1.  Is it compulsory to register all transactions relating to land/property in your system?

If the land is registered, it is compulsory to register:

•    A transfer
•    A lease for more than seven years from the date of the grant
•    A lease under which the grantee cannot take possession until after 3 months from the date of the grant
•    A lease where the right to possession is discontinuous (a time share lease)
•    A right to buy lease (to the tenant from a local authority or other Social Housing landlord)
•    A disposal by a landlord of certain social housing leases
•    The lease of a registered franchise or manor
•    The grant or reservation of an easement or profit
•    A rentcharge and a right of re-entry in connection with a legal rentcharge
•    A legal charge (mortgage)
•    The transfer of a charge
•    The grant of a sub-charge

If land is not registered, it is compulsory to register:

•    Any transfer (whether on sale, assent, gift, or appointment of a new trustee), including the transfer of a lease with more than seven years left to run
•    A lease for more than seven years from the date of the grant
•    A lease under which the grantee cannot take possession until after 3 months from the date of the grant
•    A lease where the right to possession is discontinuous (a time share lease)
•    A right to buy lease (to the tenant from a local authority or other Social Housing landlord)
•    A disposal by a landlord of certain social housing leases
•    A legal charge (mortgage)

An estate in land, a rentcharge, a franchise and a profit a prendre in gross can also be registered voluntarily, if they are unregistered.

2. If not, are there any circumstances under which is it compulsory to do so?

See reply to question 1 above.

3. If not, and registration is voluntary, what are the benefits of registration?

A registered title is guaranteed. If somebody suffers a loss because of a mistake or an omission from the register, they may be able to get compensation.

Registration eliminates the need to examine the past history of the title. It makes conveyancing more certain, simple and cheaper.

Registration can resolve some problems in title, which may, up to the time of first registration, have been the subject of conditions of sale and enquiries.

All the rights that benefit or affect the title, other than certain overriding interests, will be set out or referred to in the register.

Some unregistered titles have been successfully re-established by registering them after title deeds have been lost or destroyed.

Registering a title should reduce costs because it makes conveyancing work a lot simpler.

It also helps to prevent fraud, which can result from copying or withholding title deeds.

It can help prevent claims of adverse possession.

The title plans are based on the larger-scale Ordnance Survey maps. So all registered title plans should be consistent with each other.

It ensures that capital can circulate freely in the economy by making land readily available as security.

4. What percentage of land/titles is/are registered in your system?

Approximately 80% of land mass in England and Wales is registered, comprising approximately 23.5 million registered titles.

5. What types of legal rights in property are capable of being protected by registration?

The following interests may be registered:

  • estates in land (including freeholds, leaseholds of more than seven years, or with more than seven years left to run – see reply to question II.1)
  • rentcharges
  • franchises
  • profits a prendre in gross

The following interests can be protected by entry in the register:

  • Legal charges (mortgages), including:
    • An obligation to make further advances on the security of a registered charge
    • An agreement to the maximum amount for which the charge is security
    • A sub-charge of a legal charge
  • Notices – the burden of an interest affecting a registered estate can be protected by a notice in the register of the title affected, including –
    • An easement
    • A lease of more than three years
    • An equitable charge (one that is not capable of being registered as a legal charge)
    • An estate contract
    • Restrictive covenants
    • Charging orders
    • Bankruptcy (where the bankrupt is a sole proprietor)
    • Option agreements and rights of pre-emption
    • Pending land actions
    • Writs or orders affecting the land
    • A vendor’s lien
    • An overage agreement
    • Various statutory charges
    • A Home Rights notice
  • Restrictions – where a person is entitled to prevent or regulate the circumstances in which a disposition of a registered estate or charge may be registered, this can be protected by a restriction in the register. The registrar may, or must in some circumstances, enter a restriction if it appears that it is necessary or desirable to do so for the purpose of –

a)   Preventing invalidity or unlawfulness in relation to dispositions

b)   Securing ‘overreaching’ where this is necessary (where land is held on trust)

c)   Protecting a right or claim in relation to the registered estate or charge.

Examples where a restriction might be entered include –

  • A charging order over a person’s beneficial interest, where land is held in trust
  • A bankruptcy order against one of joint proprietors
  •  Where there is a trust of land, a restriction to ensure that any sale proceeds or mortgage advance is paid to at least two trustees
  • An equitable charge over a beneficial interest
  • A freezing order
  • Where land is held by a partnership
  • For the prevention of fraud

6. Are there other rights, legal situations, judicial decisions affecting property rights or owner’s powers capable of registration?

See reply to question 5.

7. What are the effects of registration of a transfer of ownership?

If the land is already registered and the transfer (or lease) is for valuable consideration, registration will postpone any interest affecting the estate immediately before the disposition if that interest is not protected at the time of registration.

