Understanding the Official Copy of Register of Title
The following notes have been prepared to help you understand the Official Copy of Register of Title. Please note that these notes are not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice and should not be treated as such.
The register is split into 4 sections:
• Property Register
• Proprietorship Register
• Charges Register
The header (that is, the part up to but not including the “Property Register” contains the following information:
Title Number – this is a unique identifier used by the Land Registry. Each separately registered parcel of land has its own title number.
Edition Date – this is is the date when the register for this title was last updated. This may be when it was last sold, when a mortgage was registered or when a restriction or notice was added. Any change to the content of the register will result in a new edition being produced. Simply obtaining a copy of the register will not affect the edition date.
Date and time of official copy – this is when this official copy was produced. This is important because the Land Registry guarantee that this is an accurate reflection of the contents of the register as at this date and time. When carrying out a priority search this is the date that should be used. Technically the Official Copy is out of date as soon as it is produced (in that it will obviously not reflect any future changes which can happen at any time) but for conveyancing purposes it is generally accepted that the Official Copy should be no more than 6 months old on completion of a sale.
Land Registry office which deals with the title – unless the applicant for registration is a firm of solicitors with its own dedicated customer team, this is the office where applications for registration should be sent.
A : Property Register
The Property Register describes the land in the title and tells us of any rights which benefit it.
County : District – this tells us which county the property is in and which local authority it comes under.
Property Description – Entry 1 will always be a description of the land included in the title. It will say whether it is freehold or leasehold and will give the address. It will also make reference to the land as being edged red on the title plan. The date in brackets at the start of the entry is the date that the title was first registered with the Land Registry.
If there are any further entries these will detail any rights affecting the land. A date in brackets will be the date the entry was made in the register. The rights will either be listed on the register or it will refer to another document of which the Land Registry hold a copy.
If the property is leasehold there will be an entry which gives some basic lease details such as the date of the lease and the parties.
B : Proprietorship Register
This section details the class of title, the owner and contains any entries which affect the right of disposal.
Class of Title – The land can be registered with either Absolute Title, Qualified Title, Good Leasehold or Possessory. Absolute Title is “good against the world” so that the land is only bound by interests that are registered on the title or overriding interests. At the other end of the scale possessory title may be vulnerable to third party interests created before the date of first registration even if they are not noted on the title. If the title is anything less than absolute further advice should be sought.
Proprietor Details – entry 1 will be the name(s) of the legal owners(s) and their address(es) for service, which is the address(es) the Land Registry have been given to write to should then need to contact the owners. The date in brackets at the start of the entry is the date the owners were registered as such.
Price Paid – Depending on when the property was last sold, entry 2 will give the price that was paid when the proprietors bought the property and the date of the purchase.
Personal Covenants – Next will be any personal covenants given by the current owner to the former owner, the most common being an indemnity covenant.
Restrictions – these are entries which prevent dispositions, or certain types of disposition, from being registered without some action being performed, usually a certificate of consent from a third party being obtained. The most common restrictions relate to mortgages on the property and require the consent of the lender referred to in the restriction to any new mortgage or change of ownership. If they are in the standard form (and beware, not all are) then they will be automatically removed when the mortgage is repaid so that they do not need to be complied with.
C : Charges Register
In this section you will find any mortgages, other financial charges, notices and covenants affecting the land. Entries appear in the order they were originally registered and this tells us about their relative priorities, with earlier entries having priority over later ones. This is particularly important for financial charges as the order they appear in the register is the order of entitlement to any sale proceeds shoud the property be repossessed and sold.