There are still a considerable number of properties that do not have their title registered at the HM Land Registry. The owners of such properties will have a bundle of old title deeds. These can be lost whereas a registered title is a permanent record of ownership of property.
At TMJ Legal Services we act for a great number of property owners making applications to the HM Land Registry to register the title of their property for the first time. Since the Land Registration Act of 2002 all dealings involving property trigger compulsory first registration at HM Land Registry but if no dealings have taken place for many years the title may remain unregistered.
Approximately 15% of land in England and Wales remains unregistered in that it does not have a title at HM Land Registry. This includes a great number of homes where owners have been in occupation for more than 25 years and also many pieces of land. In order to register the title and your ownership of the property at the HM Land Registry you need to hold the title deeds and show a good root of title. When you have the title deeds and can prove that you have owned the property for at least 15 years and that the property was conveyed to you correctly you will successfully secure an Absolute Title for the property. If you cannot do this you will have to apply for a Possessory Title.
We would recommend that everyone with a property that does not have a registered title check that they have their title deeds and make an application to HM Land Registry for first registration.
If you cannot find the title deeds you should ask us about making an application to HM Land Registry for registration of a Possessory Title. To do this you will have to prove that you have had exclusive possession of land or property for at least 12 years in spite of the fact that you do not hold the title deeds. This is a lesser title offered by HM Land Registry which can be upgraded in the future.
If you have lost your title deeds please do not hesitate to contact us. This problem should be addressed sooner rather than later as sometimes the death or incapacity of the owner of the property can give rise to difficulties.
If there is no record of your ownership of your property or land at the HM Land Registry there is some risk of fraud in that another person may attempt to register themselves as the proprietor.
Our conveyancing team has a breadth of experience dealing with first registrations and we are happy to offer initial advice on the first registration process. In particular, consideration should be given to who should be registered as the proprietor as this decision can have long-term consequences for the extended family.
TMJ Legal Services
TMJ Legal Services has been helping individuals and businesses since 1986. We offer a range of advice and services.