Is My Property Registered Or Unregistered?

Is my property registered or unregistered? And what does that mean?

Introduction

Property is classed as being either “registered” or “unregistered”. This refers to whether or not the property is registered with HM Land Registry, the government department created to register the ownership of land and property in England and Wales (for more information go to https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/land-registry).

The land registration system was introduced in the 1920s with the aim of eventually replacing the older archaic unregistered system, which requires the title deeds to be produced and checked upon each successive dealing with the land.

The registration system is intended to provide a complete and up-to-date record of each property owner’s ‘title’, so that any prospective buyer or interested third party can rely on the title register as conclusive evidence of all matters affecting the property owner’s title. Once a property has been registered, any subsequent dealings with the property are then registered with HM Land Registry and recorded on the title register.

Compulsory registration

The first registration of property has been compulsory following certain dealings with property since December 1990. These dealings are often referred to as “trigger events”.  The trigger events are set out in section 4 of the Land Registration Act 2002 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/9/contents). Almost all dealings with unregistered property now trigger first registration, and so the result is that most property today is registered with HM Land Registry.

In summary, the following dealings with unregistered property will trigger compulsory first registration:

  • A transfer of unregistered property to a new owner, either for value, as a gift or following the death of the legal owner, or pursuant to a court order;
  • An assent of unregistered property;
  • Charging the property as security for a mortgage; and
  • Granting a long lease (i.e., for a term of more than 7 years).

Follow the link for more information: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/first-registrations/practice-guide-1-first-registrations#compulsory-applications-for-first-registration

How do I know if my property is registered?

If you have mortgaged, purchased or otherwise acquired your property after December 1990, or have granted a neighbour an easement for the benefit of his property (for example, a right of way across your property to your neighbour’s property, or a right to use a water pipe crossing your property for the supply of water to your neighbour’s property), this will have triggered the compulsory first registration of your property. 

After the transaction was completed, your solicitor will have lodged an application for the first registration of your property at HM Land Registry. Once HM Land Registry completed the registration, a new title register and title plan will have been issued, and copies will have been sent to you for your safe keeping.

The title documentation are public documents, and are available to purchase online for a small fee by lodging a Request for Official Copies (see Land Registry Practice Guide 11 at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/inspection-and-application-for-official-copies/practice-guide-11-inspection-and-application-for-official-copies).