Around 85% of all property in England and Wales is registered with the Land Registry. The remainder is known as unregistered land. To refer to a property as unregistered does not mean that it has no owner but rather that the property or land has not changed hands or been dealt with in a way that triggers first registration e.g. by granting a mortgage, for a number of years.
A large amount of the unregistered land is owned by the Crown, the Aristocracy and the Church because it has never been sold which is one of the main triggers for first registration. It is however becoming less common to come across unregistered property in day to day residential conveyancing transactions.
There are significant advantages to registering a property. Registration provides an opportunity for any defects in the title to be rectified which would otherwise remain undiscovered and saves time and reduces costs on any subsequent dealings with the property. Also, some solicitors are reluctant to deal with unregistered due to lack of familiarity with the process so registering the title can help with a future sale.
Registration gives you recognisable proof of ownership. Once a property is registered a title guaranteed by the Land Registry is created together with an accurate plan of the extent of the property. Copies of registered titles are easily obtained from the Land Registry. All the while a property remains unregistered the only proof of ownership is the paper deeds which can easily be mislaid or damaged.
Registration also helps protect your land from fraud and provides better protection against claims of adverse possession.
The Land Registry is aiming to achieve comprehensive registration by 2030 and currently offers a 25% discount on their fee for voluntary first registrations. The registration fee charged by the Land Registry is based on the current value of the property.
For further information and assistance with registering your property, please do not hesitate to contact Rebecca West