In 1925, the process of land registration began, and became compulsory in 1985. Currently, 95% of UK land is registered and has a unique number and individual title deeds. These deeds provide information about the land itself: who owns it; whether there are any public rights of way over that land and where its borders lie; whether there are any dwellings on that land or restrictions to building upon it.
Five percent of UK land remains unregistered. One reason for this is that the land has not changed hands since 1925 or 1985, in which case a buyer must begin the process of registering the land before he can officially and legally own it.
Can I buy unregistered land?
Unregistered land is available for purchase, but it can take significantly longer to purchase than registered land. The legal requirement of ‘First Registration’ in these cases can be a considerable setback for the purchaser. First, the seller of the land must find the title deeds, which prove original ownership. As solicitors, we then study the deeds to make sure everything is in order. If the land has changed hands in the last 15 years, the previous title deeds will also need to be sourced to make sure the chain of ownership is legal. When we’re satisfied that there are no loose ends, we submit the records to the land registry and they can begin the process of registering the land and naming you the legal owner.
How long will it take to register land?
You should be prepared to wait some time before the land is registered. Common delays include problems with sourcing the original title deeds and finding an experienced solicitor to process the legal issues. We have extensive experience with unregistered land and will be able to get your name on the deeds in the shortest time possible. We’ll keep you informed every step of the way, allowing you to plan ahead and look forward to being fully registered as the legal owner of your land.
This note is general comment. Don’t forget you need to take advice specific to your circumstances before acting or deciding not to act.
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