesh Thanigasalam, Head of Address Data Solutions, Sales and Consultancy at Idox, “It’s great to see different industries starting to follow the public sector lead when it comes to utilising UPRNs, not just for the accuracy of address data, but for linking datasets to enable efficiency and collaboration”.

Idox’s address data solutions can help you get started by matching and cleansing your addresses and linking UPRNs to your location data. 

Get in touch with our expert team to learn more and arrange a demo.       

Published on: 8 August 2022

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