Why you should register your property with the Land Registry
What is the Land Registry?
The Land Registry keeps an electronic register of property in the UK. It is compulsory for property to be registered with the Land Registry if it changes ownership (e.g. by purchase, inheritance or transfer) or if the property is mortgaged.
It is also possible to voluntarily register your property (other than when it is ‘triggered’ as above), and the Land Registry encourages property owners to do so.
Benefits of having a registered title
The deeds for unregistered land are usually compiled of numerous old documents. Once the property has been registered, the Land Registry reduces the deeds to an electronic A4 document that is usually only one or two pages long with a clear plan of the property.
With older properties, often some of the deeds have been lost. Voluntarily registering a property is an opportunity to rectify any problems on the title resulting from the missing documents which may put off prospective purchasers.
Once the property has been registered at the Land Registry, it is easy to quickly prove ownership. This can be particularly helpful when there are time pressures involved in buying or selling a property.
Registered property provides some additional security as to the extent of the property included within the ownership and can prevent adverse possession (possessory title) claims (click here to find out more about adverse possession and how to avoid this).
Peace of mind
Registration also means that any disputes regarding ownership (such as boundary disputes) can be resolved more readily.
Once the property is registered with the Land Registry, all the documents are kept in one place; solicitors, banks or property owners are no longer responsible for storing these important documents. This means delays caused by trying to locate original documentation when an owner comes to sell or re-mortgage a property can be avoided.
The Land Registry has recently reduced the fee for voluntary registration applications and we would encourage people to take advantage of the opportunity to ensure that future property transactions run smoothly.