Introduction

This guide tells you what information Land Registry keeps and how to obtain it, based on questions  The Land Registry are frequently asked. It also contains the forms you will need to obtain information from us.

If you have other questions about what The Land Registry do our staff will be able to help. If you want more information about the possible legal or business effects of registration, or a similar matter, you should think about getting legal advice. Our staff will try to help as much as possible but please remember that we cannot give legal advice.

Frequently asked questions

Why is land registered?

The aim of registering title to land is to create and maintain a register of land, the title to which is guaranteed by the state. The guarantee means that if a mistake occurs in the register and the owner suffers loss,  The Land Registry can pay compensation. A system of land registration also makes it simpler to buy, sell and charge (or mortgage) land and property. When  land is referred to within this guide this also includes any property that may be built on this land.

Is all land registered?

No, not all land is registered. This could be for a number of reasons. For example, the land may have been in the same ownership for many years and the event triggering its first registration, such as a sale or mortgage, has not occurred. However, The Land Registry do have details of more than 20 million registered properties in England and Wales, a number that increases every day. But there are still millions of properties that have not yet been registered and  The Land Registry  do not hold information on them.

What is a registered title?

A registered title provides the legal evidence that the land has been registered at Land Registry. When land is registered, we create a register that provides an up-to-date record of the legal ownership and other matters relating to the land or property in question. Every register has a unique title number that enables the easy identification of the register of the property in question.

How do I find out whether land is registered?

Land Registry keeps a computerised map based on the Ordnance Survey map. This map (the ‘index map’) provides an index of the land in the title for the vast majority of registrations and pending applications for first registration. To find out if land is registered you should complete form SIM to apply for an official search of the index map. To get form SIM, see section 4 How to get our other guides and forms. If you cannot quote a full postal address on form SIM, or if there is likely to be any doubt about where the property is, or the area it covers, you will need to provide a plan that must:

  • be based on the latest published edition of the large scale Ordnance Survey map

  • be drawn to scale

  • indicate the scale and north point

  • show the precise extent of the property by suitable colouring/edging

  • show the position of the land in relation to nearby roads and other relevant features.

The certificate of result of search will show whether or not the land is registered, the title numbers that affect it and the type of registration that has been disclosed.  The Land Registry  index the following types of registration on the index map.

  • Pending applications for first registration (other than of title to a relating franchise).

  • Pending applications for caution against first registration (other than where the subject of the caution is a relating franchise).

  • Registered estates in land.

  • Registered rentcharges.

  • Registered profits a prendre in gross.

  • Registered affecting franchises.

  • Cautions against first registration (other than where the subject of the caution is a relating franchise).

The Land Registry also index the following types of registration (defined below), but these make up a very small percentage of the titles  The Land Registry  hold.

  • Registered rentcharges.

  • Registered profits a prendre in gross.

  • Registered affecting franchises.

A franchise is a right or privilege that the Crown grants. Examples include the right to take a toll or to hold a market or fair. A profit a prendre in gross is a right to take something from somebody else’s land, for example, fishing or shooting rights. A rentcharge is a periodic payment of money charged on land, but it excludes rent payable under a lease or tenancy and sums payable as interest.

The following types of registration are not indexed on the index map.

  • Relating franchises (a franchise not related to a defined area of land).

  • Manors (includes lordships, manorial land and rights affecting such land, such as shooting or fishing).

The reason they are excluded is because the extent of a relating franchise or manor cannot be determined with any precision. The Land Registry hold information about these types of registration in an index of verbal descriptions called the index of relating franchises and manors. This index is arranged by administrative area.

You should complete form SIF to apply for an official search of the index of relating franchises and manors. You can make a personal application to search both the index map and the index of relating franchises and manors at any Land Registry office. To do so, you must have a plan that clearly shows the land that you are interested in.

What information do you keep on the register?

There is an example of a register set out in section 6 Appendix A – Example of a register. You will see that there are three parts of the register. The extent of the registered land is shown on the title plan. In some cases specific documents that the register refers to are filed at Land Registry. Some registers of titles in Wales may have entries in Welsh. If you have any queries regarding these, please contact Land Registry, Wales Office (see section 12 Appendix G – Addresses of Land Registry offices).

The first part of the register is the property register. This contains a description of the land in the title. It also refers to a title plan, which is prepared for each title (an example of this plan is set out in section 7 Appendix B – Example of a title plan). It may also give details of any rights that benefit the land, such as a right of way over nearby land. In the case of a leasehold title, it gives brief details of the lease. The title plan is based on the large-scale maps of the Ordnance Survey. 

The second part of the register is the proprietorship register. This gives the quality of the title, such as an absolute title, and the name and address of the legal owner, and shows whether there are any restrictions on their power to sell, mortgage or otherwise deal with the land. When  The Land Registry are completely satisfied about who owns the property The Land Registry  will give absolute title. In some cases, however,  The Land Registry  will give a more limited class of title.

The third part of the register is the charges register. This contains details of registered mortgages and notice of other financial burdens secured on the property (but does not usually give details of the amounts of money involved). It also gives notice of other rights and interests that affect the property, such as leases, rights of way or covenants that limit how the property can be used.

