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How old is my house?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Buying and selling property, Historic

Row of houses, varying in age.

Ten years ago, I stood on the front doorstep of my new home, waiting for the delivery lorry to arrive. An older couple walked past my house and then doubled back to look up at it.

I asked if I could help them and the man explained that he was researching his family history. His great-grandfather had bought and lived in my house when it was newly built, back in the Victorian period. Through conversation, I learnt the exact date was 1897.

What should you do though, if you want to know the exact age of your house and don’t have a friendly amateur historian to hand!

How HM Land Registry can help

Some people get in touch with us to ask “How old is my house?”, often because they need this information to take out building insurance.

We keep records of land ownership, not what’s built on the land. If your property was sold by the developer who built it though, you could find out its approximate age using the date of the first transfer or lease by the developer, as this date is often referred to in the register.

Get a copy of a title register

If your property was not sold by the developer who built it, we won't have any information about its age.

Other ways to find out how old your house is

If you are in the process of buying the house, ask your seller or their agent. As part of a sale, the seller must complete a ‘Seller’s property information form’ which may contain the property’s age.

If you have a mortgage, your survey may say how old the building is.

Your local authority may have a record of when planning permission was granted.

Ask any neighbours who live in similar properties, if they know the age of theirs.

Find the age of older properties

An old double fronted, single story cottage with a tiled roof

If you have an older house, you could:

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  1. Comment by Michael Limbrey posted on

    With unregistered title the whole history was available.

  2. Comment by D Bushnell posted on

    Why can’t I just put in my address and get an answer back as to when it was built

    • Replies to D Bushnell>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      D Bushnell - we don't register when a house was built as the article explains. There is no central body that does so for properties in England and Wales

      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Stanley posted on

        My insurance company are insisting on the build date or they can not quote.
        is this a get out clause so if I say dec 1965 and it was actually nov 1965 they dont have to pay out.

        • Replies to Stanley>

          Comment by AdamH posted on

          Stanley - no idea so you’d have to read the policy to understand how precise you have to be. I’d suggest asking the insurer to clarify/confirm
          If you are looking for wider comment from other policy holders then I’d suggest online forums such as Money Saving Expert.

        • Replies to Stanley>

          Comment by Adam W posted on

          Hi Stanley,
          The build date of the property can only be used to decline a claim if it is:
          (A) a material fact, i.e. has a direct impact on the terms of the policy
          (B) deliberately or recklessly misrepresented.

          If you take a guess as to the age of the house and get it wrong this doesn't give your Insurers the right to decline a claim.

        • Replies to Stanley>

          Comment by A Samji posted on

          Hi. As Land Registry do not store build dates, one can go to local estate agents or even knock on a few doors nearby to get an idea. The valuer or surveyor of your property would have had to an estimated build date as well. If the property is reasonably new you may be able look this up through planning applications. Sometimes you can get the answer just by searching the web.

          Older properties often contain high risk materials, such as asbestos, or materials that are difficult or costly to replace. These materials could increase your perceived level of risk and push you into a higher home insurance bracket.

          I don’t think an insurer will penalise you if you have carried out a search with due diligence. If the Land Registry doesn’t have that information then who are you to say?!

  3. Comment by Mary Kernan posted on

    Will the register tell what your property is built on?

    • Replies to Mary Kernan>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Mary - if you mean what the land/soil consists of then no

  4. Comment by Karen Abbott Raphu posted on

    My mother has just passed away,
    She told me her first home as a small child was Tyler Treet Huts. Can anyone tell me more please?

  5. Comment by Billy posted on

    When was my house made

    • Replies to Billy>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Billy - have a read of the blog article and carry out any appropriate research from there

  6. Comment by Marguerite Comber posted on

    Thanks for such a helpful blog M.

  7. Comment by B b posted on

    What was on land my house was built on before houses

    • Replies to B b>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      B b - you will need to research old maps with Ordnance Survey to see what was there before the house or do some local research as appropriate

  8. Comment by Jon Burtwee posted on

    How old is the land used to build my house on, is it older than my garden?

