1. WHO CAN APPLY FOR INFORMATION: IS THE LR ABSOLUTELY PUBLIC OR NOT?
Any person may inspect and make copies of, or may apply for an official copy of, a register, title plan, any document referred to in the register, and any other document held by the registrar which relates to an application to him.
There are some exceptions to the right to obtain copies of documents referred to in the register or held by the registrar. The most important is that a person sending a document to the registrar can apply for it to be designated an “exempt information document”. If a document is designated an exempt information document, then the registrar will, except in prescribed circumstances, only supply an edited copy, omitting “prejudicial information” (essentially, information that appears to be personally or commercially confidential, and can be omitted without prejudicing the keeping of the register).
2. WHERE CAN BE FOUND THIS INFORMATION:
Information can be applied for by post, in person or online.
3. HOW TO OBTAIN IT:
Business users who have registered to use Land Registry’s business e-services can view and obtain official copies of registers, title plans and documents online.
Other business users who have a credit account or have signed a direct debit authorisation can apply for official copies of registers, title plans and documents by fax or phone. They will be sent to them by post.
Any person can view registers and title plans (but not documents) online at the Land Registry website www.landregistry.gov.uk. They must register on the website. There is a fee (currently £4 for each register or title plan), payable online by credit or debit card. A pdf file which can be saved or printed is supplied. This is not an “official copy” – see section III below.
Any person can apply by post or in person at the appropriate land registry office for official copies of registers, title plans, or documents. Form OC1 should be used to apply for an official copy of a register or title plan, and Form OC2 for an official copy of a document. Both forms are prescribed by the Land Registration Rules 2003 and can be downloaded from the website www.landregistry.gov.uk . The same website can be used to discover which is the appropriate office for the area concerned, which is not necessarily the closest one. There are 13 Land Registry Offices in England and one in Wales.
Fees are payable for official copies and for viewing the register, title plan or documents.
Official copies issued by post will usually be sent the same day that the application is received.
Application can only be made in English or, in Wales, in Welsh. The register template used for properties in Wales is bilingual. Some registers for properties in Wales may contain entries in Welsh.
4. WHEN DOES THE EXCERPT ISSUES?
Answer see question 5.
5. WHAT IS THE VALIDITY PERIOD OF THE EXCERPT FROM THE LAND BOOK?
An official copy of the register or of a title plan shows the date on which it was issued, and also the date and time at which the information it contains is valid. The date and time at which it is valid will usually be immediately before it is issued, unless there is a pending application (received by the registry but not yet fully processed) in which case the date and time at which it is valid will be immediately before the receipt of that application. This is because, when registered, an entry in the register takes effect from the time the application to make it was received, not from the time the registration was completed.
The information in an official copy can be brought up to date by making an official search. This asks the registrar whether any adverse entry has been made in the register since the date and time of validity of an official copy (or online view through business e-services), and whether any application is pending.
A person who intends to purchase the property, take a lease of it, or take a registered charge (legal mortgage) over it, may apply for an official search with priority. This search gives a priority period of 30 business days. If the intended application referred to in the search application is received by the Land Registry before the end of the priority period, it will have priority over any other application received in that period (unless that application was itself protected by an earlier search). The search result states the date on which the priority period ends, as well as giving details of any adverse entries made since the date of the official copy or online view referred to in the search.
A person who does not intend to do any of those things may apply for an official search without priority, which does not give any protection to a subsequent application.
The prescribed application forms (which can be downloaded from www.landregistry.gov.uk ) are:
- Form OS1 for an official search with priority of the whole of the land in a registered title
- Form OS2 for an official search with priority of part of the land in a registered title (used where the intended purchase, lease or charge is only of part of the property)
- Form OS3 for an official search without priority (whether of the whole or part).
An application for an official search can be made:
- By registered business users online using Land Registry’s business e-services
- By other business users with a credit account or direct debit arrangement, by fax or phone
- By anyone, by post or in person at the appropriate Land Registry Office.
6. WHERE CAN THE EXCERPTS FROM THE LAND BOOK ARE USED?
See section The legal effect of the LR information.
7. HOW TO IDENTIFY THE IMMOVABLES?
The title number, the address or description of the property, and the local authority area in which the property is, should be supplied. However, the title number can be omitted if the property can be identified from its address – in that case it is necessary to specify whether the application relates to a freehold or leasehold title (or one of the other rare legal rights that give rise to separate titles).
The title number is an alphanumeric code which uniquely identifies the particular registered estate – there may be both a freehold and one or more leasehold estates in the same parcel of land and each, if registered, will have a separate register and therefore a separate title number.
8. LR AND CADASTRAL RELATIONSHIP:
England and Wales does not have a cadastre.
The preparation of detailed maps of the United Kingdom is the responsibility of Ordnance Survey, a government agency. These maps show the physical boundary features and buildings, which do not necessarily correspond to legal boundaries.
By law (Land Registration Rules 2003, rule 5) the title plan of a registered title must be based on the Ordnance Survey map. Land Registry is responsible for producing the title plan by marking the general boundary of the registered title on a copy of the Ordnance Survey map, and also entering any other references on the plan that are required to explain entries in the register. In recent years this has been done digitally.
It is sometimes necessary to update the latest version of the Ordnance Survey map before preparing a Land Registry title plan. In simple cases, this is done by Land Registry staff who have been trained in the necessary survey techniques by Ordnance Survey. In more complicated cases, the updating is done by Ordnance Survey at Land Registry’s request.
Land valuation functions for central government are the responsibility of a third government agency, the Valuation Office, which acquires its information from price information reported to the tax authorities in connection with land transactions and other sources.