Why register the title to your property at the Land Registry?
What are the current systems?
Land and property in the UK can either be registered at the Land Registry or unregistered. When a property is registered, this means that the Land Registry officially records property ownership and they hold a computerised record of the title. Title to unregistered property is proven by title deeds.
It became compulsory to register land situated in different parts of the country at different times and depending on what transaction was being carried out. If there have been no dealings with the property, such as a sale or mortgage for example, which triggered compulsory first registration then it can still be unregistered.
As at September 2019, 87% of land in England and Wales is registered. This leaves 13% unregistered.
What are the benefits of registering land?
- Unregistered title deeds can be mislaid or destroyed. It can be a costly process to establish title to an unregistered property where the title deeds are missing. It is also likely to result in delays if the loss of the deeds becomes apparent during the course of a sale or a mortgage for example.
- Dealing with a registered title makes conveyancing easier, quicker and cheaper. When selling unregistered land, a buyer's solicitor can insist that the seller registers the title at the Land Registry before they will deal with the purchase which can result in considerable delays.
- Registering your land will give you certainty as to the extent of it. It is more difficult for third parties to acquire title to registered land by adverse possession than in respect of unregistered land.
- Fraud - when land is registered there are various steps a landowner can take to prevent against fraud such as the Land Registry property alert system and entering a restriction if you do not live at the property.
- Applications for voluntary first registration attract a 25% reduction on the fee payable to the Land Registry whereas an application for compulsory first registration will incur the full fee.
The law in this area can be complicated and it is therefore advisable to take advice from a specialist solicitor as regards registering your property. If you need any assistance with your property matters whether registered or unregistered please do not hesitate to get in contact.
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.