Should property be registered?
Since the 1st of December 1990, it became compulsory in all areas of England and Wales to register property, meaning that if there was a trigger event such as a sale, the unregistered property must be registered with the Land Registry.
When the HM Land Registry was formed in 1862, the decision to register land or property was voluntary but this began to change when the Land Registration Act 1925 came into force. Compulsory registration was slowly introduced and different areas of the country were subject to this law at different dates. It wasn’t until December 1990, that this legislation came into effect in all areas.
Even now in 2022, not all land is registered. Currently, about 13% of the land in England and Wales remains unregistered. It is a common misconception that you must wait for a trigger event to arise, such as a sale, gift or re-mortgage to register a property, however, this can still be done voluntarily.
Registering land with the HM Land Registry is beneficial in many ways. Below are some key points to consider.
Simplicity and efficiency
The HM Land Registry’s aim with registering all land in England and Wales is to improve procedures. It would be more efficient for HMLR and far simpler for clients if their property was registered; it is easier and faster to review the property title when it is registered online rather than checking a bundle of deeds.
The Land Registry will compile all the information from the original house deeds into three registers: Part A, B and C. Only information related to that specific property or piece of land will be included, which differs to reading a bundle of deeds which includes information about many previous transactions, as you have to prove ownership over a certain number of years to gain a ‘good title’.
In most cases, a copy of the registered title can be downloaded from the Land Registry in a matter of seconds. The title plan can also be downloaded, which can be helpful for gaining knowledge about the property’s boundaries. This again simplifies the process of investigating and reviewing documentation before a transaction takes place.
Security for the client
If your property is registered with HM Land Registry, you cannot physically lose your title deeds as the title of the property is electronically stored, offering security to your clients.
Implications of unregistered land
The main issue with unregistered land is if clients lose their deeds and they cannot be found, it is difficult then to prove ownership without evidence. Although sometimes deeds are kept with banks and building societies, if they are in the client’s possession they can be easily misplaced or lost.
If clients are unable to obtain proof of ownership, then only the class of ‘possessory title’ can be applied for at the Land Registry, which can impact the price of the property.
What have CTT Group done to help you?
As discussed above, unregistered land can be problematic so our advice would be to register property if it is not already.
To ensure the process is as smooth and efficient as possible, CTT Group have been updating the Legacy Software for first registrations, as well as creating a product for ‘Voluntary First Registrations’ which allows you to place an order to register a property without trust involvement.
The update to the first registration process will allow you to place an order with ease as all relevant information will be captured at the beginning of the order. Plus, the software will calculate the additional fees and add them to the invoice automatically, such as the Land Registry Disbursements. This will be live in due course, if not already! You will be able to find a video in the Legacy software and Adviser Chat in the coming weeks, explaining the updates.
CTT Group also run courses and webinars to enhance your knowledge around the Estate Planning process. The course called Will Writer to Estate Planner is a 3-day course and on the third day, the Conveyancing Department cover the conveyancing process from start to finish, including a section on the first registration process. Please click here for more information about the course.
Register land for smoother transactions and security
Land that has been registered has an impact on both the homeowners and any professionals working on transactions linked to that land. It makes it easier for individuals to prove their ownership and therefore, transactions such as a sale or transferring your property into trust will be more efficient in the future.
Additionally, registering land means that a client will not have to be concerned about losing deeds, which could influence the value of their home if a possessory title is needed.
If you have a client who would like to register their property or is looking at transferring their property into trust and it is currently unregistered, please contact CTT Group and we will be able to assist.