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Ask The Legal Expert: Telling The Land Registry

View profile for Myria Griffiths
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This month JCP Associate Solicitor Myria Griffiths advises an owner on the importance of lodging details of their farm with the Land Registry.

"I have owned my farm for many years. Do I need to tell the Land Registry?"

It is advisable to register your farm or land with the Land Registry.  If you have bought or mortgaged the farm or land since 1997 then registration with the Land Registry will have been compulsory.

Registering your land gives you clear proof of ownership, which then gives you a number of important protections under the law.

Leaving your land unregistered would mean you would have to provide proof of ownership if you wanted to carry out any action with the land – like selling it on, gifting it, or dealing with a mortgage.

This can be done using the title deeds, which may be at your home, with your bank or previous solicitor, but you may discover the deeds are lost. If those original deeds are lost it would be necessary to reconstruct the title to your land. This can be a costly and lengthy process.

If the deeds are available, we recommend that you register your farm or land with the Land Registry, as once registered your property will be allocated its own title number and issued with a unique title and plan.   The Land Registry will store the title electronically and you can ask for a copy at any time.

A registered land-owner is better protected against a claim for Squatters Rights.  It is possible for a third party to claim title to land by squatting, often without the owner’s knowledge, over a period of time.   This can result in the landowner losing ownership of some of their unregistered land.   However if the land is registered, the Land Registry will notify the landowner if a neighbour or third party tries to register an interest against a registered title.

Registering your land can also help with any neighbour disputes over rights of way or encroachment. This is important since land that has been occupied may have no legal title available, land exchanges may not have been formally documented, or rights of way or sporting rights might not have been adequately recorded.

There is a cost attached to registering your land and the Land Registry will base its fee on the value of your farm or land. However, they will offer a discount if you register your land voluntarily.

For specialist legal advice, call Myria Griffiths at JCP Solicitors Rural Practice Team in Carmarthen on: 01267 266944 or email: myria.griffiths@jcpsolicitors.co.uk

The question posed in this blog is based on a hypothetical situation.

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