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HM Land Registry

Who are the Land Registry?
Her Majesty’s Land Registry (HMLR) is the organisation which is responsible for maintaining the records relating to registered land in England & Wales. The land registry is split into regional offices, each with its own Chief Land Registrar

What is the difference between registered and unregistered land?
When land is registered the land registry will have an electronic record of all the details relating to the legal title such as the property address, the owner, any mortgages or other interests registered against the title etc. This record is definitive evidence in law of ownership and of any other legal and equitable interests (with the exception of certain overriding interests) and prevails over any title deeds, which in many cases will be "dematerialised", that is to say destroyed. No new deed is produced to the new owner following completion of a purchase of registered land.

If land is unregistered then the land registry will have no record of it and ownership is determined entirely by the contents of the title deeds.

Is registration of land compulsory?
Yes. Registration became compulsory in different areas at different times and the last few areas became compulsory in the early 1990s. Having said this, an application for first registration need only be made when a transaction involving a registrable disposition, such as a transfer, grant of a new lease, gift, assent or mortgage takes place and for this reason there are still a number of unregistered properties, though they are becoming more rare.

Reliance on the register and on Official Copies
A person is entitled to rely on the contents of the register as definitive evidence of the state of the legal title and anyone who, in placing reliance on the regiters, suffers loss because of an error by the registrar, is generally entitled to compensation. This however only applies to errors and does not apply if the register has been updated after it was inspected. An Official Copy is admissable as evidence of the state of the legal title to the same extent as the register itself. Since the register can be updated at any time however an Official Copy is technically out of date from the moment after it is produced and so the register can be "frozen" by carrying out and OS1/OS2 search. This will firstly advise whether the register has been altered since the date of the Official Copy and secondly prevent it from being altered, other than as a result of an application made by or on behalf of the person the search is in favour of, for a period of 6 weeks (or until the application that the search protects is completed).

Powers of the Land Registry
The Land Registry controls the registers of title for each piece of registered land and so has the ability to amend them. As well as the usual amendments resulting from the registration of , for example, a transfer or charge, the Chief Land Registrar has quite wide powers to amend the register if he deems it necessary or appropriate. His powers are of course governed by statute, in particular the Land Registration Act 2002 and also by the Land Registration Rules 2003

Land Registry Practice Guides
The land registry issues "practice guides" which give general advice on such things as how to make applications and how they will be dealt with, priorities of interests, the effect of entries in the register etc. To view these guides follow this link: Land Registry Practice Guides

from ’Free Conveyancing Advice’


These pages are provided for information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this website.

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