Registration of residential property

Registration of residential property and what it means is still something of a mystery for many property owners

However, if your property is unregistered, there are considerable benefits to voluntarily registering with the Land Registry.

Registration at the Land Registry is the official recording of property ownership. Since 1990 it has been compulsory to register land after it has been sold, to provide a central register detailing property ownership in England and Wales.

A property may not be registered if you or someone else owned it prior to 1990 and there has been no sale, mortgage, transfer or trigger event since then. As such, the only proof of ownership you may have are the original paper deeds. Often, these documents can be relatively old. If these are lost or incomplete it can cause great difficulty in the future, not just when you come to sell. They should be kept safe, whether by your solicitor in their strong room or otherwise.

There are many benefits to making an application to voluntarily register your property. This is where you choose to register your property rather it being mandatory than when you come to sell or secure a mortgage.


  • Security. Unregistered land is at a higher risk of fraud, especially if the property is rented out, empty or there is no mortgage secured on it. Registered land is much less likely to be the subject of fraudulent activity.
  • Cost. The Land Registry base their fees on the current market value of the property. When making an application for voluntary registration there is a 25% reduction in Land Registry fees.
  • When land is registered a title plan is produced by the Land Registry showing the extent of the property. This makes it easier to check boundaries and property owned.
  • Evidence of ownership. Registration means that all the relevant title information for the property will be recorded on the Land Register which is available instantly online. This can make it quicker and easier to buy and sell in the future. Solicitors do not need to go back though bundles of old documents.
  • Avoids loss. Registration avoids the risk of title deeds and documents being lost and the owner being unable to easily prove ownership or other matters relating to the land. Instead, once registered, the Official Copy Entries clearly sets out who owns the property, what rights exist over it and so on.
  • Prevents “squatters rights”. The requirements for proving adverse possession can make it more difficult for someone to claim ownership of registered land as opposed to unregistered land.
  • Reduce future costs. If you come to sell in the future, then a registered property is typically quicker and easier to deal with than an unregistered property from both the buyer and sellers’ perspective.

Applying for voluntary registration now, when you know where the title deeds are kept and have detailed knowledge of the property, can save considerable time and expense in the future.

If the deeds have been lost it is still possible to apply for first registration but the person claiming ownership will need to make a statement of truth. This is an account of events leading to the loss of the deeds and submit evidence if possible.

Many clients are unsure as to whether their property is registered or not. Fortunately, it is easy to find out and something that our residential property team are always happy to help with. If you are unsure whether your property is registered or not, or you would like to explore voluntary registration, please contact a member of our residential property team on 01258 459361

Blanchards Bailey

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