There are two land systems In England and Wales – registered land and unregistered land. If a piece of land and ownership of it is recorded on the Land Register it’s registered land. When a property gets registered, the title is “guaranteed” by the Land Registry. The Register is open to the public and can be accessed by anyone.
This will very much depend on whether the title to your property is registered or unregistered. If your land is Registered Land the details of your ownership will be held by the Land Registry under a Title Number.
It is possible to carry out a search at the Land Registry, locate your property and obtain up to date copies of the Registered Entries for a small fee. If the property is Leasehold then the Land Registry will also normally hold a File Copy of the Registered Lease and again, a copy can be obtained for a small fee.
If your land is unregistered then you have more of a problem and it will be necessary to prepare a “reconstruction of title”. This will be based upon any documentary evidence which can be found/traced along with Sworn Statements (Statutory Declarations) by the person/s claiming ownership.
Under such circumstances it is likely that the Land Registry will initially only grant either “possessory title” or “qualified title” rather than the usual “title Absolute” and a further application to the Land Registry will need to be made after the expiry of certain time limits.
If you are intending to sell or mortgage a property where unregistered title deeds have been lost and a re-construction of title is required, then the buyer or mortgage lender will also usually require indemnity insurance to be put in place to protect their interest should a valid claim be made against the title before it is upgraded to “title absolute” in order to proceed.
You may also be interested in reading our FAQ’s on Unregistered Land.
If we can assist you with any aspect of dealing with registered or unregistered land then please get in touch for an informal chat to see how we can assist.
This article is intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.