Land Registry is a non-ministerial department of the UK Government which was created in the year 1862 to register the ownership of land and property. In England and Wales, it is with Her Majesty and is called as Her Majesty’s Land Registry whereas its equivalent office in Scotland is the Registers of Scotland whereas it is Land and Property Services for Northern Ireland.
HM Land Registry has 14 offices across England and Wales, with its head office in Croydon. It is one of the largest property databases in Europe and it was in the year 2007, when property market was at its boom, property worth £1 million was processed every minute at HM Land Registry. In addition to registering the ownership of land and property, it also helps property investors to check for the latest monthly cost of residential properties and government to assess property values for tax purposes.It safeguards land and property ownership worth more than £4 trillion, including more than £1 trillion of mortgages and has more than 24 million titles which covers more than 85% of the land.
When a land or property is registered, HM Land & Registry guarantees title to the registered estates and it records the ownership rights of freehold and leasehold properties and it is given a unique title number in their database. Since it does not receives any funding from the government, it covers its expenditure from the registration and search fees by providing online access to its database, where people have to pay a fees for availing the same.It was in 1990 when UK government made it mandatory for all landowners to register their land with Land Registry and as of now around 75 percent of land is registered in England and Wales, in which majority of them have done a voluntary registration whereas a section of 75% registered their land after conveyancing transaction while 15% of land is still unregistered.
So, what does it mean when we say that a particular land has not been registered? Does it mean that it is without an owner?
Answer is No. There is no land without its owner. All unregistered property is owned by someone, even if the government does not have the details of the owner. However, there are certain ways to figure out the owner of each land like by asking neighbours or local authority etc. However, the owners of the unregistered property miss out on the benefits of land registration and it also has its share of disadvantages/risks involved, like:
Land Registry, a government department, also called and known as HM Land Registry, was created with the intention to carry out their duties with fairness, honesty and transparency with their mission: to protect and guarantee your land and property rights and, anyone, who is buying or selling land or property or mortgage, must and should apply to Land Registry to:
You must register the land with the Land Registry in any or all cases:
Once you register your land with the Land Registry, it will publish the information of your registered land online with following details:
In case you are registering your land for the first ever time, you need to do the following for a foolproof registration:
You have to included either of below forms along with First Registration form:
In case you wish to transfer the ownership of your property to another person’s name or if you want to add another person as a joint owner of your property, you need to inform HM Land Registry about your decision and submit following documents for it to change the ownership and other details in the register:
In case you have noticed some incorrect information on the register on Land Registry or if you want to update certain information on the Register, you must inform HM Land Registry about the same for it to update those details/entries as per your requirement.
For any change/correction/updation in the registers of HM Land Registry, you have to post your forms with supporting documents and fees to0020their office by post at their address:
HM Land Registry
PO Box 74
Gloucester GL14 9BB
In case if your change or correction is related to gender recognition, you must write “Private and Confidential” on the envelope.
When a land is registered with the Land Registry, it allocates a unique title number to each land registered under it and add it to it database. There are two basic documents which are registered under each title number:
In case, if the owner decides to sell a part/piece of a registered land, document known as Transfer of Part document is signed by the seller, which has to be submitted at the Land Registry and it has a plan of the land being sold off. When the transfer of part document is submitted at the Land Registry, it will then create a new Register of Title and Title Plan with a new title number for the land which is sold off. In addition to this, Land Registry will also amend the existing Register of Title and Title Plan for the land in picture. Amended Register of Title and Title Plan will show the reduced area of land with new general boundaries. Process of land registry takes approx 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on how busy they are.
Transfer of part document must be filed under each title number and it is updated in the online database of Land Registry so that if anyone wants to obtain an official copy of it, can do so by paying nominal fees to the Land Registry.
You can obtain your copy of the Register of Title and Title Plan for any title number by filling Official Copies (OC1) and sending it to the Land Registry by post. Land Registry does not allow online submission of this form by the individuals; however, you can use services of authorized third parties and submit your form online through them.
The proposal to privatise the 150 year old agency was proposed by the Treasury under the former chancellor George Osborne as a part of £5bn programme. However, the idea to privatise the body which has record the ownership of the properties in UK ever since 1862 was not welcomed by the citizens and as a result of which it was quietly postponed by the government.
One of the major arguments against privatisation of Land Registry was from Public and Commercial Services Union and the words of Mark Serwotka, who was also the general secretary of the union were:
“Homebuyers and owners rely on the Land Registry to provide an impartial professional service and it must remain under public control, free from any profit motive and conflict of interest.
Land Registry, being a public and non-profit organization, employs more than 4,500 civil servants and holds more than 24 million titles for the properties across England and Wales and it was a common feeling that the privatization of approx 150 year old organization will have long-term consequences in terms of losing its credibility amongst its registered users who place a great amount of confidence and trust in it. Although government proposed various plans to privatise the organization, but all of them were met with concerns such as increase in usage charges and the luxury to access some of the data free of cost might not be there.
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