Do you own property or land that is unregistered? If so, have you considered whether voluntary registration is worthwhile? Here are a few points of consideration.
If you wish to sell, mortgage or transfer your property, it will be necessary for the conveyancer acting for your buyer/the other party to check the title to the property. If the title is unregistered, the deeds will need to be examined and could be extensive, particularly if the property has been within the family for many years. If crucial deeds are damaged in storage or lost this could be problematic. Missing deeds, plans or poor quality deeds can also cause delays in the conveyancing transaction.
Claims for adverse possession / boundary definition / fraud
Unregistered land is at a higher risk of fraud. Fraudsters can assume your identity and attempt to sell or mortgage your property without your knowledge. Registration helps you to protect your property from fraud and resist any third party applications for adverse possession. The Land Registry cannot notify you if your property is unregistered and you may be unaware of these wrongful claims.
Registration also provides for an understanding as to the boundaries which are reflected in a Title Plan and could help prevent potential disputes with neighbours. A buyer can also check the extent of the land to be purchased and that it is in accordance with the Title Plan.
Register of Title
Registered land is much quicker for conveyancers to deduce and investigate because all matters which burden and benefit the land has been set out. The Land Registry will recite the required information from the historic deeds thus hugely reducing the reading time and the extent of enquires necessary particularly where some much older documents are handwritten which can be difficult to read and interpret.
There are different kinds of title that the Land Registry can grant; Absolute Title is the best form available. Registration also provides a state-backed guarantee securing the title to the property, meaning that the state guarantees that the legal estate is vested in the registered owner. A lesser form of title can be awarded by the Land Registry where there are missing documents or where there is a specific defect in the title. These are known as Possessory or Qualified Titles and these could be upgraded in the future.
In addition to the benefits as set out above, the Land Registry’s fee is halved for voluntary registrations.