Proprietorship Register – HMLR
Within the register of land produced by the Land Registry, you will find three sections (three registers), which are made up of the Property Register, Proprietorship Register and Charges Register. Within each of these registers, there will be various bits of information that relate to who owns the land, its extent and whether there are any third-party interests (covenants, rights or mortgages for example) that affect it.
The legal owner(s) of the land and other important bits of information will be found contained within the Proprietorship Register.
The Class of Title in the Proprietorship Register
To start with, the Proprietorship Register will detail the ‘class of title’ which the registered land comes with. There are six classes of title; three relating to leasehold land and three to freehold land.
The leasehold classes are absolute, good leasehold and qualified and the freehold classes are absolute, qualified or possessory. The best class in both cases is absolute as this certifies that the owner of the land has absolute right over it and cannot have this tested.
At the other end of the scale, we have the possessory title, which normally occurs when whoever registered the land originally cannot prove that they have ownership, which could be due to adverse possession (claiming ownership through ‘squatters rights’) or because the deeds have been lost. In these cases, although ownership of the land cannot be challenged (except if title was acquired by fraud) third parties may be able to establish interests in the land such as right, covenants or even mortgages.
This is followed by the Registered Proprietor(s) name(s), indicating who legally owns the land and will be the people who have the authority to transfer this property across to a new owner. There are some exceptional circumstances, i.e. when the owner(s) are deceased, it has been repossessed or a sole owner has been declared bankrupt.
A minimum of one proprietor and a maximum of four will be registered and the date that follows their names will establish when this land / property became registered in their name. You will often find that this is a few weeks after the completion date.
You may also find that the price paid by the current owners will also be detailed in the Proprietorship Register, depending on when it was purchased.
Should there be any covenants that bind the current proprietor, these will be indicated here. An indemnity covenant is the most common personal covenant that can be found in this section.
Following on from all of these details the Proprietorship Register will go on to provide any restrictions that may be in place (anything that restricts the owners with how they deal with the title) and bankruptcy notices.