What is it?
Voluntary First Registration is the process by which landowners can choose to register their unregistered land with the Land Registry.
Registering land means that the details of ownership, rights and interests associated with that land are officially recorded and maintained by HM Land Registry, the government agency responsible for registration of land in England and Wales. If you are unsure whether your property has been registered, you can check online via the Land Registry website. Around 15% of land still remains unregistered in England and Wales.
Under current law, when a property is sold, transferred, leased or a mortgage is required, registration is compulsory for the owner of that land. However, before 1st January 1990, registration was not compulsory throughout the whole of the UK, so there is still a certain percentage of land that is unregistered.
There are a number of benefits to voluntarily registering your land, as listed below.
The benefits of voluntary first registration
Legal Certainty and Protection
Upon successful completion of voluntary registration landowners receive an official title that provides indisputable evidence of ownership. This reduces the likelihood of future disputes and legal complications concerning the land.
Furthermore, the Land Registry will hold an electronic record of ownership of the property which protects you if the property deeds are lost, destroyed or stolen. If this does happen and your land is unregistered then it can be very difficult to prove your ownership of the land.
Registering land provides greater protections against property fraud as the Land Registry require your identity to be verified before they process any application to change the register. Furthermore, registered owners are notified of any adverse possession applications (‘squatters rights’ claims), giving them a greater opportunity to defend their ownership than unregistered land owners.
Streamlined Property Transactions
Voluntary registration can simplify property transactions, making it easier to sell, mortgage, or transfer ownership. Prospective buyers are also likely to have greater confidence when dealing with registered land, helping to speed up the process.
There is a 25% reduction in the fee for voluntary first registration compared to compulsory registration. The reduced risk of future disputes over the land and greater ease of transactions will also minimise legal fees and other expenses in the long run.
Enhanced Property Value
A registered title is often seen as more secure and attractive to potential buyers or investors. This can lead to an increase in the property’s market value.
How to register land
An application will need to be made to the Land Registry. This will involve gathering all relevant documents, including title deeds, plans and any other evidence of ownership and boundaries. These are then submitted to the Land Registry together with an application form. A solicitor can assist you with this process.
How we can help you
Attwells has extensive experience with voluntary first registration applications and can assist you with gathering the required documentation and navigating the process for registering your land with the Land Registry. Call us today on 01473 229200 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and a fee quote.