https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2018/02/05/search-owner-unregistered-land/

Searching for the owner of unregistered land

Overgrown land; is it registered?

One question we're often asked is "Who owns that piece of land?".

We have over 25 million registered titles (records of land and property ownership) in England or Wales, so we can usually give you the answer. If you have the address, postcode, or title number of a property, you can search HM Land Registry records for £3.

But what about the bits which aren't registered? How do you go about trying to find out who owns these?

Well, the simple answer is that it will often come down to your own detective work, where the land or property is located in the country, and sometimes luck!

So, if you've checked whether the land or property is registered with us and found it isn't registered, what can you do next?

Get information about unregistered land

It's probably best to start your detective work in the surrounding area and make enquiries. You could:

  • ask neighbours or adjoining landowners if they know who the owner(s) might be;
  • ask local residents if they have any ideas about who might own it, as they may have lived in the area for a number of years and have ‘local knowledge’;
  • ask in the local pub, post office or shop;
  • check adjoining registered properties for clues, they may refer to a deed or document which affected not only that registered title but also ‘other land’. The other land may have included the unregistered part and the deed/document will refer to the parties to the deed, which may give a clue as to the owner on a specific date;
  • search county or local authority records for clues – Yorkshire and Middlesex have their own deeds registries (to make a search you need to know the name of previous or current owners), while other counties have County Records Offices;
  • check with the local authority to see if any planning applications have been submitted over the years. By law, applicants currently have to sign either a Certificate A to say they are the owner or Certificate B where they say they have served notice on the owner who they have to name; and
  • check your local electoral register.

Online forums such as Money Saving Expert and Garden Law sometimes suggest ‘doing something’ to the property or the land, such as putting up a sign. Before doing this, I'd advise that you check with a solicitor whether your actions would break any laws.

About unregistered land

Over 85% of land and property in England and Wales is now registered with us. Much of the land owned by the Crown, the aristocracy, and the Church has not been registered, because it has never been sold, which is one of the main triggers for compulsory registration.

Some people think that unregistered land isn’t owned by anyone or refer to it as ‘no man’s land’. But this isn't right. In England and Wales, all land is owned by somebody, even if the legal owner can’t be identified. For example, if a person dies without a Will or blood relatives, their land or property can pass to the crown by law (referred to as Bona Vacantia).

HM Land Registry is aiming to achieve comprehensive registration by 2030. If you want to register your own property, there is currently a 25% discount for voluntary first registrations.

117 comments

  1. Comment by David Williams posted on

    A good starting point might be the 1910 Finance Act records:
    http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/valuation-office-survey-land-value-ownership-1910-1915/

    This is especially useful if you can use the information in conjunction with the Yorkshire and Middlesex deeds registries.

    Reply
    • Replies to David Williams>

      Comment by Nick Arculus posted on

      In the Isle of Man we start with the 1867 Woods Atlas, a gazetteer of all land owners at that date (for Tax purposes). It is similar to the "England and Wales (Exclusive of the Metropolis) Return of Owners of Land 1873" which recorded all owners of more than 1 acres in E&W.

      Reply
  2. Comment by Mel Catchpole posted on

    Hi there..

    I find the above very informative, BUT, What is the position with un-adopted no through roads that searches have been made on and no owner found. can the houses in the road make a claim for ownership of the land if it has been maintaining it for a period of years??

    Reply
    • Replies to Mel Catchpole>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Mel - land is land so an unadopted road will still have a legal owner. Registering a claim of ownership of unregistered land is covered by our Practice Guide 5 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-1-unregistered-land-and-2-registered-land
      If you or you and your neighbours were looking at claiming the land then I would strongly recommend seeking legal advice

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Lily H posted on

        Adam - we are in a similar position to Mel and I have read the guidelines from your link but wanted to clarify whether a squatter needed to have 'exclusive' use of the land to apply to claim possession of it?
        We live along a private unadopted lane and our Land Registry title shows that our property owns a large section of the lane but the first section from the highway to our section does not appear to be registered to anyone as I have checked the Land Registry titles of the other two properties that bounder the lane. We have exclusively maintained and resurfaced the whole lane for the past 14 years but have now encountered issues with a tenant parking along the 'unregistered' section in a building that does not even front onto this lane - he is blocking access to emergency vehicles to our property and the others. We would like to formally be registered as proprietors of this section of lane so that we can install some posts or something similar. Thanks

        Reply
        • Replies to Lily H>

          Comment by AdamH posted on

          lily H - our PGs 4 and 5 explain the 'essentials' as we see them and will help here. https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides
          The law is very complex so it is important to get legal advice before taking any action whether to claim the land or a right or do works etc

          Reply
          • Replies to AdamH>

            Comment by Lily H posted on

            Thank you AdamH - we will seek legal advice but just had a quick glance over your 'essentials' link and hopefully we qualify to apply to more simply alter the title with an AP1 as our property dates back to 1872 and is by far the oldest along the lane in question - plus we still have the remnants of the wall for the original stable block in our curtilage which the lane would have originally serviced. Fingers crossed - thanks for your help. Sam

  3. Comment by Terry posted on

    So if I wants to find all the Unregistered land there must be a way of finding it via the LR office as the opposite of the registered land...but is CROWN LAND. Also registered ?

    Reply
    • Replies to Terry>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Terry - there is no central record of unregistered land. Some Crown land will be registered but not all of it.

      Reply
  4. Comment by Daniel posted on

    Please can someone outline whose responsibility it is to maintain over grown trees on a river bank adjacent to my leasehold property. Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    • Replies to Daniel>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Daniel - I suspect you would start with the landowner and the National Rivers Authority to see if they will take responsibility. Legal advice may be needed to establish what rights yyou have and what responsibilities the landowner or NRA may have also

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Andrew Rudge posted on

        Adam.
        The NRA was disbanded in 1996 and it's responsibilities assumed by the Environment Agency.

        Reply
    • Replies to Daniel>

      Comment by Andrew Rudge posted on

      Daniel.
      I also live along a watercourse, and the Environment Agency have made it very clear that i have riparian responsibilities, that means it is my responsibility that the banks are maintained, damaged trees are maintained and the watercourse kept free of debris and obstructions.
      So, its the landowners responsibility.

