The Eric Whitehead Partnership

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If you have owned your property or land for a number of years (prior to December 1988 in the Staffordshire Moorlands) and there has been no change in ownership since, that property or land is likely to be unregistered at the Land Registry.

Although there is no obligation on property or land owners to voluntarily register their property or land, there are several advantages of doing so, for example:

  • The title to unregistered property or land is found in the bundle of deeds relating to the property or land in question. If those deeds are ever lost, damaged or destroyed it can cause serious problems if the owner wishes to sell the property or land. When a property or land is registered at the Land Registry, those old dusty deeds are effectively replaced by a simple document setting out a description of the property or land in question, details of the owner(s) and how they own it and details of any charge or mortgage over the property or land. Registration provides the owner(s) with a state guaranteed title to the property or land and effectively insures them against their deeds being lost, damaged or destroyed;

  • The plans found in old title deeds are often very old and are often, therefore, extremely inaccurate. Sometimes, plans do not even exist! When a property or land is registered, the Land Registry prepares an accurate plan which accurately identifies the property or land in question. This means that any disputes over property or land ownership can often be avoided or resolved quickly; and

  • Where a property or land remains unregistered, it is much easier for third parties to attempt to obtain “squatter’s rights” and to claim adverse possession of a property or land without the true owner’s knowledge. If, however, a property or land is registered, it becomes virtually impossible for such claims to be made without the true owner’s knowledge as the Land Registry will be able to notify the true owner that such a claim has been made. This will give the true owner time to mount a challenge to the claim. This is time that they would not necessarily have had had the property or land remained unregistered.

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