https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2018/05/10/the-abc-of-title-registers/

The ABC of title registers

I previously wrote about how HM Land Registry doesn't hold traditional paper title deeds. When someone registers their property with us for the first time, we create a "title register" that becomes the legal record of who owns it.

Many of these title registers are residential properties, but we also have title registers of churches, railways, farmland, disused nuclear bunkers, playing fields, foreshore, and some parts of the seabed. We recently created our 25 millionth title register, an electricity substation in Gateshead.

When my sister-in-law was considering buying a house, she asked how she could find out more about the property. I told her that for £3, she could look at a title register for any registered property in England and Wales.

She took my advice, bought a copy of the title register, read it, and then asked me what it all meant!

I was a bit fuzzy on some of the details, so I checked with some seasoned land registration experts here, and this is what I found out.

Most title registers are split into three parts; the A, B, and C registers. Below, I’ve listed the types of information you may find in each part; though the detail will vary for every property.

The ABC of title registers

A: property register

This gives:

  • a description of the property;
  • the date the property was first registered; and
  • any rights it may benefit from, such as a private right of way.

If the property is leasehold, the register may also show details of the lease, such as the date, the parties and its length.

B: proprietorship register

This shows:

  • the name and address of the current owner;
  • when they bought the property;
  • how much they paid for it (if sold since 1 April 2000);
  • any restrictions that limit the power of the owner, for example, to stop them securing a loan without their mortgage lender's consent; and
  • the class of the title, such as an "absolute title" or "possessory title", which reflects our level of guarantee (based on the strength of evidence we’ve been given).

C: charges register

Information in the charges register may include:

  • mortgages or other financial burdens secured on the property (though this won’t show the amount of money involved); and
  • other rights or interests that limit how the land or property can be used, such as leases, rights of way, or covenants.

Get more information

If you're curious to see what information we hold about a property, whether it's a cottage or a castle, a good way to start is to buy a title register for £3.

If you need to prove ownership for legal reasons, apply for an official copy of the register.

To see the local land charges on a property, such as a tree preservation order, conservation area, or listed status of a building, you’ll need to contact the relevant local authority. We’re currently working with English local authorities to migrate their local land charge records to a new central digital register so that in the future, you'll be able to see all this information in one place.

Read our general guide on how to get information about property and land.

29 comments

  1. Comment by Russell Davidson posted on

    Given most leases of commercial sites granted in this country are below 7 years - in fact between 4 and 5, the Register is now far from comprehensive. The current requirement to register only leases of 7 years or more means the information on the Land Register is now way out of date as a true indicator of the market.

    Reply
  2. Comment by Margaret Ita McDonnell (Mrs) posted on

    Absolutely useful and illuminating. I acquired a small but useful space by adverse possession after a court case and was given the space by the Judge. I was so pleased I didn't realise I needed to register it. I have tried to trace the Judgement which was issued in the old Central London County Court, who are now on the Law Courts site in the Strand, tell me that don't keep records which I find extraordinary. Anyway, onwards and upwards!

    Reply
  3. Comment by Satish Kabra posted on

    Must have a logging record of viewers for each individuals search.
    so that rightful owner knows who is spying on their assets.
    Or have a permission from the owner.

    Reply
    • Replies to Satish Kabra>

      Comment by Alison Mouser posted on

      No, it's an open register. Anyone can look and obtain copies. There is no requirement to inform the land owner or obtain their prior consent

      Reply
  4. Comment by David Miller posted on

    I'd like to see the land registry needs devise an electronic substitute for Land/Charge Certificates, for example a unique, randomly-generated code on TIDs that must be quoted on any future application to deal with the title. That I feel sure would cut out a great deal of property fraud.

    Reply
    • Replies to David Miller>

      Comment by Eddie Davies posted on

      Thanks for your comment, David. I think there’s a need to improve ID verification right across the home-buying sector. We’re currently exploring all options available to us, so randomly-generated codes on TIDs may or may not be a part of such improvements.

      Reply
      • Replies to Eddie Davies>

        Comment by ken posted on

        A very good idea from Eddie Davies and a re-assuring reply from HMRC.

        As we stand at the moment surely, when assets have been registered with them, HM Land Registry could be in danger of being sued for not pursuing "due care.."

        Reply
  5. Comment by Sophie posted on

    If you were to increase the value of a mortgage on a property with the same lender, would the charge be updated or would it remain as the original entry in the charges section?