      Reply
  5. Comment by rupert Welchman posted on

    Hi there, thanks for adding all this useful information.
    I am trying to find the correct procedure to register a tiny parcel of land. This triangle of no more than 2ft at its deepest tapering to a point and 10ft long is wedged between our field (registered) and the road. Why it is not included within our boundaries of the field is a mystery. However, we have been advised that once we have satisfied ourselves that it isn't registered to anyone else, we should register it ourselves. I have indeed checked that it is unregistered. So on to the next step. Would you agree with this logic. And how would I now go about registered our ownership?
    Thanks

    Reply
  6. Comment by Jamie Jenkins posted on

    Hi, recently I contacted you hoping that you could find out who owned the lane at the rear of our terraced street which serves about 45houses, some houses but not all have garages which are in daily use. It seems that the land is unregistered and your research revealed no owners. But I have a feeling that it could be owned by the National Coal Board, as many years ago I can remember them building a retaining wall at the boundary to their coal plant, but they also cleaned and tidied up the lane in question. If I contacted them are they bound to tell me if they own it, and if so are they responsible for the repair and upkeep of the lane.

    Reply
    • Replies to Jamie Jenkins>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Jamie - We essentially have an administrative role in registering ownership and other interests in land and so cannot advise as to whether they would be under an obligation to answer your enquiry and also whether they are under an obligation for the lane's repair and upkeep.

      You may want to consider getting independent legal advice from Citizen's Advice or from a legal professional such as a solicitor.

      Reply
  7. Comment by Fiona Mack posted on

    Hello, my query is a public footpath that runs along outside the boundary wall of my property. Somebody told my husband years ago that our territory extends to 5 feet outside our wall (as yet I have no proof) and therefore partly across the footpath. Beyond the footpath and forming a northern boundary is the M40 and a strip of land belonging to Highways for England. I believe there may be an unregistered strip between us and HfE. How can I find out if this is so? I am interested because I would like to extend our drivelway along the route of the path to have legal traffic access to the far end of our land, which is further along the footpath. I have no wish to restrict use to the footpath in any way. Indeed, our present driveway is and has been part of said footpath for many years.

    Reply
    • Replies to Fiona Mack>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Fiona - If you have not already done so, you can check the title plan for your property, if registered. But bear in mind that it will only show the general position of your boundaries as the exact position of legal boundaries is left undefined.

      It will be difficult to get exact confirmation on the extent of unregistered land as, for example, we wouldn't have any information on this. You could try checking as to the general position regarding the titles that are registered - https://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registryhttps://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry .

      Select the Map enquiry option and use a road or village/town to search, and once you get a map of the area, change the options at the top of the map from Ordnance Survey Map to Birds Eye View. This should enable you to search the land you are interested in more clearly.

      Once you have identified the land concerned, zoom in on the map until you are able to use the 'Find properties' button on bottom left corner of the map. Click on the area that you are interested, which if the land is registered with us, will then list details of land / property information available.

      Other possible sources of information on unregistered land include:
      • National Archives – http://www.nationalarchives.gov.ukhttp://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk,
      • County record offices, and
      • Local libraries.

      I hope this of some assistance to you.

      Reply
  8. Comment by Paula Byrne posted on

    Our 8 terraced houses' gardens and another set of 6 terraced houses' gardens are separated by a narrow strip of land with very high conifers and a pathway - shown on my deeds running from one end to the other - with access via a locked gate at the end into a garage area. We've always understood that strip was "no man's land" retained by council/utilities for access. The other houses have placed sheds etc on the strip with gates from their back gardens, and some have extended their gardens and fenced off the pathway - thus assuming ownership. Our side maintain the conifers to allow light into our gardens. I've done lots of research over the years but still cannot find out the "owner" of this strip. Can you advise? Thank you

    Reply
    • Replies to Paula Byrne>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Paula - the advise is in the blog article so I assume it is unregistered and therefore the legal ownership is not known.

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Paula Byrne posted on

        Thank you. I suppose my question should have been "is it, therefore" not legally owned and can be claimed by anyone"?

        Reply
        • Replies to Paula Byrne>

          Comment by AdamH posted on

          Paula - all land is owned but not all land is registered. Anyone can claim land but the law is a complex one and the registration requirements will vary a little depending on whether the land is registered or not and/or when the claim started. Our PGs 4 and 5 explain some of this in more detail https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides

          Reply
  9. Comment by Paula Byrne posted on

  10. Comment by Debbie posted on

    So I’m confused all land is owned but not all land is registered, I know where my boundaries are and then there’s a 2 metre gap running along the length of our houses, then another estate was built with a fence running parallel to our boundary,and someone is trying to extend their garden out sideways up to our boundary, I’ve told them I’m not happy with what they’re doing and they said they’ve spoken to their solicitor and he reassures them it’s theirs to do what they want with it, how can I find out who owns that piece of land? Would it be owned by the local council? Would they be able to help me find out?

    Reply
    • Replies to Debbie>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Debbie - if the Council are not the landowner/neighbour then they would not be involved or able to help. You would need to consider the registered details and any available information to try and establish where the legal boundary lies. I would start with checking the neighbour's registered title to see what information that provides. And have a read of this article as well https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2018/02/27/drawing-the-line-on-boundaries/

      Reply
  11. Comment by john posted on

    A local sports club recently applied for planning permission on their field, it was rejected on that they did not own the land, it was bequeathed many years ago to the village with a covenant denying any building, however the solicitors who were the trustees now do not exist and the club has claimed 1st registration proprietorship as the deed and covenant cannot be found is there any period of time before 100% ownership to allow an objections to be allowed, all the elderly people in the village remember it being bequeathed but the last member of the donor family is now unfortnately senile.

    Reply
    • Replies to john>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      John - it's legal advice you relaly need here to ascertain what rights you/other may have to challenge or object to any application to register the title. Any application to claim ownership and title will be considered initially on the evidence submitted by the applicant. Our Practice Guide 5 explains how such an application is made and the type of evidence required. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adverse-possession-of-1-unregistered-land-and-2-registered-land
      If that evidence is considered sufficient we will then survey the site and may notify adjoining landowners depending on the circumstances. We do not contact a 'community' for example.
      If that part of the proces sis also passed then possessory title may be granted which in turn may be updgraed some 12 years later.
      The key, in my view here would be what are your grounds for objection? If it is based on a counter claim then your legal advice should extend to considering looking to register the title yourselves.
      Our Practice Guide 37 explains how we deal with objections and disputes https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/objections-and-disputes-a-guide-to-land-registry-practice-and-procedures

      Reply
  12. Comment by jackie owen posted on

    Who is responsible for a shop frontage? The council have confirmed it is not part of the adopted highway and the shop owner has produced a copy of the title showing their boundary to be at the building. The area outside of the shop is in disrepair and needs repairing before somebody injures themself!