    • Replies to Jon Burtwee>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Jon - it's difficult to answer this as land ownership has existed for hundreds of years and tracing deeds from historical times is often not possible. Most house plots. e.g. including the house land and garden were originally part of a larger estate or manor. The current edition of the register may reference deeds which relate to when that estate was sold off (in whole or part) into house plots, but often the register is silent on these matters.

      This blog also sets some options for tracing the ownership of an older house which may also give some information/clues as the ownership of the land itself.

  9. Comment by Mr. C. posted on

    I need advice on fence ownership. The boundary fence on one side at the front of my property was originally shared when the properties were built back in 1976’ish. I have written proof that in 1998 the owners of the neighbouring property built a new fence there. Consequent owners of the property have maintained it. The latest owner who moved in around 2010 has always denied responsibility for maintaining the fence. They eventually replaced some fence panels after I explained about the history.
    The last year or so the fence has become very dilapidated and finally one panel was all but destroyed in a storm in January. After months of not being safe to park my car on my drive safely the dispute about ownership of the fence has resurfaced. I have said to my neighbour that I will deal with the fence and she has agreed.
    Can someone advise me what is the least costly way of documenting my ownership of the fence before I spend a lot of money bringing it up to a good standard?

  10. Comment by Mr. C. posted on

    Thank you AdamH.

  11. Comment by Ray posted on

    hi will the Title tell me what company built the house

    • Replies to Ray>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Ray - if the register refers to the plot sale and it's Conveyance/Transfer then yes.

  12. Comment by Sam Foster posted on

    my house was built in 19th centry

  13. Comment by Jack T R posted on

    I recently decided to do landscaping in my back yard. The house is pretty old I think because it’s made of huge stone the walls are 2ft thick. Any way while I was excavating I descovered what I believe is a human skeleton. Since then I have excavated more of the garden in order to create the levels I require. However I have uncovered another 3 skeleton that also look like human remains. Is there a way to find out if the house was built on a grave yard ? Thanks

    • Replies to Jack T R>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Jack - local historical research may help or contacting Ordnance Survey. But I'd suggest contacting the police to advise before excavating further

    • Replies to Jack T R>

      Comment by Anne Burgoyne posted on

      Any body parts found have to be reported to police you should have stopped digging when you saw the 1st one they will investigate the grave sites and be able to see if they are historical and not more recent ones not doing this you are breaking the law it may help in your question

  14. Comment by Andrew Hardy posted on

    My insurance company told me that I had to know the year of build for my contents insurance. They said it may impact the outcome of a claim if I did not provide this.

    They said the landlord should know from the deeds. He did not. I purchased a title register as you suggest but the clues you suggest may be on that are not present.

    Do you happen to know if there insurance company are right to demand this with consequences and to say it's easy to find?

    • Replies to Andrew Hardy>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Andrew - Insurance Companies set their own parameters re what helps them decide on level of insurance and the age of a building (just like the age of a person for lid insurance) will invariably have some bearing in my experience. Whether it's 'easy' to identify the age is quite subjective as there are many ways of trying to estimate the age as explained in the article.
      The landlord and deeds are only two options. Have you tried the local authority or Ordnance Survey historical maps for example

  15. Comment by Brigita Keene posted on

    We just bought this amazing home that was built to my knowledge back in 1902 my understanding is that back in the day there used tho be a ballroom upstairs. The home is very much in its original state very detailed from inside and out down to the barn that was built before the home. I've been trying to find some history on this home. We are trying to keep it original as possible. Any help would be much appreciated.

    • Replies to Brigita Keene>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Brigita =as the article explains we do not hold historical details re buildings. And much of what we hold relates to the legal ownership from the date it was first registered with us, which will be much later than 1902. I would suggest that you focus your enquiries 'locally' with neighbours, residents of a certain age and any local historical societies or social media groups

  16. Comment by V Allen posted on

    Why can't I find the property bought in 2014 on land registry? I thought my solicitor should have registered it.

    • Replies to V Allen>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      V Allen - either it has not been registered or the details being searched do not match the registered details. What is the postal address you are searching for please?

  17. Comment by Maria Hill posted on

    I need to know whether a bungalow I am intending to buy is brick built or timber framed. Would someone be able to tell me where I can find this information out please?

