Land Registry UK
Introduction to UK Land Registry
What is Land Registry UK?
Land registration has been made compulsory for the whole of England and Wales since 1st December 1990. The land is not automatically registered, there are certain trigger events, such as the sale of property/land, on the occurrence of such a trigger event, The land registry UK is compulsory with the HM Land Registry.
The Land Registration Act 2002
The objectives of the Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA 2002) are as follows:
- The introduction of electronic conveyancing.
- To make the register at HM Land Registry a complete and accurate record of the title to the land in question so that it is possible to investigate title to land on the line, with the absolute minimum of additional inquiries and inspections.
The LRA 2002 distinguishes between first registration (of land previously unregistered) and registration of a transaction with the land that is already registered.
Compulsory First Registration
The title MUST be registered in the following situations:
- On the transfer of a freehold estate.
- On the grant of a lease of more than seven.
- On the transfer of a legal lease with more than seven years to run.
The estate owner must apply for registration within two months of the transaction otherwise the transfer becomes void.
Voluntary First Registration
A title may also be registered voluntarily by the estate owner
Once registration has taken place, the title is guaranteed by the State (United Kingdom Government), and cannot be challenged. There is a power in the Land Registration Act 2002 for the alteration of the register in specified circumstances specified in schedule 4 and for indemnity from State’s funds if any person suffers loss as the result of rectification of the register under schedule 8.
James lost the title of his property due to the fault of the Land Registry UK, James will be compensated from State’s funds and he will recover any loss suffered due to the mistake of the Land Registry UK.
The Registered Proprietor
A register of all registered titles is kept by H.M Land Registry. In the registered land system, the owner is referred to as the ‘registered proprietor’. The registered proprietor receives a Title Information Document which comprises an Official Copy of the register and an Official Copy of the Title Plan.
The register is divided into the Property Register, the Proprietorship Register, the Charges Register and the title plan.
Grades of Title
When the title to a property has been investigated, the Registry will allocate a class of title to it, which indicates to a person acquiring the property the varying degrees of reliance that can be placed on the registered title.
The classes of the title are:
- Absolute (no conditions are attached to ownership and the owner is free to do whatever he/she thinks is appropriate for his property.
- Possessory (The person only holds possessory occupation)
- Qualified (some conditions are attached)
- Good leasehold (the owner has bought a specific time in the estate for example 30 years)
Registration of dealings (where the title is already registered}
Following disposition of registered land must be registered for these to be valid.
- Any transfer of the freehold estate or of a lease with more than seven years to run must be registered or entered into the register
- The grant of a legal charge must be registered
- Easements and profits a prendre (except easements granted through the operation of s.62 LPA) must be entered in the register as soon as these rights are granted
- Rent charges and rights of re-entry associated with leases must also be registered
A purchaser of registered land will need to know if there are any third-party interests affecting the land, for example, Easements, Freehold Covenants, Estate Contracts, etc.
A buyer acquiring the registered Title takes it subject to An entry of a notice in the register – and
these are third-party interests that are binding on a buyer even though they may not be protected by way of an entry on the Land Registry UK.
Entries on the Land Registry UK
Under the Land Registration Act, 2002 all interests which are not overriding interests should be protected by an entry on the register.
There are two methods of protection, namely the entry of notice and the entry of restriction.
The person, with the benefit of the interest, to be protected, should apply to the HM Land Registry to register the interest by way of a notice on the register so that it could bind the buyer of the burdened land.
John granted his neighbor Linda a right of way over his property. In order to protect this right, Linda must register it with Land Registry UK. As a registered interest, the buyer of John’s land has to either accept Linda’s binding right of way over John’s land or negotiate a settlement with Linda.
There are three types of notice:
- An agreed notice – the registered proprietor agrees to the entry of the notice or the registrar is satisfied with the validity of the claim.
- A unilateral notice – this is entered on the register without the consent of the registered proprietor. Notice of entry on the register will be given to the proprietor, who can then apply for a cancellation of the notice. This will happen automatically if the person claiming the benefit of the right does not object to the cancellation within a specified time.