    Reply
    • Replies to jackie owen>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Jackie - you'll need to seek legal advice/assistance to ascertain who is responsible. Whilst we can provide any registered details it is an understanding of the law that will be needed to ascertain where responsibility for upkeep lies

      Reply
  13. Comment by john posted on

    How long after 1st title registration on a piece of unknown ownership land does the new title holder have to build on the land ? or apply for planning permission.

    Reply
    • Replies to john>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      John - I'm not aware of any requirement that states you have to build on land you have claimed. Claimed land does not have to then be built upon. If you have a specific scenario then I would recommend seeking legal advice to unravel he complexities of the law around such claims

      Reply
  14. Comment by Joy Mortiboys posted on

    There is a drive between 2 houses from Newdigate Road Bedworth CV12 8EF through to Arbury Avenue CV12. This is in desperate need of some maintenance but on searching for ownership I have found that this has reverted to Crown Land. In this case who is it that is responsible for the upkeep of such land.

    Reply
    • Replies to Joy Mortiboys>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Joy - if it is crown land then I would suggest contacting the Treasury Solicitor for clarification re any responsibilities for it

      Reply
  15. Comment by Val Kane posted on

    My question is how can I find out who owns a strip of paved land next to a house ? This strip is just over a cars width and could provide access to a piece of land which has a building application applied for. The land has a non build upon covenant attached. So we are hoping that the strip of land in question will help to prevent the access . We are hoping to get a solicitor involved but are at present waiting to find out if they can take on the case as it through our house insurance legal cover.

    Reply
  16. Comment by Tipper Tom posted on

    Ok, so when I look at the land registry map for my property, and compare it to the OS map that is used to highlight in the deeds, my garden appears to be approximately 4m longer on the land registry, now behind the property is a patch of "no mans land" untamed woodland and that's about 50m.
    How do I go about getting this additional land included in my deeds so I can legally move my fence back?

    Reply
    • Replies to Tipper Tom>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Tipper Tom - the two plans are for very different purposes. The OS plan shows the surveyed features only. It does not denote the legal ownership or registered extent as that is what the title plan does.
      If the land you are interested in is outside your title I would suggest checking if it is registered. All land is owned but not all land is registered and what you can or cannot do legally can be affected by whether it is registered or not. For example if you are looking to move your fence and claim the land our PGs 4 and 5 explain the registration requirements. https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides
      The law re such claims is a complex one so if that is your intention please do get legal advice

      Reply
  17. Comment by Steve posted on

    I have recently received a reply after submitting a search in index map request. The first part under the result heading gives 2 freehold numbers , registered estate ir caution ,then goes onto say no other registered estate ,caution against first application for registration or application for a caution against first registration is shown on the index map in relation to this property. Does this mean the land is not registered ?

    The reason for this application was regarding a strip of land behind my property that I've used as a veg patch for 15 years. I wanted to know whether I could claim or whether there is a current owner.

    Reply
    • Replies to Steve>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Steve - if the result refers to title number(s) then you would need to check each to see what they refer to and what interest(s) they protect. You can search online using the title number(s) under Detailed enquiry https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-property-and-land
      If they are caution titles then the land is unregistered but the cautioner has registered an interest in that land

      Reply
  18. Comment by Steve posted on

    Thanks for replying , there is no title number just 2 freehold numbers. Due tomorrow being land between my property and woodland there is no postcode .

    Reply
    • Replies to Steve>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Steve - freehold is the tenure and if registered would have a title number. I read your post as wanting to know what each title referred to - if so then use the Detailed enquiry option (not Quick or Map enquiry) and search using the title numbers on your SIM result to confirm the registered details as appropriate. The register confirms the ownership of the title searched whilst the title plan will show the registered extent

      Reply
  19. Comment by Steven posted on

    Thank you, this is very strange , I have completed searches and both have come back with the local council as ownership. Some years ago we went to them asking who owned it and they said it wasn't theirs.

    Reply
  20. Comment by Alan Burrows posted on

    The entire length of my back garden runs alongside a passage. The passage is L shaped with only one entrance/exit point, the Local Council say they do not own the passage and it is overgrown and some people use the area as a tip. I have a gate that I use so that on occasion I can take a short cut using the passageway or maintain the fence to my property. I do have my title deeds which clearly show the passage on the plans, also there is a reference to the vendor (this is in 1935)) "When required by Vendors (if and so far as not then done) to pay half expense of forming sd passage 12ft wide on northerly side of land thrby assured adjg and coextensive with boundary throf and also (if and so far as afsd) entire expense of paving with good paving stones or other material as mt be required by Vendors one half in width of sd passage adjgand coextensive as afsd". I take it this means that the Vendor or inheritors of the Vendor or the Crown now own this piece of land or am I completely wrong. My supplementary point is if there is an owner do my deeds indicate that this passageway should be paved or cindered (I may be pushing it here) to a standard by them. Obviously my Local Council are not interested my neighbour who has cut down a couple of trees and piled them up against my fence isn't and the other chap who piles up rubbish reducing the passage width by half isn't. So what should I do next to make any progress.

    Reply
    • Replies to Alan Burrows>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Alan - I assume the land is unregistered and the reference to the older deed is the way forward with regards trying to identify who the legal owner might be. As you already appreciate if they were the owner that ownership may have passed to their next of kin or the crown if none exist.
      Your deed states to what extent works have to be done, consented to and materials used - so it's either good paving stones or other material as agreed to by the Vendor etc.
      So it reads as if identifying the legal owner may be difficult and even if you did would they be traceable/willing to admit to it. If so it's really a question of what is it you wish to do. If that is to repair and maintain it then that may be something you can discuss and agree with the neighbours you mention, if they are willing to get involved of course.
      If you are looking for wider comment/advice then online forums such as Garden law can be useful resources re examples of similar scenarios which others have posted and commented upon. But it's really legal advice you need here to get specific advice on your own scenario and the rights of the owner (absent or otherwise)/neighbours for example

      Reply
  21. Comment by Pauline Salisbury posted on

    We have lived down the end of a lane for nearly 40 years. There are 6 other houses down the lane. Part of the lane is along the border of common land called Retired Common (Cornwall). We now know that two cautions have been registered by 2 unidentified co-owners (Both of whom we know). Commons Registry Officer has given us this information. These cautions have stopped us getting an indemnity insurance for the mortgage we want to take out to extend our home here. Can these cautions be lifted? Can we get right of way by prescription? Neither of these owners have objected to us or any of the other homeowners using the lane. One of the owners, used to live on the lane. We now suspect that these cautions are making all the properties here unmortgageable. I have left a query on the Land Registry site as well.

