Charges Register – How to understand
The registers of title is the electronic record of each registered property that the Land Registry has and will detail the owner(s) and any rights or interests that may affect the property. The Property Register, Proprietorship Register and Charges Register are the three registers (sections) that the Official Copy of Register of Title split into with each part detailing important information about the land.
The Charges Register will indicate if there are any interests that this land is subject to, i.e. any burdens that need to be adhered to.
Charges Register Entries
Within the Charges Register you will find any interests that affect the property. These include financial charges and notices, such as secured loans and mortgages; positive covenants, such as repairs / maintenance that need carrying out a shared facility; and restrictive covenants, which will indicate if there are any limitations as to what the landowner can do with his land, i.e. not keeping animals or using it for trade.
Once you have the register of title you can order details on the individual Land Registry Covenants if you wish.
Notices on Charges Register
An agreed notice and a unilateral notice are the two types of notices you may find here. These can be put in place to protect the interests of those in the property, i.e. the ‘homes rights notice’ under the Family Law Act, which gives rights of occupation to a civil partner or spouse; or, they can be to do with financial interests, i.e. a contract for sale of Charging Order.
These are there so any potential buyers are notified of any possible third-party interest in this land.
You will normally find these when there is a mortgage loan that needs protecting. Should the mortgage payments cease the person who owns the legal charge then has the power to sell. This means that anyone who is looking at purchasing the property must make sure that the mortgage has been paid off by the seller before they complete, otherwise, the lender’s power of sale will still stand.
Unlike an equitable charge or an interest that is protected by a notice, which may be overreached on a sale by two trustees, a legal charge is a legal interest in the land that is able to bind any future owners, despite them not being part of the original mortgage terms.
An equitable charge will be created for one of two reasons. Firstly, there could have been a previously unsecured debt which means a court order has been issued; or, a legal charge was attempted but wasn’t dealt with in the correct manner.
If someone holds an equitable charge it does not give them the power to sell the property but based on this charge, they could potentially go to court to achieve an order of sale.
Covenants Detailed on a Charges Register
If there are any covenants in place that affect the land, these will be located in the Charges Register. These can have positive or negative implications. A negative covenant will restrict the owner from doing something to the land, e.g. causing a nuisance or trading from it; whilst a positive one will mean that the owner is obliged to do something like maintaining a wall or hedge. Covenants can be enforced but this depends on well-established rules, which means that not all of them can be imposed.