To register or not to register… that is the question

In England & Wales we operate two forms of conveyancing: one for property which is unregistered and the other where the property is registered with the Land Registry. Historically, all property in the UK had an unregistered title (that is to say, there was no public record of ownership and rights attached to property anywhere). Since the 19th century, the legislators have had a desire to create a full and complete record of property ownership so that all information about ownership and rights is publically available. It is only since computerisation that this goal has started to be achieved.

It is now compulsory to register an unregistered title when it is sold, mortgaged, gifted or assented. Currently, about 70% of the property in England & Wales is registered with the Land Registry, with that number ever increasing. There will no doubt come a point in time when there remains no unregistered property, but it is unlikely during my lifetime!

For the 30% or so that own property which is currently unregistered, owners can make an application for voluntary registration of their title if they wish. The Land Registry will, in these circumstances, accept the application with the Land Registry fee reduced by a third (the fee for property valued between £200,000 and £500,000 is £200) – but what are the benefits in registering a title?

  1. It gives certainty as to ownership. The Land Registry will produce a title plan so that an owner can then be certain as to the extent of their boundaries. The Land Registry offer compensation in the event that this is incorrect.
  2. It will make the property easier for a buyer to understand. Often, unregistered conveyances refer back to plans which are over 100 years old and, in some cases, by reference to a description of how many roods and perches a particular parcel is made up of!

At Porter Dodson our legal advisors are there for you should you wish to register your title.

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