    Reply
  22. Comment by Alan Burrows posted on

    Thank you Adam. I do not know if the land is unregistered I just assumed because most of the neighbours I have spoke to have quoted "no man's land" which from reading the above I understand that this cannot be right. The Local Council have on a few occasions cleared the passage by the intervention of our local Councillor by working with the Restorative Justice Group. There is a highways sign at the entrance to the passage showing how wide it is ( a van could get part way along the passage). The Vendor was a large figure in the local community, what was a rural area had become a Mill town (North West - bit of a give away) and I have found that our local Heritage Library do have records relating to his family business from the 19th to late 20th century if I feel the urge to look. It might be best if I check to see if the land is registered, if that is the case what is the process?

    Reply
    • Replies to Alan Burrows>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Alan - I'm replying as Adam is currently unavailable. You may able to check if the land is registered online via our Find a Property service - https://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry.

      Select the Map enquiry option. Use a nearby road and town name to search, and once you get a map of the area, change the options at the top of the map from Ordnance Survey Map to Birds Eye View. This should enable you to search the land you are interested in more clearly.

      Once you have identified the land concerned, zoom in on the map until you are able to use the 'Find properties' button on bottom left corner of the map. Click on the area that you are interested, which if the land is registered with us, will then list details of land / property information available.

      Once you decide on the information you require you can click Purchase to get a copy of the title register for £3 giving the registered owner.

      It is possible that you may not be able to refine the online search enough to get a result just for land in question or there is no info showing for the land in which case it is likely to be not registered. In either case you may want to consider lodging a postal Search of the Index Map application with a suitable plan showing the extent of the land searched to get confirmation. We would then confirm whether or not the land is registered and if registered, provide the title number. Please see our guidance for more info - https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-property-and-land/search-the-index-map .

      Reply
  23. Comment by ElizaH posted on

    We live down a country lane that is part BOAT (byway open to all traffic) and then becomes a bridleway. The access to our home crosses the bridleway (which is also a route used regularly by many vehicles to a light industrial site). This therefore renders our access illegal. We understand that you can apply to the highway agency(?) for a change of use of the bridleway. Is there any way of doing this in the absence of any record of ownership of the bridleway?

    Reply
    • Replies to ElizaH>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      ElizaH - not something we deal with so I'd contact the Highways Agency and/or Local Authority for assistance

      Reply
  24. Comment by Lesley Davies posted on

    Hi, we own a terraced house in a row of four. A lease dated 1903 for a period of 800 years covered all four properties. In Jan 2003 before we purchased the property the freehold was purchased and we hold Title Absolute deeds. Our neighbours purchased their freehold in 2002 and also hold Title Absolute deeds BUT also hold Title good leasehold. Why would it be that we only have Title Absolute deeds please? What would we need to do to also hold Title good leasehold - would we need to establish the current owner of the lease and if so would their be a way of tracing this back through the title held by our neighbour as it relates to the same original lease? We are experiencing difficulties in selling the property because the Charges Register on our Title Absolute makes mention of this lease.

    Reply
    • Replies to Lesley Davies>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Lesley - I note that you have also contacted us using our online contact form and provide specific details. Our support team will consider your emails and respond as appropriate

      Reply
  25. Comment by David Round posted on

    Hi I am having a dispute with the highways agency vegetation is growing on our boundary we have no right of access to remove it and they are now refusing to remove the vegetation from the estates fence the vegetation is destroying the fence and subsequently there is Japansese knotweed there also they are now arguing because there is a 10mm gap between our fence and theirs they won’t do anything to remove the vegetation! Now they have warned me I will be trespassing if I attempt to remove the vegetation!! What can I do! Initially they also said they didn’t own the land then I asked for the original copy of the ownership and they suddenly changed their mind!!!! I feel I am being stiched up here!

    Reply
    • Replies to David Round>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      David - it's legal advice you need here. If you are looking for wider online comment or suggestions then online forums such as Garden Law can be useful resources but it is very much legal advice you need as to what rights you may have

      Reply
  26. Comment by Sue O posted on

    There is a strip of land opposite our house, which is in a terrace, where we and our neighbours keep our bins. This has been going on for at least 22 years without any problem until recently, when we have had letters from the Town council asking us to move them. The latest letter says that they have had complaints from neighbours saying that it makes the street look untidy, but we think it is one neighbour whose house has just gone up for sale, and also the reason for missed household waste bins not being emptied (which previous contractors never did). This is the third explanation for the letter. A neighbour queried the first letter with the council and they said to ignore the letter as it was aimed at one particular house, but could not single them out. When we received the second letter it mentioned that their contractor was unable to cut the grass and strim hedging, which was being carried out in behalf of the landowner. When asked who the landowner is they admitted they didn't know who it was, this strip of land hadn't been signed over to anybody, and couldn't do anything to make us move our bins. When I phoned regarding the latest letter and requested who the landowner is they said it was the developer still owned the land, and they have written to them asking if they can take it over. The name of the developer she gave me appears in the map, but in the deeds it gives another company's name. During the conversation I felt the person I was speaking with was making comments that did not ring true, e.g the number of bins out, and the contractor strimming, as it has been witnessed them doing what bits they want to do. A couple of us have tidied our little areas up. Please advise on our position.

    Reply
    • Replies to Sue O>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Sue - you mention <em>'The name of the developer she gave me appears in the map, but in the deeds it gives another company's name'</em> - I assume that means it is registered or you know that the land was retained by the developer after the houses were sold off.
      We can only provide the registered details so if there is an issue over who owns/maintains the land or whether you can place your bins there then it is legal advice you really need

      Reply
  27. Comment by Anna Smith posted on

    Our house is the penultimate property in a cul-de-sac and is reached via a small joint access way.
    On the far side of this, opposite my house, is a patch of shrubs and a cherry tree, approximately 2m square in area. If anything, the tree is closer to the end of the cul-de-sac, than to our property.
    In the past couple of years the cherry tree has bolted and is starting to overlap into the boundaries of properties in a different street.
    The neighbour at the end of the cul-de-sac has caused trouble by telling the others that it is our responsibility to maintain this patch of land and they are all now being downright rude to us.
    I have checked our Title Deeds and the land is not shown as being part of our property, so I’m not sure why the neighbours think it belongs to us?
    The Council has stated that the land is ‘privately owned’ and therefore is not it’s responsibility.
    Am I just being ignorant and should I be maintaining this land? I have got a quote for £140 to trim back the tree, but it’s a lot of money to spend on just placating a horrible bunch of people, especially as the land is not highlighted on our Title Deeds.
    Please can you advise me what to do?

