Lisa Robinson, Partner in Coodes Solicitors’ Commercial Property team explains the benefits of registering rural land that has been in your family for generations with the Land Registry.
There is still land in England, which is not registered with the Land Registry. This is often farmland that has been owned by the same family for generations. According to the Land Registry, 14% of land in England remains unregistered.
When unregistered land is sold to a new owner that invokes compulsory registration with the Land Registry. However, it is possible to register your land at any time.
The Land Registry is encouraging landowners to register their land voluntarily by offering reduced fees. However, because land registry is not compulsory, most landowners are unaware of the importance of doing so until they encounter a problem and then it can be too late.
Do you have ownership deeds for all your rural land, including farm lanes, moorland, foreshore, rivers and fishing rights? If you do not know the whereabouts of those deeds, this is the time to check and take action.
There are a number of advantages to registering rural land that you own.
1. To gain greater security
Registering your land with the Land Registry provides you with a state-backed registration, giving greater security of title. This provides a number of benefits, including being able to obtain a replacement register if the original is lost.
2. To protect against squatters
Registered land is better protected against the possibility of squatters claiming ownership. Farms and open land are more at risk when unregistered because neighbours can encroach onto land, incorporate land within their boundaries and claim ownership after a period of 12 years.
3. To receive automatic notification of a claim
As the registered proprietor of your land, you would be automatically notified of any claim against your title. This is something which, if your land remains unregistered, you could be blissfully unaware of, until it is too late.
4. To access compensation if mistakes are made
The Land Registry has a statutory compensation scheme covering anyone who suffers loss because of mistakes in the register, which could have been rectified but were not.
5. To establish your rights
Registering your land sets out many of the rights that benefit and affect the title. These could include a right of way over a private access or the right to receive a water supply from a spring on neighbouring land. Certain overriding interests, such as rights of occupation, can be discovered by inspection of the property.
6. To receive a title plan
When you register your land, you will receive a title plan which shows the general extent of the property you own. This can be especially helpful if you want to mortgage or sell your land.
7. For a smoother sale
Registering your land introduces certainty and simplicity, which can help things go more smoothly if you choose to sell or re-mortgage. If you own large holdings of land and portfolios of mortgages, having each of these registered makes them readily marketable for sale.
If your land has been in the family for generations and is not yet registered with the Land Registry, remember: you do not have to wait until ownership changes. You can take action at any time.
During these challenging times, landowners should take the opportunity to review their affairs and take stock of their assets. Dealing with any unregistered land and formalising your ownership through the Land Registry would be a wise step to take.
For more advice on any of these issues, please contact Lisa Robinson in Coodes Solicitors’ Commercial Property team on 0800 3283282 or firstname.lastname@example.org