15 June 2017

There is still a surprising amount of land and property in England and Wales which remains unregistered and this means that the Land Registry has no record of the ownership. When land becomes registered the important information including ownership, a plan to show the extent, rights benefiting it and burdens upon it are kept in a central electronic register which is easily accessible and most importantly, unlike paper deeds, cannot be lost or accidently destroyed.

You do not need to purchase land to make sure your ownership becomes registered. Whether you have a large farm, a semidetached house or a small piece of verge, Voluntary registration offers proof of land ownership and protection against fraud; it gives a clear record of the benefits and burdens on a property and can assist with boundary disputes which may arise. This will also make the process easier if you come to sell the land, since a buyer and their advisor can quickly get a picture of the legal implications of the title without having to pick through vast amounts of documents to decide what is pertinent.

Even if you have lost your title deeds you may still be able to register your ownership and we can guide you through the Land Registry requirements. Whilst it is not always possible to get what is known as a Title Absolute, i.e. definitive evidence of ownership against any other claim; the Land Registry can provide you with what is known as Possessory Title which after 12 years can be upgraded to Absolute Title – this helps protect against erroneous claims by other people until ownership can be proven without doubt. It is of the utmost importance, if you have lost your title deeds, to begin the process of registration sooner rather than later to protect your ownership and start accruing those 12 years.

The Land Registry offers a reduced registration fee to voluntarily register your ownership of your property. If you think your property may be unregistered and you would like to discuss voluntary first registration then please contact Cate Barnes on 01305 811308 or in our Residential Property team and she will be happy discuss this with your further.