Voluntary Registration Of Land

Historically, landowners have shown legal title to their land by producing their title deeds. These deeds effectively show the legal history of the property, sometimes going back many hundreds of years. Any rights affecting or benefiting the property are also recorded on these documents.

The main problem with this way of proving title is that inevitably deeds are not stored correctly and become damaged, destroyed or lost. This means that the title to the property has to be reconstructed from the recollections of the landowner and their solicitor as far as possible. This can be a very long and cost worthy exercise. Registration gives you greater protection against losing your land to squatters, you will be indemnified against any loss and it adds certainty and simplicity to the conveyancing process, speeding up any future land transactions. It also makes large holdings of land and portfolios of charges readily marketable. Protection is also offered through the recording of the majority of the rights that benefit and affect the land.

The Land Registration Act 1925 was passed in order to provide the first step toward compulsory registration and to overcome the problems of lost or destroyed title deeds. The Act has been amended over the years, specifying certain “trigger” events when registration is compulsory, as there is still around 40% of land in England and Wales which is unregistered. The aim of the legislation is that eventually all title to land will be registered on a central register held by H M Land Registry, providing a paper-less system of land ownership in England & Wales. 

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