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Land Registry: is your land or property registered?

Mon 14 October 2019

When YoungsRPS is approached to deal with a property sale or when preparing valuations for a property, one of the first items to be considered is whether the property has been registered with the Land Registry.  

Often clients are not aware if their property is registered or even what Land Registry is. Matthew Wallace, Rural Chartered Surveyor, discusses the purpose of Land Registry and the benefits of registration.

“In England, it became mandatory to register property in 1990 where the asset was either sold or ownership transferred.  As a result of this legislation and property owners undertaking voluntary registrations over the last 30 years, now over 87% of the land area in England and Wales is registered, which equates to 25 million registered titles with a land and property value of £7 trillion.

“The question is, do you know if your land is registered?  If you aren’t sure, firstly it is necessary to check this on using the simple search facility. Whilst this is a relatively straight forward process for residential property owners, often agricultural properties can be across a number of different registrations, and therefore I would advise using the map based searched facility which we as agents have access to.

“In the event you find your property is not registered, then you can apply for a voluntary registration. If you are considering making an application, then the first step would be to consult your solicitor. A solicitor will carry out the necessary searches on the property and compile the required deeds and documents in order to prepare the application. As agents we are regularly asked to prepare scaled plans to accompany applications which must show the property in question. 

“Once registered, a Title Register is produced which records the address, tenure, current owners, purchase price, details of mortgagees, charges, covenants, easements, cautions, notices and restrictions. At the same time, the Title Plan will show the full extent of the property with a clear red outline. Both these documents make up the registration and give a clear and concise overview of the property.

“The benefits of registration outweigh the cost and time involved in the application process. The main benefit is being able to provide proof of ownership of your property, which helps speed up the process when considering a sale of the property. Furthermore, it helps protect against property fraud, whereby individuals may attempt to fraudulently sell or mortgage your property without your knowledge. Finally, having registered title also reduces the potential of a successful adverse possession claim (squatters rights). For example, if an individual made a claim you would be notified via Land Registry whom would give you the opportunity to object which would generally prevent you from losing your property. 

“Ultimately, my advice to property owners is to first check if their property is registered. If it is not, then seriously consider a voluntary registration as it may protect your interest further down the line.”