    Reply
    • Replies to Sophie>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Sophie - invariably it remains as is. The charge is secured on the registered title so any new lending for example is a matter between the borrower/lender and we do not show the financial details for example on the register

      Reply
  6. Comment by Temha posted on

    Hi,
    We have a charge registered for the money we gifted to our daughter to buy her flat outright without any mortgage.
    This charge is noted on the completion of registration issued by the land registry, but nothing has been issued to the charge holder by the land registry.
    We are wondering whether a charge certificate should be issued by the land registry to the charge holders at the same time the completion of registration certificate was issued to the leaseholder.
    We noted that there was such a charge certificate issued to our mortgagee and it was released to us when the charge was cleared.
    The only difference is we are not mortgagees but we are charge holders
    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Replies to Temha>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Temha - Hi. I noticed you have asked similar questions on separate blog, so hope it will be in order for this response to cover both posts.

      Charge certificates have not been issued since October 2003 following legislation in the Land Registration Act 2002 and Land Registration Rules 2003. From that date, existing certificates ceased to have any significance and are no longer required on updates to a title register. The change reduced costs for HM Land Registry’s customers and removed the need for people to store certificates, with the associated risk that they may become lost, destroyed or stolen. In conjunction with the conversion of almost all our records into electronic format, the changes were a vital step in modernising systems to meet the needs of the electronic age and facilitating the implementation of an electronic registration system.

      If as charge holder you wish to obtain a copy of the current title documents for your records, they can be downloaded for £3 each via our online service - https://bit.ly/2C12N6C .

      Reply
  7. Comment by Temha posted on

    Thank you,
    I am sorry, Yes I did ask the same in an earlier post. I wasn't sure if it went through.
    We have the current documents, and it seems therefor it will suffice for the charge holder to retain a signed copy of the CH1 and the completion of registration issued by the land registry. Hope I got it right.

    Thanks again.

    Reply
  8. Comment by Freda posted on

    My son and husband bought a house together as tenants in common. My daughter lent my son some monies protected by a Charge in the Charges register. There is a Restriction on the Proprietorship Register stating “No disposition by a sole proprietor of the registered estate (except a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered unless authorised by an order of the court.” My husband is transferring his share to my son by way of gift. The loan has been paid. How do we remove the Restriction?

    Reply
    • Replies to Freda>

      Comment by ianflowers posted on

      Freda - Please see our guidance on GOV.UK which covers this: https://www.gov.uk/joint-property-ownership. Particularly the section titled 'Change your type of ownership' which applies whether or not your some remains as sole owner.

      I should also mention that the restriction does not need to be removed in order to effect the transfer between your husband and son. This is because you have mentioned that the transfer will be by way of gift whereas the restriction only catches dispositions where 'capital money arises'.

      Where the loan under a registered charge has been paid off, we would need the appropriate evidence of discharge (usually in form DS1) to cancel the charge from the register. Evidence of identity may also be required. Please see also our guidance which covers: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cancel-entries-relating-to-a-charge-registration-ds2.

      If you are unsure how to proceed, we would suggest considering seeking independent legal advice, for example, from Citizen's Advice or from a solicitor such as a conveyancer.

      Reply
  9. Comment by Freda posted on

  10. Comment by Dawn C. posted on

    Hi everyone, I am looking to purchase a property and recently paid to obtain the land register from HM Land registry. I have read through the land register but still have questions.

    Section A: Property Register shows 2 named parties i.e. the home association and vendor.

    Section B: Proprietorship Register shows title absolute and only 1 named party i.e. the vendor.

    In this instance, how can I ascertain if the property I am purchasing is for full 100% share of the property? I understand that when the vendor currently owns 55% share of the property. Should I be concerned (if any at all) that there are 2 named parties under section A ?

    I appreciate your advice. thank you.

    Reply
    • Replies to Dawn C.>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Dawn C - the A Property Register does not refer to the registered ownership. That is in the B Proprietorship Register. I assume the property is leasehold and the A Register refers to the lease under which it was granted hence reference to two parties, namely the landlord and the tenant

      Reply
  11. Comment by N posted on

    Hello,
    I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction.
    I am interested in purchasing a plot of land on the end of a row of terraces.
    The land used to have 2 terraced properties, which were demolished many years ago.
    I have managed to find the registered owners of the land who hold the title absolute, and upon submitting a search of the index map, the land is Freehold.
    However, although the actual land is Freehold, the same title number shows that the land is included as a row of houses. Half of the row of terrace houses including the land (which once had houses) have charges registered against it.
    Here is where I need help.
    The Lease Title (dated 1870- for 999 years) was registered under house numbers 10 & 12, both of which are now Freehold. Does this mean the Leasehold only relates to 10 & 12?
    There seems to be no way of tracking the Leaseholders. I was told that purchasing a Defective Title Insurance would cover me for any nasty surprises that may come up.
    But the actual land I am interested in is absolutely Freehold.
    Thank you all for your help.