    • Replies to Maria Hill>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Maria - the seller or local authority if they still have the planning application

  18. Comment by Jon Arden posted on

    I am buying a house. I have an official copy of register of title. On the 'Charges Register' section it quotes a Conveyance dated 26th November 1898, which contains a Covenant.
    For insurance purposes, can I assume that this is therefore the age of the house?

    • Replies to Jon Arden>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Jon - not really. Much may depend on whether it was of the land/property and other land for example and what does it refer to. If it refers to specific covenants often associated with individual plot sales the that may assist.

  19. Comment by Gordon Larsen posted on

    Having lost my original records, I’m trying to establish the dates when I bought and sold two separate properties in Berkshire. However, on-line searches I’ve checked so far don’t seem to go back far enough, and search results typically seem to start from around 2000, My ownership dates from the 1980’s.

    Could you please suggest where I could obtain this info ? Gordon

  20. Comment by Lee T posted on

    My father has been trying to find out the name of his house (built in the '30s in Newcastle upon Tyne) since he moved there in '95. The elderly gentleman over the road knows the names of the 3 surrounding houses, but not my father's. Is there any way I can find out this information?


    • Replies to Lee T>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Lee - As mentioned in the blog, are records are centered around land ownership, rather than the buildings on it. Given the information your seeking is from the '30s, you'll need to check any of the conveyancing deeds from that time, for example, if there is was a first sale of the property by the developer.

      We return most conveyancing deeds when the property is first registered with us. It is possible, but unlikely, that we have retained a copy deed from that time. You need to check the register position first, to see if there is anything available - there's a link in the blog.

      The other resources mentioned in the blog may also be of assistance.

  21. Comment by Gordon Larsen posted on

    AdamH - many thanks for your rapid response - I will try this link and see if they can help. Kind regards, Gordon

  22. Comment by John Piller posted on

    Hi, how do I go about searching early census on a property I have just purchased? I am trying to find out its age and history.
    'Addresses, houses and other buildings in the census'
    Many thanks

  23. Comment by Sharon posted on

    how can I find out the "purchase " history of a house circa 1985. I was a child then so didn't know who bought it.

  24. Comment by Susan Swiderski posted on

    Is the date of an indenture between several parties an indication of the date a property was built?

    • Replies to Susan Swiderski>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Susan - it could be if for example one of the parties was the builder

      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Susan Swiderski posted on

        Thank you Adam

  25. Comment by M posted on

    Hi, I am planning to buy a property and I would like to know if there's anywhere where I could find out if a new building is going to be built in front of that place. Anyone can help me?

    • Replies to M>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      M - you would need to contact and carry out a search with the relevant local authority

  26. Comment by Lisa Clements posted on

    I'm looking into the history of my house which I believe was built in or around 1897. However, I also believe that the number of the house actually changed at some point but have no idea what it was. How can I find out please?

    • Replies to Lisa Clements>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Lisa - local research and perhaps the local census or local authority can assist with regards any renumbering records

  27. Comment by David Rew posted on

    Dear HM Registry Team

    Over the past decade, we have been developing a radical, agile and iterative approach to interactive data visualisation at University Hospital Southampton, using stacked parallel timelines and iconography to link to documents and reports.

    This allows us to display the entire clinical history of ach and every patient in our care on a single screen. The system is now live at UHS for all authorised users to review some 2.5M patient records and hundreds of millions of documents.


    We recognise that the concept could be as readily applied to creating a great tool to display and interact with the entire history of any property for which information exists or can be added in future.

    Very happy to explore further if you (or anyone else with a suitable user case) would like to get in touch via the email address supplied.

  28. Comment by Adam posted on

    I live in a house of non standard concrete construction. Is there a way I can find out what type of concrete construction. E.g. Wimpey No Fines or Laing Easy Form? It is critical for me to know so that I can refinance my house. Many thanks

    • Replies to Adam>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Adam - not through us I'm afraid as such details are not part of the land register. I would suggest sourcing a structural or quantity surveyor for assistance

      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Adam posted on

        Thank you for your quick reply. In case anyone else is in the same position I found my local council had a record. Possibly because my property was ex local authority. Many thanks once more.

