Our survey of almost 500 UK property professionals has revealed that 69% support government plans to introduce a Digital Identity Standard for the residential property sector.
Digital Identity schemes already exist with regard to the Right to Work, Right to Rent and DBS checks, having been introduced in October 2022. These schemes details a set of rules that digital identity service providers (IDSPs) must adhere to in order to conduct secure and trustworthy checks, enabling businesses such as letting agents to use an IDSPs to complete ID verification checks on their behalf.
Our survey found that 75% of UK property professionals believed the original introduction of this framework was a positive step, with 68% also stating that it had helped improve the standards of ID verification within the property industry.
So much so that 67% would like to see similar schemes rolled out across the residential sales sector, with the vast majority (71%), again believing that it would help improve the standards of the industry.
This wish could soon be granted, with the DCMS and HMRC already engaging a number of stakeholders within the sector, including ourselves, in order to get a better understanding of how they could implement such a scheme.
The survey also revealed that the introduction of such a scheme would not be before time, with 1 in 3 stating that they currently do not use a certified IDSP when it comes to the verification of buyer and seller identification.
No surprise then, that those surveyed also ranked the time consuming process of manual identity verification as one of the biggest challenges facing the industry today.
The number of fraudulent documents and criminal activity also ranked high, as did the use of unofficial documents used by buyers and sellers due to a lack of understanding.
The survey shows that there is still a high number of property professionals who choose to carry out ID checks manually, which not only heightens risk, but also adds considerably to their operational workload.
One reason for this is the lack of clear governmental advice for real estate sector, with HMRC yet to adopt a clear position on the use of certified IDSP and remote ID checks.
The introduction of an official digital identity scheme though, would provide better guidance and help those within the sales sector to easily identify customers with greater ease and confidence.
Interested in learning more about Digital Identity Standards?
Then listen to episode 5 of The Washup, our podcast dedicated to helping SMEs and small businesses make sense of their AML obligations.