Voluntary registration - there are benefits

Since 2002, it has been compulsory to register property and land at HM Land Registry upon certain triggering events e.g. transfer, mortgage etc.  So is there any benefit of going to the expense of registering your property voluntarily?

HM Land Registry’s register contains evidence of ownership for approximately 85% of the land in England and Wales.  It states that its responsibilities are to provide a reliable record of ownership and interests, and to provide owners with a land title that is guaranteed by the Government.  It charges a fee for registering property, based on its value, which can be between £40 and £980.  In order to try and encourage owners to register their property voluntarily it offers a 25% reduction on these fees, giving a clear benefit for voluntarily registration.

Despite this fee reduction many wait until they have to compulsorily register their land.  The Land Registry is currently quoting an average completion time of just over three months to register property; a period of time that can drastically delay proceedings.  In addition, some solicitors are not conversant with unregistered land and will insist the seller registers it before they advise their clients to proceed with the purchase.  It is not uncommon, therefore, for some purchasers or developers to refuse to deal with unregistered land, either by refusing to purchase it entirely, or by refusing to purchase it until it has been registered, which could leave the seller waiting an extra three to four months or even potentially losing a sale.

HM Land Registry’s register is a public record and anyone can pay to obtain a copy of your title.  Developers looking to develop a certain area of land often utilise this benefit by simply going to the register, gaining a copy of the title and the name and contact details of the owner, and making a direct approach with an offer.

It seems sensible for anyone who is seeking to sell or develop property to register it voluntarily and gain a head start in the process.  Such registration gives an opportunity to deal with any irregularities in the title at leisure and, in some instances, can even lead potential buyers/developers directly to your door. 

For more information about voluntary registration of property or land please contact Emma Coke on emma.coke@birkettlong.co.uk or give her a call on 01206 217629.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.