    Reply
    • Replies to Anna Smith>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Anna - you are not being ignorant. If you are an adjoining landowner you may have rights to lop branches for example or to take action but I am not aware that those rights then make you responsible for maintaining the land

      Reply
  28. Comment by Louise posted on

    There is land in front of my house with a very large tree growing on it. The tree overhangs my wall. I have been told the land is owned by the crown and the tree has a protection order on it. Who would I contact about having the tree trimmed/cut as it is going to damage my wall if left to grow?

    Reply
    • Replies to Louise>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Louise - if there is a TPO against the tree then you should contact the local authority to confirm

      Reply
  29. Comment by Iain F posted on

    Hello! WE are hoping to buy a house with an unregistered no-through path next to it. The current owners have applied for adverse possession. Their initial application was turned down and they have appealed. If adverse possession is granted does anyone have a right to come along and contest it in years to come? Do we have the right to turn it into full possession later? Thank you for your help!

    Reply
    • Replies to Iain F>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Iain F - there is nothing to stop someone contesting it but very much something to discuss with your solicitor as the law around adverse possession is a complex one. It is not a law we can advise you re what your rights or that of someone else might be.
      If possessory title is granted then it can be upgraded at a later date - see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/upgrading-the-class-of-title

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Iain F posted on

        Thank you Adam, I really appreciate you responding.

        Reply
  30. Comment by Jacqui posted on

    Hi I wonder if you can advise. We are trying to buy a property that has a separate garden. The garden is just over a narrow lane in front of the house behind a stone wall. The garden came with the house when the current owners bought it 40+ years. Many years ago the local farmer gave the owners an additional piece of land to the front of the original and it was added to the title deeds. The current owners have now been using this land for nearly 40 years. However when the title plan was sent to us to sign we noticed that a strip of land that has a stream running through it between the original piece and the piece the farmer gave them was not included in the title plan. We queried this with our solicitor and she contacted the land registry and was told that the strip was not registered. Not sure how we proceed. Solicitors seem to be taking ages to come up with an answer and it is holding up the sale. Would be grateful for any advice.
    Thanks
    Jacqui

    Reply
    • Replies to Jacqui>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Jacqui - I'm sorry to hear of the difficulties that you are experiencing. The solicitors acting are best placed to consider how to deal with this. Where an owner is effectively not holding legal title to land that they claim to own, the legal and registration process to resolve this can be quite involved and sometimes there are unavoidable delays.

      Given the matter is holding up a sale, you may want to check with the solicitors acting that it has been requested that any application pending with us is prioritised / expedited. Each request is treated on its merits and solicitors can generally apply for this electronically via our business e-services.

      Reply
  31. Comment by Alan Harford posted on

    Hi there,
    I am in the process of purchasing a house. The searches have flagged up that there is an area of land which is used by the property but not registered to it. The area of land gives access to the properties courtyard garden through the rear, giving access and off-street parking.

    It's believed this land is not owned by the next door neighbour and the previous owner. We can't tell who amended this and if the property was sold like this to the previous owner as they are no longer alive.

    How can I find out who owns this land or where this area of land may or may not be registered.

    Any help would be great

    Reply
    • Replies to Alan Harford>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Alan - Hi. You mention searches - would these be the pre-completion searches submitted by conveyancers, such as solicitors? In which case they would best placed to make enquiries and advise how to proceed.

      If you wanted to make enquiries yourself, you may be able to get information online if the area of land is registered with us. Go onto our Find a Property page - https://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry and as your search relates to a piece of land, I would suggest you select the Map Enquiry option. Use a nearby road name to search, and once you get a map of the area, change the options at the top of the map from Ordnance Survey Map to Birds Eye View. This should enable you to search the land you are interested in more clearly.

      Once you have identified the land concerned, zoom in on the map until you are able to use the 'Find properties' button on bottom left corner of the map. Click on the area that you are interested, which if the land is registered with us, will then list details of land / property information available.

      Once you decide which one you require and click Purchase, you will then need to register yourself as a new user. You will require a valid email address and a password for this.
      Register yourself as a user and then follow the process for payment. Once the payment has gone through, the title register giving the registered owner that you have purchased will be available in PDF format for you view. You will need to save the document on your equipment if you wish to retain it for future reference.

      Otherwise you would need to make a postal application with a plan for a Search of the Index Map - https://www.gov.uk/get-information-about-property-and-land/search-the-index-map .

      If the property is not registered, we would not be able provide any information as to the ownership.

      Reply
  32. Comment by Helen posted on

    Hi - our solicitors are currently trying to sort out an issue on a part of a garden which appears to be unregistered but we have had in the family for 45 years (fenced and maintained) - the Land Registry have said they need to carry out a survey - I'm not sure exactly what this entails but as its holding up a sale could you tell me what it consists of, why it is required and how long it takes for this to be done as we are selling the house and we can't do anything until we have an answer of what the outcome is?

    Reply
    • Replies to Helen>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Hi. It appears that the application is on the basis of Adverse Possession, commonly referred to as 'squatter's rights'. I should mention as this point that the term ‘squatter’s rights’ conjures up a certain image, but for our purposes this is merely a way of applying (by adverse possession) for ownership of land based on occupation rather than title deeds. Applications for registration based on adverse possession are one of most complex types of applications that we deal with, requiring the consideration of senior staff and the process involves a number of stages.

      It is normal practice for us to ask Ordnance Survey to carry out an inspection of the area(s) which the applicants wished to register. This is required as we need to assess that the statements made in support of the application to demonstrate possession of the land give the complete picture. So therefore, we arrange for a surveyor to inspect the land and to see their report before we can assess the application further. It is difficult to put a timescale on this process but it does involve notifying the parties concerned, before the visit takes place.

      What it important is to ensure your solicitors contact us, if they have not already done so, to give details of the dependent transaction and ask that the application be expedited / prioritised. This will ensure that the application is progressed through each stage as quickly as possible.

      Please also be mindful that there may be there may unavoidable delays in processing the application. For example, we will normally need to give notice of the application to any person who, from the information available or from our local knowledge, may have an interest in the land. We then have to wait for the time period relating to the notices we have served to expire. We may also need to raise queries with the solicitors lodging the application and wait for their replies.

