Proud sponsors of Shrewsbury 10k 2024!

Find out more

Should I voluntarily register my Property or land with Land Registry?

  • Posted

As residential property solicitors, this is a question we are frequently asked.

Statistics show that around 15% of the land in England and Wales is unregistered.

Unregistered means that, although the property or land is owned by an individual or company, the details of that ownership have not been registered with HM Land Registry.

Since around 1990, any transfer of property or land has been subject to compulsory registration. So, if you bought, transferred or gifted a property since this time, or if you have taken out a mortgage on it, then it will be registered with Land Registry. However, if you bought your property before 1990, it may well remain unregistered.

Although having an unregistered property is not a problem in itself, there are benefits to registering it.

What are the benefits of registering my property?

Firstly, it will make your property easier and quicker to deal with if you sell, gift, mortgage or leave it to someone in your Will.

It also gives you electronic proof of ownership and helps protect your land from fraud. Unregistered land is more at risk of fraud as scammers can assume your identity and attempt to sell or mortgage it without your knowledge. Registration helps to protect you from this and resist any third party applications for adverse possession, known as ‘squatter’s rights’.

Once registered, Land Registry will produce a ‘title register’ and ‘title plan’ which effectively replace the original title deeds. Because they are stored electronically you can avoid the problem of lost deeds.

What are the downsides to registering my property?

Inevitably there is a cost implication. Some First Registrations are more straightforward than others and this will depend on the nature of the documents to be examined. The Land Registry also charges a fee based on the property value, which is reduced for a voluntary application.

Additionally, Land Registry processing times can be lengthy and it is not uncommon for First Registrations to take up to two years to complete.

You should also be aware that the database of registered properties is publically available.

What do I need to register my property?

We will need the original deeds so that we can examine the title and there are also a number of Land Registry-prescribed forms and property searches we will complete. It may be reassuring to know that we only provides copies of the deeds to Land Registry and will retain the originals for safekeeping.

What if I have lost my deeds or they have been destroyed?

It is still possible (and even more essential) to apply for registration of the property or land if title deeds have been lost or destroyed as otherwise you would be unable to sell or borrow against it. If this is the case, please feel free to have an initial chat with us and we can explain the next steps.

We will guide you through the process

We are experienced in dealing with applications for first registration as well as sales and purchases of un-registered land. If you have any questions please get in touch with Abigail Dean on 01743 284 216.