- Registrable dispositions – those interests requiring registration under s.27 LRA 2002 will be automatically protected by the registrar by the entry of a notice on the register.
Interests that cannot be protected by the entry of a notice:
- Interests under a trust or a settlement.
- An interest in any coal or coal mine.
- A lease granted for three years or
- Restrictive covenants are made between a landlord and tenant.
- An interest capable of registration under the Commons Registration Act 1965.
A restriction is a means of preventing certain rights to enter the register except to the extent that it is permitted by the terms of the restriction.
Restrictions can be used to prohibit dispositions (sale or distribution) either generally or of a particular kind, indefinitely or for a specified period or until the occurrence of a specified event e.g. obtaining the consent of a named person or ensuring compliance with overreaching by making sure that any payment is made to two trustees.
Where two or more persons are registered as trustees, the registrar will automatically enter a restriction (in the case of a tenancy in common) to ensure that overreaching takes place.
- All charges affecting registered land must be entered on the Land Registry UK in order to take effect as legal charges.
- Registration is necessary to preserve the chargee’s (the person who requests to place a charge in the land register) priority against earlier dealings with the Title where the existing interest remains unprotected and against later dealings with the title, including later mortgages.
Effect of Non-Registration
A non-registration of a registrable disposition will make the dealing in the land void and may have a serious consequence for the buyer of such land. (please refer to Constructive Trusts for more details).
Overriding interests are those interests that bind a buyer even though they may not appear on the Land Registry UK. They are considered to be an unsatisfactory feature of registered conveyancing. The LRA 2002 reduced the number of categories of overriding interests.
The list of overriding interests differs slightly depending upon whether you are dealing with first registration or subsequent dealing with land that has already been registered.
Schedule 1- First registration – unregistered interests which override first registration.
- para.1 – a lease granted for a term not exceeding seven years from the date of grant overrides first registration.
There are 3 exceptions where a lease of a shorter duration must be registered in its own right and cannot take effect as an overriding interest. These exceptions are as follows:
- A right to buy lease;
- A lease that takes effect more than 3 months after it is made;
- certain leases granted by private sector landlords.
- para.2 – an interest belonging to a person in actual occupation of the land overrides first registration.
- para.3 – a legal easement or profits a prendre overrides first registration.
An equitable easement cannot be an overriding interest.
- para.4 & 5 – a customary right or a public right overrides first registration.
- para.6 – Local land charges override first registration.
- para. 7, 8 & 9 – preserve the overriding status of a limited class of mineral rights.
Schedule 3 – Where title is already registered – unregistered interests which override registered dispositions.
- para.1 – A lease granted for a term not exceeding seven years from the date of grant overrides registered dispositions.
(However, there are several exceptions which include the three exceptions mentioned above in relation to first registration.)
- para.2 – An interest belonging to a person in actual occupation of land overrides registered dispositions, subject to several exceptions.
The occupier must have an interest in the land. Mere occupation alone is not enough.
The interest belonging to a person in actual occupation of the land will NOT enjoy an overriding status in the following circumstances:
- If the person with the interest was asked before the disposition occurred and he or she failed to disclose their interest when they could reasonably have been expected to do so;
- If the person’s occupation would not have been obvious on a reasonably careful inspection of the land at the time of the disposition and the person to whom the disposition is made did not have actual knowledge of the interest at the time.
- para.3 – a legal easement or profits a prendre overrides registered dispositions subject to several exceptions.
Unlike the situation on first registration, there are exceptions that give this provides a much more limited scope.
A legal Easement will only be an overriding interest and thereby bind a buyer if:
- It is registered under the Commons Registration Act 1965; or
- The buyer is aware of it; or
- The easement is patent (which means that it would be obvious on a reasonably careful inspection of the land); or
- It has been exercised within the period of one year before the disposition.
Therefore, if a Legal Easement is latent and the buyer has no actual knowledge of it, and the right under the Easement has not been exercised within the last year then it will not constitute an overriding interest.
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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legallex does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.