  29. Comment by J Jones posted on

    Through our local historical archives I have found the original deeds of our house dating back to a 99 year lease in 1868 which defined 4 houses to be built on the land.
    The archives hold the original lease, the land certificate documents with numbers and dated April 1901 and further legal documents dealing with the lease and subsequent wills. These documents are complete up to 1932. We also have our current land registry documents which only register our present ownership.
    Can I find more about the land certificate of 1901? All 4 houses had the same land certificate number does this mean they were built at the same time time.
    Thank you

    • Replies to J Jones>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      J Jones - registration did not always occur when a building was erected on the land. In most cases registration would occur on sale/purchase when the date was after the compulsory registration date for a specific area. See section 8 of our PG 1 for more details
      If the property was registered as far back as 1901 whilst we should have a paper record of the application form used and list of documents submitted there would be little or no other detail. If you wish to enquire further then I would suggest using our online contact form to submit the specific details

  30. Comment by J Jones posted on

    Thank you Adam for your very prompt and helpful response. Does the same land certificate number for 4 houses mean that they were built together. They are a continuous terrace.?
    The houses are throughout the period 1868-1932 described as an entity.

    • Replies to J Jones>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      J Jones - no as registration may not have been at the same time as any sale/registration. Building a house and registering are rarely linked other than with developments completed in the late 20th century and now

  31. Comment by Doris posted on

    I was told that if the house has the original toilet, the date was stamped under the toilet tank lid to find out when the house was built.

  32. Comment by Robin Smith posted on

    I'm trying to find out the construction method of a house of non standard construction, can anyone point me in the right direction?

    • Replies to Robin Smith>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Robin - speak to a local surveyor/builder

  33. Comment by .. posted on

    Came across this page and just wanted to say that well done Adam H you are a very patient person to deal with all these individual comments (that some of which just required proper reading of the article).

  34. Comment by Andrew Baillie posted on

    I am a professional genealogist.

    A good way to age a property, particularly if it is under 150 years old, it to visit your local family history center and ask to view the electoral registers.

    These history centers are often in local libraries, sometimes in bigger offices. They are always available, and free to research.

    Your property will appear on the electoral registers either the year it was built providing it was built before October, or the following year if it was built after October.

    These registers are provided on a year by year basis, and interestingly will offer the occupants names too, allowing full history detail.

    If anyone needs guidance, just reply to this comment!

    • Replies to Andrew Baillie>

      Comment by Claire posted on

      Hi Andrew, for council tax appealing purposes, would you have any idea how to source the number of bedrooms that a property has please?

      • Replies to Claire>

        Comment by AdamH posted on

        Claire - we don’t register the number of bedrooms so you’d need to check with owner, local authority and/or third party websites like zooplankton to see what information they have

  35. Comment by Jack Forshaw posted on

    How do I find out when a house was built and will an insurance company accept a reasonable guess?

    • Replies to Jack Forshaw>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Jack - the article advises on how to try. You’d need to ask an insurer/broker if they’d accept a reasonable guess

  36. Comment by Claire posted on

    Are you serious...'Flag down a local historian'!! Quoted from this official website source!
    I am in the process of disputing our council tax banding fee and all I have done is hit brick walls when I am attempting to meet your appeal criteria regarding finding like-for-like properties in my area!! All I need is to know when the comparison properties were built and how many bedrooms they hold but this is near-on impossible.
    Then, to read your unhelpful quip just frustrated me further.
    Any advice on where to source the information that you require would be very much appreciated...anyone would think that you WANT to make it hard for us to appeal our council tax banding?!?

    • Replies to Claire>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Clairs - I’m sorry if the article frustrates you but it’s not a quip. Houses are built at different times and for very different reasons sometimes. Locals often take an interest and historians may too but not for every house or property so only ever an option.
      We don’t deal with council tax so it’s not our appeal process. We register land so won’t always know when a house was built as it may have gone up many years before the land was registered. So the article is merely trying to signpost the fact that the land register might not tell you how old a house is but here’s some options for you. Just trying to be helpful but do appreciate how that may not always work for some readers

      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Geoff Hartnell posted on

        Re Claire 8 June 2020

        We're in the same situation trying to appeal a council tax rating
        Our house was built around 1928, but trying to find several properties within our local area of the same age is proving virtually impossible

        Claire, did you make any progress, or Adam can you suggest anything else

        We are signed up to Ancestry and FindMyPast, but trying to search the 1939 Census means looking at each individual record, once you've narrowed it down to an area - surely there has to be a better way

        And because of lockdown, you can't just go and look in your local library or wherever the records are held

        Any suggestions gratefully received

  37. Comment by PaulJ posted on

    Sorry but this website has been absolutely no help at all.

