1. WHO CAN APPLY FOR INFORMATION: IS THE LR ABSOLUTELY PUBLIC OR NOT?
The land register is a public file:
If you give us the name of the person and the identity of a plot of land (a number, an address) we give you the property rights (positive: rights and negative: charges).
Data protection (privacy) is not an issue:
The property rights must be publicized (because they affect ‘the whole world’, i.e. they can be opposed to everyone) and the publicity system is, by definition, public.
2. WHERE CAN BE FOUND THIS INFORMATION:
• At the (territorial competent) office.
• Not yet online, but e-mail is possible.
3. HOW TO OBTAIN IT:
The main difficulty could be to provide exactly the information the applicant wants and to convey the information in a manner and using a language that the applicant can understand. We could work out several scenarios or scripts. I want to know who owns a house that I saw ‘for sale’ in Spain (in order to contact the owner and to try to buy the house). I want to know what third-party rights ‘burden’ the land I inherited (my neighbor says he has an easement: is this true and do I need to respect his easement?). The bank informed me that the house is already mortgaged (and I want to check this information) …
In developing these scripts we can hope to match exactly the information request so that the customer is satisfied. Remember, the citizen (and even the professional) will normally not know what information could be obtained and thus cannot choose the information he wants: compare a restaurant without menu.
Moreover, the information is not free, it comes with a price and paying for useless information is painful.
We should make sure that the information is understandable: a simple translation in English will not do. We need to build a glossary with an explanation of the meaning of the different terms in plain English. Fortunately, the number of terms is limited.
We could also consider to ‘warn’ the customer concerning the possible use of the information. For instance, A is indeed the owner of the Spanish house and you may contact him; but be careful not to buy the house, contact a specialist (a notary, a real estate agent, …) before concluding a binding contract.
A lot is common sense, but we should remember that what is common sense to us is not necessarily common sense for the laypeople (who never contact their domestic Land Registry, the notary did it).
4. WHEN DOES THE EXCERPT ISSUES?
The information is given on request and is dated: the information is only correct at the given date.
Once again we should ‘warn’ the customer and by doing so prevent responsibility claims.
5. WHAT IS THE VALIDITY PERIOD OF THE EXCERPT FROM THE LAND BOOK?
See 4, before.
6. WHERE CAN THE EXCERPTS FROM THE LAND BOOK ARE USED?
All of these.
7. HOW TO IDENTIFY THE IMMOVABLES?
Cadastral number and address.
8. LR AND CADASTRAL RELATIONSHIP:
On the way of integration.