      I hope this information is of some assistance to you.

      Reply
      • Replies to ianflowers>

        Comment by Helen posted on

        Thanks Ian - more information in this than I'd been able to find out - one question I do have is if the land is unregistered will there be anyone to serve notice on? We did buy the side plot in 1973 and have a conveyance for this (deed etc) and we put a fence where we were told after the application went through - unfortunately when we've come to sell there is a wedge which Land Registry inform us is unregistered and we've signed a statutory declaration - agreed wording with Land Registry/solicitors which I presume will be used alongside the survey? The fence has always been in the same position for 45 years and there are no properties which border the land.

        Reply
        • Replies to Helen>

          Comment by ianflowers posted on

          You're welcome. As mentioned, the way these types of application are considered can be quite complex, but generally speaking, the statutory declaration is the basis of the application and then a survey is generally required to assess the position on the ground to ensure that the statutory declaration gives the full picture. Where notice is served this is usually on adjoining or adjacent owners who may have interest. In the circumstances you describe, it seems unlikely we will need to serve notice, but the decision is made at the time the application is considered and processed so I am unable to give any confirmation or guarantee at this time.

          Reply
  33. Comment by ShaunR posted on

    Hello. We are having a problem with a piece of land to the front of our house. We bought the house in 2001 and our then Solicitors advised that the front yard (the land in question) wasn't registered and we should apply for adverse possession. They completed all of the necessary statutory declarations from neighbours saying it had been occupied by the previous owners for the necessary 12 years. 17 years on, looking to sell the house, we discovered that the Solicitors in question never actually registered the land (despite us having an invoice saying we paid for it to be done). This is now causing us serious delays in our sale as our buyers insist on having absolute title (which we could have applied for had the adverse possession been registered in 2001 as we have continued the occupation for 17 years). We are now being advised that the 'clock was never started' for claiming absolute title and the best we can get now is an application for just adverse possession. Is this right?

    Reply
    • Replies to ShaunR>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      ShaunR - that is correct in so far as any application now is very likely to result in a possessory title being awarded. It is possible for absolute title to be awarded but it would be very rare, normally only when your registered title surrounds the land being claimed for example

      Reply
  34. Comment by ShaunR posted on

    Thanks Adam....the annoying thing now is our buyers are a tad miffed at the time needed for/uncertainty around the process (12 weeks?!) and annoyance for us as we paid to have it registered for possessory title all those years ago. No surprise our original Solicitors went belly up...they couldn't renew their indemnity insurance!

    Reply
    • Replies to ShaunR>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      ShaunR - it's not a quick process as the details provided have to be checked to confirm that they are legally sufficient to support the claim; a site visit is then needed to check for ourselves what is being claimed' and we may need to notify others/make wider checks as appropriate. Whilst it can be done quicker than 12 weeks you need everything to align perfectly and it to all be in order. As you already appreciate if it had been done way back when then........but the only option now is to submit the application, supply the details of the confirmed purchase and ask us to expedite the process. If you don;t do that then our current backlog of work would mean you would add a further 7/8 weeks to that best case scenario as there would be a wait time between receipt and that initial consideration

      Reply
  35. Comment by MickyM posted on

    Hi!
    Is there a way to be alerted on change of property ownership? There is a derelict retail unit nearby; former owners in administration. We would like to be alerted when it is sold.

    I suppose we could repeatedly obtain a register copy, until it finally lists a new owner. But that would be tedious, haphazard, and expensive over time.

    Is there something like a 'caveat' that can entered at the Registry, which would warn when ownership change occurs? Other government registries - e.g. the Probate Office - already utilise the legal 'caveat' device. As, apparently they do in some overseas property registration authorities.

    Does the UK Land Registry offer a similar 'alert' facility, please? Or is there an alternative mechanism?

    Thank you for your attention!

    Reply
  36. Comment by Laura Petts posted on

    There is a piece of land between 2 terraces, our house attached to this piece of land.
    I have searched to find out the registered owner of this land - unfortunately it is unregistered.
    From my research I believe the land was probably owned by a coal company which has long since dissolved, the land was then passed on an estate company, this also dissolved a long time ago.
    Currently some people from the area will use the land occasionally as a walk way, however they do not maintain the area, and allow their dogs to foul there and not clean it up.
    I don't know what more we can do to try and locate the owners, what should our next step be?

    Reply
    • Replies to Laura Petts>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Laura - it reads as if you have established who the owner may have been so if it was a dissolved company then it can pass to the crown. Research the term 'bona vacantia' and get legal advice on what your options are. If you have a reason for trying to find the legal owner then discuss that with the legal adviser as well to see if other options exist

      Reply
  37. Comment by RobertA posted on

    A paved public footpath, with street lamps, runs along the boundary of my house, separating my house and my neighbours house from heath land. The heath belongs to the City of London but neither they nor the local council accept ownership of this path. The footpath is therefore likely to be unregistered land. How can I establish who is responsible for maintaining this footpath?

    Reply
    • Replies to RobertA>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      RobertA - I'd suggest following the advice in the blog article and see what local knowledge exists and who built the houses and presumably the footpath. As it's unregistered finding the legal owner is very much down to your own detective work

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by RobertA posted on

        The houses were built over 200 years ago and there is no information available as to who built them or whether the footpath was constructed at the same or a later time. There is no relevant local knowledge. I am happy to do some detective work but where do I start?

        Reply
        • Replies to RobertA>

          Comment by ianflowers posted on

          Difficult to say what may be the best place to start - possibly contact your local authority again as given there are street lamps, it would appear to indicate that the LA have, or have had, some involvement, albeit that they may not have information on the legal owner.

          Other sources are mentioned in the blog such as local and national record offices / archives and also possibly local libraries.

          Reply
  38. Comment by Sue posted on

    Hi. We have an alley at the back of our property with access via our back gate. It used to lead to allotments but in the 1960s a school was built on the allotment site. So the school fence is one side of the alley and our, and our neighbours, on the other. The school says they don't own the land. Neighbours who've lived here for 30 years plus say no one has owned the land. Us and our neighbours keep the bushes trimmed and nettles cut down as the alley gives us access to the field and woods beyond the school car park and building. The local council don't know who it belongs to either! Some neighbours have already taken the alley as theirs and extended their back gardens. Can we do this? This alley doesn't show on the deeds of our property or OS maps.

