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Landowners - Have You Registered Your Land?

on Wednesday, 24 May 2017.

The system of land registration in this country was introduced in 1925. Different parts of the country became compulsorily registerable at different times and it was not until 2003 that it became compulsory for the whole country.

Property transactions that took place after compulsory registration then had to be registered at the Land Registry to become a legally prove-able title. Although most land in England and Wales is now registered, a quick check with the Land Registry reveals that many parts of the country remain unregistered. This shows up land that has not changed hands for many years.

Should Owners of This Land Now Voluntarily Register Their Land?

The simple answer is 'yes'. There is nothing wrong with unregistered land, but the advantages of getting land registered are clear:

  • Old title deeds can get lost or destroyed. This will make proving ownership difficult.

  • It is easier for third parties to acquire title to unregistered land by adverse possession than registered land.

  • It is easier and quicker to deal with your land if it is registered.

  • There are various anti-fraud measures you can employ with registered land to stop your property being 'stolen' or mortgaged without your consent.

  • Last but not least, the generation of solicitors who were used to dealing with unregistered land are dwindling. This could lead to higher legal bills and mistakes if the solicitors dealing with an unregistered property are unfamiliar with this.

  • Leases over seven years must also be registered. Quite often this is overlooked, which could prejudice the landlord's or the tenant's position.

The law in this area can be complicated. If in doubt, take legal advice from a specialist solicitor.

For more information, please contact David Marsden in our Commercial Property team on 01923 919 303.

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