The rates that citizens and companies pay to the land registry are not reduced. The land register reports this in response to a report by the Court of Audit. It states that the rates of the land registry are more than cost-effective and that is not allowed.
The Land Registry registers all kinds of data, including information about homes and businesses, roads, cables and pipelines.
In the report, the Court of Audit refers to cross-subsidization. This is the case if shortages of one service are covered by surpluses from another service. The Land Registry says it needs a buffer to absorb impacts.
The rates charged by the Land Registry to individuals and companies must specifically relate to a specific service. The Court of Audit concludes that from 2015 to 2018, the Land Registry collected 104.1 million euros more than was necessary to cover the costs.
This year, rates for individuals and companies went up by five percent. Three percent is inflation and a wage increase, the other two percent attributes the service to “a general increase”. What this means is not clear.
The Court of Audit furthermore believes that the Land Registry has spent too much money on hiring expensive external IT staff (25 to 30 percent of the annual expenditure).
The Land Registry comments on the report in response. According to the institution, the fact that income should not exceed expenditure should be considered over a period of several years. “There are good and bad years and we need a buffer to absorb bad years.”
According to the Land Registry, the expensive IT workers were hired in consultation with the Ministry of the Interior. Their task was to improve products and services. In their own words, that knowledge was not available.
The Court of Audit also criticizes the Ministry of the Interior for “oversight”. The ministry disputes that. According to BZ, an increase in rates and high reserves can go hand in hand. In addition, the Ministry and the Land Registry point out that the rates were still lower in 2016 and 2017. In consultation with the ministry and supervisors, the Land Registry says it will stick to the tariffs this year and not to lower them. The money is needed to “start additional activities”.
This goes against what the Court of Audit writes: “Citizens and companies must be able to trust that they will not pay more than is necessary.”