    Reply
    • Replies to Sue>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Sue - land can be claimed and our PGs 4 and 5 explain the registration process. But it's really legal advice you need on the legal complexities re such claims and how they are treated by the law. https://www.gov.uk/topic/land-registration/practice-guides

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Sue posted on

        Thanks Adam. First approach to a solicitor we were advised we needed a surveyor. The problem is that official documents don't show the alley at all! It looks like the school boundary goes right up to our residential boundaries so officially there is no land to transfer!!

        Reply
        • Replies to Sue>

          Comment by AdamH posted on

          Sue - hence I assume why a surveyor was recommended as they should be able to look at old/current plans and match them with the current layout to provide you with a reported outcome explaining their survey. That should assist you with regards next steps also

          Reply
  39. Comment by Helen posted on

    We are currently going through an adverse possession request with Land Registry and an Ordnance Survey Surveyor will need to visit the property. This is fine as we were advised of this when applying.

    We have been advised that Land Registry are under an obligation to enter the value declared for the property and our solicitors have asked us to provide them with an estimated value of the Land - what exactly do they require? Is it the whole property of just the value of the land which is being questioned - the land has been fenced in since 1973 so I'm not sure how we go about this?

    Reply
    • Replies to Helen>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Helen - I imagine it is a valuation with regards the land that is being registered, which is needed. The statement as to the value doe snot have to be by anyone other than the applicant but it's important to be as accurate as possible so you may need to enquire of a land agent or surveyor for example as a guide

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Helen posted on

        Does the valuation have to be what the value is today - the land was bought 45 years ago and was paid for and the builders marked the boundary where the fence was put - part of the garden appears to be registered but there is a section which is what the adverse possession request is for - can I give the price paid in 1973 as I have the paperwork/bill?

        Its approximately 1/8th of the plot which we could use to value it today if required after discussing with various on-line sites?

        Reply
  40. Comment by Helen posted on

    thank you very much

    Reply
  41. Comment by Anita Simmonds posted on

    What if it is a derelict house on a suburban street?

    Reply
    • Replies to Anita Simmonds>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Anita - we register the land so you can still search for registered details online or make a postal search of the index map instead

      Reply
      • Replies to AdamH>

        Comment by Anita posted on

        Thanks for the reply. This is a house that appears to be unregistered with yourselves.

        Reply
  42. Comment by Emma smethurst posted on

    Hello my parents bought a house approx 8 years ago, in order to access the house you have to cross a small gravel car park. They are currently in the process of selling the house and right of way has been brought up by the prospective buyers solicitors. Frustratingly it wasn't picked up by my parents solicitors when they bought the property. The house was only built within the last 15 years so Eoukd right of way had to be sought in order to get planning permission? Or how can we find out who owns the land? There is a village pub across the road and the landlord seems to think it might belong to him? How can we beat find out? The council have said it isn't their land despite them maintaining upkeep of the fence around the car small area. Any help is gratefully received thanks.

    Reply
    • Replies to Emma smethurst>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Emma - these sorts of enquiries would normally be made by your parents' solicitors as part of the sale process. But if you wanted to check the ownership yourself, if the land is registered with us you may be able to do this online via our service on Gov.uk - https://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry.

      As your search relates to a piece of land, select the Map enquiry option. Use the nearby road /town name to search, and once you get a map of the area, change the options at the top of the map from Ordnance Survey Map to Birds Eye View. This should enable you to search the land you are interested in more clearly.

      Once you have identified the land concerned, zoom in on the map until you are able to use the 'Find properties' button on bottom left corner of the map. Click on the area that you are interested, which if the land is registered with us, will then list details of land / property information available. Once you decide which one you require and click Purchase, you will then need to register yourself as a new user. You will require a valid email address and a password for this.

      Register yourself as a user and then follow the process for payment. Once the payment has gone through, the title register (giving the current owner) or title plan that you have purchased will be available in PDF format for you view. You will need to save the document on your equipment if you wish to retain it for future reference.

      If the land is not registered we will not have any information as to the ownership.

      Planning permission and the registration of rights and interests in land are separate and distinct and so this issue may not have arisen when permission was granted. But further enquiries can be made with the local authority involved.

      Reply
  43. Comment by Tim posted on

    Hi there,
    This is a great guide and I have found the registered owners using a search for a planning application for the local council.
    To be specific, the owner of a property has cars/skips that block the rear of the property and deny me a right of access to my home. I need to check both Land Registry and the Title to see what it says about the use of the land.
    But the thing is, I've identified the owner and now what? I still can't get the info I need as there is nothing registered so I'm in limbo, or is there anything else I can do? How can things like right of access/rights of way be drawn up now, rather than seeing what the historical rights are for the property? It's a catch 22 as far as I can see!

    Thanks for any help,

    Tim

    Reply
    • Replies to Tim>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Hi Tim. Thank you for your kind comment about the guide. As I understand it, the property//land over which you need access is unregistered. In which case, as you've said, we will not hold any details of any rights or other interests in relation to that property. Presumably, you have already checked your own property's title as this may assist in determining what rights your property may hold over the land.

      There may be a need to discuss the situation with the parties involved on the ground if this is possible. You may also want to consider seeking independent legal advice, for example, from a conveyancer, such as a solicitor, who will be able to advise as to the legal position and the options open to you.

      Reply
  44. Comment by IMuzz posted on

    I have just purchased my next door neighbour's property to prevent the over development of the small lane I live in by a local developer. There are three houses in our lane, mine being the middle one. The recently purchased property is at the "dead end" of the lane/track. It has been fenced up to the entrance to it and exclusively maintained since the 1960's but I have been told by my conveyancer it is actually an unregistered parcel of land and outside the marked boundary of the property. We have lived next door for 12 years and our other neighbour for 33 years so can verify it's sole use. The original owners niece also has been visiting the property for over 50 years and confirms it's sole use and maintenance over those years. I guess I am asking if this can be the basis of an application to register the land and incorporate it into the plot of the LR boundary?

    Reply
    • Replies to IMuzz>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      IMuzz - you're are referring to claiming land by possession rather than title deeds, commonly referred to as 'squatter's rights'. This a very complex area of the law and a number of issues come into play. It's something you may want to consider getting independent legal advice on if you're unsure how / whether to proceed.