How can I get information about the register?

You can order a copy of the register online by visiting www.landregistry-uk.com and selecting the search by map service. 

Can I look at documents too?

Yes, you can apply for an official copy of:

  • any document referred to in the register provided  The Land Registry  hold a copy, or

  • any document that is not referred to in the register that relates to an application, provided  The Land Registry  hold a copy.

These documents are available as of right under the Land Registration Rules 2003 (unless they have been designated an exempt information document – see section 2.8 What if I need a copy of a document that has been made an exempt information document? for more information or are otherwise excepted from the right to inspect and obtain copies). You should use form OC2, an example of which is set out in section 9 Appendix D – Form OC2, to apply.

There is a fee for this service (see section 3 Fees). Please ensure that you complete the relevant part of section 7 of the OC2 with details of the document that you want. If you want a copy of a document that is not referred to in the register, please supply as much information as possible, such as the date of the document, parties and the date (or approximate date) that the document was sent to us. This will help us find the correct document in our files. Please try to avoid asking for “all documents connected with the transfer to me” unless you really need all this information. This is because ‘all information’ would include application forms and routine letters to us, which may be of little interest to you but could increase the fees you need to pay.  The Land Registry  may also hold electronic documents that were used to create the register, but to keep your costs down  The Land Registry  will not supply copies of these unless you specifically ask for them.

For more information please see Practice Guide 11 – Inspection and applications for official copies.

What if I need a copy of a document that has been made an exempt information document?

Since 13 October 2003 it has been possible to exempt documents that contain prejudicial information from the general right to inspect and copy documents  The Land Registry  hold.

If you apply for an official copy of an exempt information document using form OC2, you will receive an edited copy of the document that does not contain the prejudicial information. If you want a full copy, which contains all the prejudicial information you can apply in writing, by email or by using form EX2.

For more information please see Practice Guide 57 – Exempting documents from the general right to inspect and copy.

Does the Freedom of Information Act 2000 apply to documents that Land Registry holds?

Yes. From 1 January 2005 you have the right to information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA 2000).

Where information is available as of right under the Land Registration Rules 2003 (LRR 2003) any request for information is governed by the LRR 2003 and not by the FOIA 2000. This is because section 21, FOIA 2000 makes information exempt from FOIA 2000 when it is “reasonably accessible by other means.” For this reason The Land Registry claim exemption under s.21 as the information is already accessible through our Rules and so cannot be made available by the FOIA 2000. For details of information that is available as of right under the LRR 2003 please see sections 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 and in particular 2.7 Can I look at documents too?

You can still apply for a copy of an exempt information document under the LRR 2003. Please see section 2.8 What if I need a copy of a document that has been made an exempt information document? for more information. As these are documents that are not available as of right under the LRR 2003 you can also request the information under the FOIA 2000. An application for information under the FOIA 2000 must be made in writing, by letter, fax or email. For more information regarding the FOIA 2000 please see Public Guide 15 – Your rights under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

A fee may be payable for any requests for information under the FOIA 2000; please see section 3 Fees for more information.

What documents do you not keep?

There are some documents that The Land Registry do not generally keep. These are:

  • title deeds dated before the date the property was first registered, other than those referred to in the register as being filed. See entry number 2 in the charges register of the specimen register in section 6 Appendix A – Example of a register

  • copies of deeds that are not referred to in the register

  • court orders1

  • birth, marriage or death certificates1

  • civil partnership documents1

  • grants of probate or letters of administration1.

1 These items are public documents and can be obtained from the appropriate court officials, the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages or the Probate Registry.

The Land Registrydo not have information about:

  • individual land or property values before 1 April 2000

  • matters relating to planning permission, compulsory purchase, redevelopment, road charges, public-health charges, building lines or tree conservation (the local authority will record these)

  • unregistered land or property

  • tenancy agreements

  • land held under a lease for a term of seven years or less. ( The Land Registry may also not have information about leases granted for a longer term. Before 13 October 2003, we only dealt with leases if they were for more than 21 years.)

  • land or property outside England and Wales, or

  • matters relating to the community charge, council tax and rating assessments.

Where do I apply?

You should apply online at www.landregistry-uk.com

What information is available on the internet?

The Land Registry have various services on our website to help you.

  • www.landregistry-uk.com is our main website and provides information about our services, and forms for ordering documents.

  • the ‘Find a property’ service on our main website provides electronic access to some of our records. This service is aimed at the general public. To use this service you will need a valid email address and debit/credit card.

What if I think there is a mistake on my register

If you think your register is wrong in some way, please contact Customer Support (see Contact details) and The Land Registry will look into the matter. If  The Land Registry  do not agree that something is wrong The Land Registry  will tell you why. If they agree that there is a mistake, they will explain how it happened and try to put it right. Mistakes may not always be our fault, but they are responsible for making sure that our title plans are accurate.

You may be asked to put your comments in writing.

Appendix A – Example of a register

Appendix B – Example of a title plan

Comments