For most people and businesses, the property they own is their most valuable asset. The system of Land Registration affords greater protection of that asset rather than simply relying on the holding of title deeds which can become lost, damaged or destroyed.
The Land Registration Act 2002 extended the range of events which triggers the requirement for compulsory registration of land. The act also seeks to encourage voluntary first registration.
Land Registry figures suggest that as much as 15% of land in England and Wales remains unregistered. The Land Registry is looking to achieve comprehensive registration by 2030.
What is Land Registration?
Land Registration creates a title information document setting out the ownership of the land together with details of the matters affecting the land including the benefit and burden of rights, covenants and charges. One of the aims of registration is that the register itself should be a complete and accurate reflection of the title of the land at any given point in time.
The Land Registry holds and administers the central register of the registered land and this is open to public inspection.
What are the advantages of Land Registration?
There are many advantages to ensuring your land is registered including:
- Greater security of your title (registration is state backed). This means that compensation should be payable should the register be rectified, and the registered proprietor suffer loss.
- Where there may be missing title deeds and documents, a registration may make the title more acceptable to a buyer (potentially with a suitable defective title indemnity insurance policy to support the registration).
- Greater protection in the continued fight against fraud.
- Greater protection against possibility of losing title by adverse possession – it is more difficult for squatters to successfully claim adverse possession of registered land than for unregistered land.
- Creating certainty and greater simplicity into conveyancing – this can be particularly useful where an unregistered title is complex. Registration of the title can assist with the speed and efficiency of a conveyancing transaction.
- Setting out in the register the rights that benefit and affect the title (with the exception or certain overriding interests).
- Showing the general boundaries of the land by way of a title plan.
- Making large holdings of land readily marketable.
What is voluntary registration and how much does it cost?
It is possible to apply for a first registration of land where there is no event that would trigger a compulsory registration.
A person can apply to be the first registered proprietor if they are the legal owner of the relevant interest or they are entitled to have the interest vested in them.
The Land Registry wants to encourage registration of land and they currently offer a reduction of 25% for voluntary applications.
The fee payable for a voluntary first registration is based on the full market value of the property. The Land Registry has set out guidance for assessing the scale fee payable on application:
How can we help?
If you would like assistance in checking whether your property is registered at the Land Registry or you would like us to review your title deeds with a view to making an application for voluntary first registration, please contact Legal Executive Sarah Garlish on 01603 660 811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.