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Own Land? Time for Registration?

View profile for Lucy Luke
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Lucy Luke, a Commercial Property Solicitor at JCP comments on the advantages of voluntarily applying to register property and land.

Registration is the official recording of property ownership. HM Land Registry records property ownership in the Land Register, which is the official ownership list for property in England and Wales.  As of September 2019, 87% of the land in England and Wales is registered.  The Land Registry’s goal is to achieve as close to 100% land registration as possible.

Although compulsory registration at the Land Registry has been around for over 100 years, there are still large areas of property and land which remain unregistered, because there has been no transaction (no sale or mortgage) of that land triggering registration.  In my experience, some property and land pass from generation to generation and remain unregistered.  In some instances we have found, when considering the deeds, the property remains in the name of a deceased relative and action is required to register the property in the name of the beneficiary.  A simple search at the Land Registry can be carried out to check whether your property/land is registered or unregistered.

There are significant benefits to voluntarily registering your property and land at HM Land Registry which include:

  • Reduced Land Registry fees if you voluntarily apply for first registration (25% reduction).
  • Proof of ownership – a state backed guarantee of title and an up to date title plan evidencing the full extent of your property.
  • Better protection against claims for adverse possession (those who occupy land without permission of the owner and try claiming ownership, sometimes referred to as ‘squatters rights’).
  • Helping protect the property against fraud.  Unregistered land is at higher risk of fraud, fraudsters can assume your identity and attempt to sell or mortgage your property and/or land without your knowledge.
  • Making it easier and generally quicker to transfer – sell or gift your property in the future.  Generally making the conveyancing procedure easier.
  • Helping to put your estate in good order for future generations.
  • Providing an opportunity to resolve any anomalies that might need to be resolved – for example, issues regarding ownership and boundaries, which would have remain undiscovered without the title investigation.
  • Deeds and documents can be lost so registration offers you clarity and certainty.  Once the title is registered, the title and title plan will be readily available online from the Land Registry. 

For the reasons given above, I think it can only be advantageous to register voluntarily.  Even if you never sell, your successors in title will thank you for doing it now. 

For more information contact Lucy Luke on 01267 248883 or email lucy.luke@jcpsolicitors.co.uk.

Lucy qualified as a Solicitor in 2011 and previously worked at Eaton-Evans & Morris as Head of Agricultural Law. Lucy gained experience in all areas of private practice including Wills, Probate, Employment, Commercial and Residential Property. Lucy is originally from Pembrokeshire and lives on a farm with her husband and two sons. 

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