  38. Comment by Adam Is a Hero posted on

    Dear AdamH

    I've just read through some of the comments you've had to respond to since 2018.

    You are my hero.

    • Replies to Adam Is a Hero>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Your comment is much appreciated, thank you.

  39. Comment by Richard Farrow posted on

    Hi, I am trying to get historical copies of the register and title plans for a ruined building that was registered in 1937. I applied for a search to get the title numbers that have been sent to me. I now need to get copies of these using form HC1 but it requires me to fill in the exact dates of the register and plans which I do not have. It says that without this the application will be rejected. The dates were not given on the search results form, only the title numbers. How can I find the dates?
    Also the results form listed five different title numbers. Would that be five different buildings like the family house, gardener's cottage, stables, etc. or something else? Thank you.

    • Replies to Richard Farrow>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Richard - you’ll need to contact us with the specific details and what information you want.
      And registered titles are based on land, rather than buildings, and the extents registered each time.

      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Richard Farrow posted on

        Thank you, Adam for your quick response. You are doing a great job here.

  40. Comment by SallyG posted on

    I am trying to research my property, I know it was built in 1927, but I am looking for purpose, locals have researched it back to early 1950s as a garage so I am looking at the beginning to then? How do I go about this, as land registry is confusing me as to what I need to request.

    • Replies to SallyG>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      SallyG - the registered details start with the register. So what does the register refer to re dated deeds for example. Was it registered as early as that? We don’t register purpose so it might be worth your looking at old OS maps to see how the land/buildings are shown also
      Happy to try and offer a registered info steer if you give me the title number?

  41. Comment by Jenny posted on

    I've got the land registry, which section indicate the age of the property.

    • Replies to Jenny>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Jenny - A or C registers IF there are any clues. The article explains how a register MAY help

  42. Comment by mike james posted on

    Hi Adam,
    Great to see a gov. blog with a human contact, so many official sites hide behind FAQ's, endless menu's, AI chatbots, etc etc.


    • Replies to mike james>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Mike - you are very kind. We are all human and need to try and help each other if and when we can.

  43. Comment by Hal posted on

    My property has a right of access through the back garden (end terrace) to the adjoining two properties.
    Is there any way to dissolve said right of access without the agreement of one of the property owners, so two for the removal of the access and one against?

    • Replies to Hal>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Hal - very unlikely but it’s legal advice you need here. Our PG 62 explains how easements (rights) are granted/registered and also how the6 can be released/extinguished/abandoned. Creation and being ‘dissolved’ really depend on all parties being 8nvolved and 8n agreemen5

  44. Comment by brett williams posted on

    Has anyone heard of Reen Cottage? My mother states she lived there in the early 1930' did not have a proper address, my mother said it was off LLiswarry Road. And what is Liswerry Pill Reen? Thank you.
    Brett Williams
    St. Catharines, Ontario

    • Replies to brett williams>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Brett - this is a blog rather than a forum so you won’t get too many people reading or commenting on your post. I’d suggest researching where she grew up and trying local social media groups

  45. Comment by brett williams posted on

    Thank you.. I found a lead in a fellow ,Len Jones wrote an article about the same location my mother grew up in.. 10 years later.I'm following that up.. and again thank you for your reply.

  46. Comment by Nazmah posted on

    Hi I am thinking to buy a dilapidated former scouts hall with the land surrounding it. It says that the land registered as a historical land. Is it possible for me to build it into a residential?if it yes will there be any conditions?

    • Replies to Nazmah>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Nazmah - we don’t register land as ‘historical’ so best to ask whoever has designated it as such what restrictions apply