First registration of property – what all homeowners need to know
First registration of property is the process of registering a previously unregistered property with HM Land Registry.
This should be done when you take ownership of an unregistered property or take out a mortgage on it.
Registration was initially voluntary but by 1990 the first registration of property became compulsory on the transfer of any land or property. The Land Registration Act 2002 increased the triggers for compulsory registration, so that now all land bought, sold or mortgaged must be registered at the Land Registry.
If you bought your property before 1990 and have not had any property dealings since then, the chances are your property is not registered with the Land Registry.
Under these circumstances you are not obliged to register your property until compulsory registration is triggered, however, we strongly recommend that you take steps to register your property anyway. There are a number of reasons for this:
- Registering your property gives you proof of ownership, ensuring the Land Registry knows you are the legal owners.
- It protects your land from fraud, for example someone fraudulently claiming ownership of your land and property.
- It makes it easier and quicker for you to sell or give your property away in the future, as all the property title information needed for conveyancing is held centrally by the Land Registry.
How do you register your property with the Land Registry for the first time?
- If you’re unsure, the first step is to search the register to ensure your property isn’t already registered.
- You must locate the whereabouts of the deeds to your property if they are not in your possession.
- A scale plan will need to be prepared showing an outline of your land and property if this is not shown clearly and is not to Land Registry standards in the deeds.
- Your deeds will need to be reviewed and a number of original documents and certified copies must be submitted with your first registration application depending on your circumstances, for example a statutory declaration, stamp duty land tax certificate, subsisting lease, subsisting charge or latest document of title.
- A registration fee is payable depending on the value of your property. This is payable to the Land Registry when the application for first registration is lodged with them.
The Land Registry is currently advising that a first registration of property is taking 6 to 12 months, so it is certainly worth acting now to ensure your property is protected as soon as possible.
For further advice on registering your property or to receive a quote, please contact our conveyancing and property experts by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning our Altrincham team on 0161 929 8446, our Stoke-on-Trent solicitors on 01782 205000 or our Birmingham solicitors on 0121 516 3025.