You may not even realise that your property is unregistered, but it can cause issues when the time comes to sell. Avoid any inconvenience by voluntarily registering with the Land Registry.
There are records showing that from the completion of the Domesday Book in 1086 right up until the Land Registration Act 1925, the only way to record your ownership of property was by paper deeds – a bundle of documents that showed the possession of land right back to the original owner.
There are obvious problems with only being able to prove ownership by paper with no central record – theft loss or destruction, for example. The Land Registration Act 1925 sought to address this issue by introducing a system of Land Registration.
The idea was that each time a transaction, such as a purchase, took place then the new owner would have to record the change in ownership with a central body, now known as the Land Registry, who would store the information. This would mean that if the deeds were lost in the future, you could still prove your ownership by going to the Land Registry.
At first, registration was on a completely voluntary basis but from the 1960s, the government made it compulsory to register a transaction. However, each local authority was given the power to decide when they would make it compulsory.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council started the process swiftly, meaning that any transactions occurring after 1967 would be registerable. This means that most of the properties in the Southend-on-Sea area are now registered.
Rochford District Council, on the other hand, did not bring in compulsory registration until 1990 – one of the last in the country to do so. This means that Rochford still has a high number of unregistered properties.
Owning an unregistered property could cause you a number of problems when you eventually come to sell, or even if you wish to remortgage or transfer the property to a loved one. The most common problem is delay due to missing documents. Paper deeds also carry a much greater risk of loss or destruction and that can lead to huge issues when trying to prove you own your home.
Issues such these can be avoided by voluntarily registering your property with the Land Registry. In fact the Land Registry encourage this, offering a discount of their fees if you voluntarily register.
From January 4th, our Rochford office will be open on alternate Saturdays from 10am – 1pm to deal with any conveyancing issue. We offer a free initial 30-minute consultation service in which we can advise clients if their property needs to be registered and usually provide them with a fixed fee to voluntarily register dependent upon the complexity of the deeds.