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.

10 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

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