Why you should register your house deeds at the Land Registry

The Land Registry’s responsibilities in England and Wales are to provide reliable records of land and property ownership and interests, offer government-guaranteed land titles to owners, and provide a title plan that indicates general boundaries.

Before the introduction of the 1925 Land Registration Act, land in England and Wales was mainly unregistered and voluntary registration was the only option. However, this changed with the Act, which aimed to simplify conveyancing by providing a single document called the Title Information Document that would enable purchasers to view the title to land. Each title was also assigned a unique title number. The Title Information Document is crucial because it clearly outlines the land ownership, boundaries, rights of way, and any restrictions affecting it.

The Land Registry say their responsibilities are:

  • To provide a reliable record of information about ownership of and interests affecting land and property
  • To provide owners with a land title, guaranteed by the government
  • To provide a title plan that indicates general boundaries

Why are my deeds not registered?

Land registration only become mandatory in Mendip in the 1980’s. Deeds were usually only registered on a registrable disposition, such as a sale or remortgage. If you have unregistered deeds you can decide to apply for voluntary registration. There are numerous benefits to registering ownership at the Land Registry.

Currently, around 85% of all land in England and Wales is now registered, with the Land Register containing over 24 million legal titles that demonstrate ownership and coverage. HM Land Registry is responsible for protecting land worth more than £4 trillion, including more than £1 trillion in mortgages. They say their purpose is to protect your land ownership and provide services and data that underpin an efficient and informed property market.

Should I register my deeds?

An application for voluntary registration can be made by an existing land owner. There are many benefits to registering ownership at the Land Registry and these include:

  • You will have absolute proof of ownership and a clear plan showing the extent of that ownership will be provided by the registry giving an accurate reflection of the extent of the land from the ground. Many unregistered properties either don’t have plans or have unclear questionable plans.
  • Once the land is registered, the Land Registry will hold evidence of the title electronically, which means that if old deeds become lost or destroyed, it is not critical.
  • Registration creates a clear record of ownership which clearly sets out any matters that affect the property, such as rights of way and restrictive covenants.
  • Registration provides greater protection against claims for ‘Adverse Possession’, more commonly known as squatting and makes them easier to defeat.
  • It prevents fraud which can occur from copying or withholding title deeds or a person seeking to claim that they own another person’s land.
  • The Land Registry fee is discounted by around 30% for voluntary applications.

The Land Registry recommend you register your deeds as this:

  • gives you proof of ownership
  • helps protect your land from fraud
  • makes it easier to mortgage, sell or gift your property in the future

Please contact Katherine Oakes for more details.

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