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What is first registration with the Land Registry?

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All properties in England and Wales can be registered with the Land Registry.

If it’s not, then you can apply for first registration. This is simply the process of registering your land or property with the Land Registry.

The Land Registry holds a register of ownership of more than 26 million titles - covering around 88% of land in England and Wales. If your land is among those 26 million titles, then misplacing your paper deeds shouldn’t be much of a worry as further copies can be downloaded from the Land Registry. 

If your land or property is not yet registered (unregistered), the loss or destruction of your deeds can be a huge problem, causing issues when selling or raising a mortgage. 

Examples of Land Registry first registration

Consider a large farm that’s been passed from generation to generation; the title deed bundles for these properties can be very large, and they’re fragile – vulnerable to fire and water damage in particular. 

If these deeds are lost or destroyed, proving ownership in order to raise working capital for the business, for example, can be very difficult. 

How to check if your land is registered with the Land Registry

The Land Registry’s MapSearch is free to use.  This is a good indicator as to whether your land has a registered title number. 

A further search (with a small charge) can be carried out to definitively confirm the issue for you. Our commercial property solicitors can assist you with this.

If you sell your land or property, or raise a mortgage against it, these events will trigger a compulsory first registration.  You don’t have to wait for these events to happen though; we’d advise a voluntary registration.

What are the benefits of registering my land?

  • Proof of legal ownership by way of a title register. Copies of title deeds can be requested from the Land Registry for a small fee, and are usually delivered electronically
  • Show the extent of your ownership, with general boundaries edged in red
  • Show class of title. The Land Registry will grant and guarantee a class of title to the land (absolute title being the best available)
  • Resolve title issues. Any issues with the title can be identified and resolved before the registration application
  • Reduces the risk and potential financial loss if title deeds are misplaced or destroyed
  • Protects your land from fraud, claims of adverse possession and squatters’ rights.  Once registered, you can set up an alert which would notify you should someone try to register a transfer or mortgage against your land
  • Easier to sell or gift your property, saving time and costs
  • Easier for future generations, who may have limited knowledge of the property, to deal with any issues at a later date
  • Lower fees. Land Registry fees for voluntary registration are lower than those for compulsory registration

How can I register my land with the Land Registry?

An application will be prepared and submitted to the Land Registry with your deeds (or a statement of truth where the deeds are not available). 

At Crombie Wilkinson, our residential property and conveyancing team  can prepare and submit this on your behalf.

The timescales for first registration with the Land Registry can be long. Currently, half of all first registration applications are completed within 13 months, with the majority coming in at under 14months[1].

There are Land Registry first registration fees. These range from £45 for a postal application for a property worth less than £80,000 to £1,105 for an application through the online portal for a property valued at over £1,000,001.

What if I have lost my title deeds?

We’re still able to help.  Our team can assist with drafting a statement of truth and submit it to the Land Registry along with other supporting documents. 

We will liaise with the Registry until the application is decided. If a decision needs to be appealed, we can help with this too. 

A decision can take some time – upwards of a year – so if you have plans to raise any capital against your land, or are looking to auction or sell any part of it, the time to act is now.

How to contact us

If you would like to discuss the registration of your land, please contact us on 01653 600070.  We have a team ready to help.