An interest is protected if:

  • It is a registered charge
  • It is noted in the register
  • It is an overriding interest as listed in Schedule 3 to the Land Registration Act 2002 (for instance, a lease for seven years or less, the interests of persons in actual occupation, certain easements)
  • It appears from the register to be excepted from the effect of registration
  • In the case of a leasehold estate, the burden of the interest is incident to the estate (that is, it is included in the lease).

8. What are the effects of registration of a mortgage/charge? What powers or rights are available to the registered owners of charge in order to enforce their security?

The same effects of registration as in question 7.

The statutory rights of the chargee are set out in the Law of Property Act 1925, Part III. They include:

  • When the mortgage money has become due, the power to sell (the mortgagee will normally apply to court for vacant possession if the mortgagor is still in occupation
  • Foreclosure (an order for foreclosure absolute vest the fee simple in the mortgagee, subject to any legal mortgage that has priority to the foreclosed mortgage)
  • When the mortgage money has become due, power to appoint a receiver of the income of the property
  • The powers can be varied or extended by the mortgage deed.

9. Is the title guaranteed by the State/Registrar? If so, to what extent and under what circumstances?

Yes. A person is entitled to be indemnified by the registrar if he suffers loss by reason of:

a) rectification of the register,

b) a mistake whose correction would involve rectification of the register,

c) a mistake in an official search,

d) a mistake in an official copy,

e) a mistake in a document kept by the registrar which is not an original and is referred to in the register,

f) the loss or destruction of a document lodged at the registry for inspection or safe custody,

g) a mistake in the cautions register, or

h) failure by the registrar to perform his duty under section 50 of the Land Registration Act (duty to give notice to interested persons of the entry of a statutory charge in the register).

The right to indemnity includes a person who has been registered as proprietor in good faith under a forged disposition if the register is rectified against them.

10. What remedies are available to land registry information users who may have relied on register information and suffered loss as a result of reliance on that information?

See reply to question 9.

11. How does a party who has suffered loss make a claim for compensation if applicable?

There is no formal procedure. A party can simply write to the Land Registry. Any entitlement may arise out of an application for alteration of the register which amounts to rectification (rectification is alteration of the register to correct a mistake, which prejudicially affects the title of a registered proprietor). A potential entitlement to indemnity will be considered as part of the investigation and correspondence with the affected parties.

In addition, a person may be entitled to compensation for maladministration by the registrar and his staff. A claim of maladministration may arise when a person suffers as a result, for example, of unreasonable delay, discourtesy, bias and discrimination, failure to follow proper procedures, poor communication, failure to provide information, poor response to complaints.

Compensation for maladministration may be paid voluntarily by the registrar, or may be paid on the recommendation of the Independent Complaints Reviewer for Land Registry.

12. What are the risks involved where property transactions are not registered?

If a transaction that is required to be registered is not registered, then it could lose its priority to other transactions or interests that are registered or noted in the register before it. This could have serious consequences if, for instance, a charging order was obtained in relation to a debt of the seller and noted against the title after the transfer had taken place but before the new owner was registered.

13. Are there any penalties for non-registration?

No, but a conveyancer might risk being sued for negligence if his/her failure to register caused a loss to the transferee or chargee.

Where first registration is compulsory, there is a duty to apply within two months of the date of the transaction. A failure to do so means that the transfer (or grant of lease or other legal estate) becomes void, and the title reverts to the transferor. The transferee must bear the costs of a re-transfer, re-grant or re-creation of the legal estate, and any other liability reasonably incurred by the other party.

14. Is cadastral/mapping information included in the title registration process? If so, is it guaranteed? If yes, by whom?

The title plan is part of the registered title, and is included in the guarantee. However, the boundaries shown on the plan are normally only general boundaries (section 60(1) Land Registration Act 2002). A general boundary does not determine the exact line of the boundary, but gives only a general indication. Even so, Land Registry will try to show as accurately as possible the extent of land in a registered title, as shown by the pre-registration documents together with any other evidence of fact or law which may have a bearing on the circumstances in question.

It is possible for an owner to apply to the Land Registry to determine the exact line of the boundary. Unlike a general boundary, a determined boundary shows the exact line of the boundary of a registered estate.  The application must demonstrate where they claim the boundary is. The registrar will examine the plans and evidence lodged, and may arrange for an inspection of the land. If he is satisfied that the claim does show the exact position of the boundary, he will serve notice of the application on any adjoining owners who have not agreed to the application. They may dispute the line claimed. If there is an objection to the application and the objection is not found to be groundless, the matter will have to be referred to the tribunal unless the parties can reach agreement.

If the application is successfully completed, reference to the determined boundary is made in the property register of each affected title. The general position of the determined boundary will be marked on the title plan of each affected registered title usually by way of lettered points. A filed copy of the determined boundary plan is retained and can be referred to in order to identify the exact line of the boundary.

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