    Reply
    • Replies to N>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      N - all depends what you mean by registered under house numbers 10 & 12. If I have understood correctly then the freehold title includes the land and the row of terraced houses. The lease is then noted on that freehold title. If the lease affects numbers 10 & 12 only then it is not a lease of the land or the other terraced houses/land included in that freehold title. I'd suggest you seek legal advice though to assist and clarify matters with regards what registered interests affect the land you intend to purchase

      Reply
  12. Comment by Albert Hickson posted on

    I am not legally qualified in any way, but I dealt with the purchase of the house that my wife and I own. I followed the directions a book. This was 30 years ago. I can't remember whether we bought as joint tenants or tenants in common. The book advised one over the other (I can't remember why or which), but now, as we are both getting on a bit we have been advised to make sure that we are one or the other (and again I don't know which one) as it will protect one of us if the other has to go into a care home. I have the Land Certificate, and the Proprietorship Register says that we are the 'Proprietor' (not Proprietors). There is nothing about disposition by one owner. Form 19(JP) transferred the Whole to Joint Proprietors (us). Are we joint tenants or tenants in common?

    Reply
    • Replies to Albert Hickson>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Albert - we can't tell you which it is I'm afraid. The register is not definitive re such detail and the term 'tenants in common' is not referred to on the register as you already appreciate.
      Joint owners may indicate that they wish to hold the property as tenants in common when they are registered or may decide to sever their joint tenancy at some stage. The form 19 (JP) for example will have included a clause referring to this and you may have amended that clause at the time to reflect the joint ownership as you saw it at the time. For example it may refer to whether you 'can' or 'cannot' give a valid receipt for capital monies'

      When this happens, and where the land is registered, we can register a Form A restriction on the registered title, namely
      'No disposition by a sole proprietor of the registered estate (except a trust corporation) under which capital money arises is to be registered unless authorised by an order of the court'

      The Form A restriction does not itself change the ownership from beneficial joint tenancy to tenancy in common. The restriction only reflects the request or change made so it is important to also consider what has happened since re your wills for example and more. And our online guidance may assist in that regard https://www.gov.uk/joint-property-ownership

      Reply
  13. Comment by Albert Hickson posted on

    This is more complicated than I thought it would be! Our Form 19 (JP) says that the survivor can give a valid receipt for capital monies. ('cannot' is crossed out.) I think we wanted to be joint tenants as that meant the property would automatically go to the survivor when one of us dies. Does the wording on Form 19(JP) mean that we are joint tenants? Wouldn't it make life easier if the form used the terms 'joint tenants' or 'tenants in common', and wouldn't it make life easier if the Land Certificate had one or the other of these expressions?

    Reply
    • Replies to Albert Hickson>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Albert - if it has can and not cannot then at that time, namely on the date you executed the Transfer, you were joint tenants as far as the form 19 (JP) was concerned.
      Whilst it might seem easier to suggest the changes you refer to it would still not make the register definitive as other factors can affect how you hold the property and which would not necessarily lead you to apply for or register a form A restriction as explained.
      You can be joint tenants way back when you bought it but then made wills that left your beneficial share to someone else, which in effect would make you tenants in common. So it will never be as easy as you might think or wish.
      So to try and establish whether you are JTs or TIC you should start with the form 19(JP) and then work forwards with regards what you have done or what has impacted on your joint ownership since e.g. wills, deed of trust, debts and so on to see what (if any) have impacted and changed that position. If nothing then it would imply that you are still joint tenants
      Note - Land Certificates are no longer produced and have no legal meaning re proving ownership. And form 19 (JP) is an obsolete form of Transfer now

      Reply
  14. Comment by Lee Foster posted on

    There is a strip of land at the end of my garden that shows up as title number SK214570 and is shown as "Tenure: A Caution".

    It has trees on it that are overshadowing my garden and are looking unsafe, so am I entitled to engage a tree surgeon and cut them down / prune them, if there is no owner of the land?

    Reply
    • Replies to Lee Foster>

      Comment by AdamH posted on

      Lee - the caution title will merely indicate that some has an 'interest' in the land so would not necessarily impact on what you can or cannot do on land you do not won yourself. I'd suggest seeking legal advice as to what you can do re overhanging trees for example or try online forums such as Garden Law where such matters are often discussed

      Reply
  15. Comment by Janet posted on

    Hi - My lease grants me a right of way across a shared access path. This was summarised and shown on both the leasehold and freehold title register. But when my lease was extended to 999 years (in 2007) the summary disappeared from both title registers.

    I would like to have the summary reinstated on both title registers so these rights are tranparent to anyone looking at the register. How can I do this?

    I have copies of the original title register and Charge Certificate that show the summary. Thanks for any advice.

    Reply

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