      Reply
  45. Comment by Figo posted on

    We recently purchased a property, that was inherited and registered for the first time in 2015. The previous owners purchased and lived in the house from 1958 to 2015. There is a garage on a plot of land about 100 yards from the property which a close relative of the previous owners has told us was used by the previous owners. The garage has clearly not been in use for many years. As the purchasers of the house assuming the previous owners of the house did actually own the garage, does the garage now belong to us even though it is not mentioned on the title deeds? How can we confirm who the owner of the garage and plot it sits on is as it doesn't seem to be registered?

    Reply
    • Replies to Figo>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Figo - if you've not already done so, the first step would be to check the title deeds / paperwork from when you bought the property. If the land on which the garage is situated isn't registered, as mentioned in the blog, we won't hold any information on the owner and you'd need to try the alternative sources mentioned. If you do not hold any deeds showing title to the land, then another possible option would be to look into the claiming the land by adverse possession, commonly referred to as 'squatter's rights'. This is a very complex area of the law and if you're unsure how to proceed, you may want to consider getting independent advice, for example, from a conveyancer such as a solicitor.

      Reply
  46. Comment by Cath posted on

    Beside my house there is piece of land beside a river. There is a path along the land that has been used for generations for access to my cottage and another cottage. I thought that my neighbour had bought the land right up to the river when he built his house about 15 years ago. He has recently informed me that he registered land only up to a boundary wall which he rebuilt at the time. Although he thought he had purchased the land right up to the river, is not currently registered to him or anyone else. Who is responsible for the land and therefore the river bank and the trees on it? Who would pay the costs if, for example the wall along the river bank collapsed or the trees fell on neighbouring properties. My neighbour is proposing that we register it jointly but I do not really want to take on the financial cost of maintenance or any legal responsibility. Is it possible to prove that he owns the land, and therefore the responsibility, as the previous owners had maintained it and used it. Will I, and another neighbour, still have right of way and access across the land if either he, or no-one, owns it?

    Reply
    • Replies to Cath>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Cath - As mentioned in the blog, if the land is unregistered then we will not hold any information on who the owner is. In respect of registered land, we register with general boundaries, meaning that the exact position of the legal boundary line is left undefined. This may come into play here as previous court judgements have shown that general boundaries can account for surprisingly large areas of land. Rivers also come with their own particular ownership rules and responsibilities - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/owning-a-watercourse .

      Any formal rights that currently exist run with the land and would therefore continue whoever the owner is. If you are unsure about the legal position concerning the private rights or access that you may have over the land, then you may want to consider seeking independent legal advice, for example, from Citizen's Advice or from a conveyancer such as a solicitor.

      Reply
  47. Comment by Cyndi Yeoman posted on

    Behind my building is a section of cliff that is unregistered. The local Council have ownership of the cliff either side of the section that is directly behind my property. The cliff is in urgent need of attention (acknowledged by a council engineer who completed a recent report on the area) to prevent it sliding down and hitting my property. My deeds clearly show that this area is not registered to my dwelling. The council are refusing to take ownership.
    What are my rights here? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Replies to Cyndi Yeoman>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Cyndi - As mentioned in the blog, we would not hold any information on the ownership of unregistered land. As a registration authority with essentially an administrative role, we also wouldn't be able to advise as to any rights / responsibilities in connection with this. We can only suggest considering seeking independent advice, for example, from Citizen's Advice or from a legal professional.

      Reply
      • Replies to ianflowers>

        Comment by Ms Cindy Yeoman posted on

        Thank you Ian. I am appreciate your reply. We are pursuing a legal channel.

        Reply
  48. Comment by Jay posted on

    I have just undertaken an index Map search on a small parcel of land. The SIMR returns a result:

    Plan reference: N/A,
    Title number: (ST######)
    Registered Estate or Caution: Freehold

    What does it actually mean to be Freehold?
    Does anyone 'own' this land? Is the owner identifiable?
    Is it 'registered' ?
    Can others have or make claim to the land?

    Quite confused by the jargon

    Reply
    • Replies to Jay>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Jay - The SIMR indicates the land is registered under title ST####### and therefore owned by the person showing on that registered title. Freehold is one of the main ways of owning land at law - the other is for a fixed term of years (commonly called “a lease” or “leasehold”). Freehold continues for an indefinite period without any payment in the nature of rent. The nearest approach to absolute ownership of land – the Queen being the only person to own land absolutely.

      You can get title details for ST###### for a fee online via our Find a Property service - via the 'detailed enquiry' which will allow you to enter the title number - https://eservices.landregistry.gov.uk/eservices/FindAProperty/view/DetailedEnquiryInit.do .

      We essentially have an administrative role in registering ownership and other interests in land based on the applications made to us and cannot advise as to whether a third party is in a position to claim land. Generally speaking, any claim to ownership not based on deeds would be by adverse possession, commonly referred to as 'squatter's rights'. This is a very complex area of the law, and if you are unsure of the position, you may want to consider getting independent advice from a legal professional.

      Reply
  49. Comment by Jay posted on

    Thank you Ian. I was missing the significance of the ST number. I have used it in the 'detailed enquiry' Very helpful 🙂

    Reply
  50. Comment by Susanne posted on

    Hi
    Our neighbours have recently put their house up for sale and have come across a problem with the sale due to the rear garden. Apparently when the houses were first built in the 1960`s all the owners on our side, extended the gardens taking about 3ft each of unused land that was owned but not used by a local builder.
    As the builder went bankrupt the Crown now own the land and they have offered to sell the garden land to our neighbour ( 4 houses in total) with various stripes of unused land not even in our road, such as small kerb side verges and tiny useless bits of weedy land beside garages. Also included is an adopted road that leads up to a cal- de-sac with 20 houses at the back of our property built by the bankrupt builder- that we never drive up or use.
    Our neighbour has been refused to just buy the land in his garden and told he must buy the whole lot so he has decided, he will just fence off his garden so it doesn't include the extra land.
    We bought the house 20 years ago and this problem was never picked up by our solicitor. We have since taken a closer look at the deeds and it does show a gap behind all the gardens but as small, narrow grass path runs behind the houses and all the gardens are the same length we would have never questioned that the whole garden wasn't ours. Nothing could be built on the land even if the crown took all the land back form all of us as houses are build directly behind and in front so there isn't an access apart from the narrow path so it would probably end up as a dumping waste land.

    We are willing to buy our garden as are our neighbours but do not want to own the other bits- and certainly not a council adopted road so what can we do?? Any help or advise please.

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    • Replies to Susanne>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Susanne - not something we can advise you on I'm afraid and it is very much legal advice you need. If you are looking for wider online comment then public forums such as Garden Law or Money Saving Expert can be useful resources but it's still legal advice we would recommend

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