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A Guide to Land Registry

All property and land transactions in England and Wales must be recorded by HM Land Registry, the government authority that holds the information on more than 25 million registered properties. So, what does the Land Registry do and why is that important to home buyers and sellers? In-Deed’s informative guide will tell you more.

What is HM Land Registry?

HM Land Registry safeguards land and property ownership in England and Wales. Its register contains more than 25 million titles showing evidence of ownership for more than 85 percent of the land mass in England and Wales. The value of the land and property is more than £4 trillion, including around £1 trillion of mortgages.

Anyone buying or selling land or property or taking out a mortgage must apply to HM Land Registry to have the change in ownership or in financial interest noted.

Owners whose property is not registered can make a voluntary application to have their title recognised. And with a quarter of the land mass unregistered, it’s clear that involves a large amount of property and land. Having your property or land registered helps protect against squatters or claims from third parties, as well as making the sale or transfer of the land or property simpler.

What does the Land Registry do?

The main aims of the Land Registry are to provide a reliable record of information about land and property ownership and interests; provide owners with a legal title to their property or land, guaranteed by the government; and provide a title plan that indicates the general boundaries of land and property.

What is a Land Registry search?

When you are selling your property, your solicitor must apply to the Land Registry for an official copy of the deeds and an official copy of the filed title plan. Where a document referred to in the Official Copy is not set out in that copy, your solicitor will have to apply for a copy of the missing document.

When you are buying a property, your solicitor will obtain an official copy of the filed title plan to use for search purposes, sometimes referred to as the Search Plan.

When you buy a property, remortgage or have a Transfer of Equity , your solicitor will search the Land Registry to ensure no one has registered a claim or right to that property since the Official Copy was issued by the Land Registry at the start of the conveyancing process. This is to ensure you do not buy a property that has a financial charge or other adverse right registered against it and is known as a Land Registry Priority Search.

The fees for Land Registry searches are part of the additional disbursements costs that your solicitor will charge during a standard conveyancing transaction.

How much does it cost to register at the Land Registry?

The Land Registry charges a compulsory fee for registering the change in ownership and the fee is applied on a slide scale that reflects the price of the property or the size of the mortgage held on it. Current fees range from £20 to £910. The Land Registry website has more information on fees and on its activities.