Registered Land: The Conveyance of Registered Land

The three parts of the Register

On first registration of title, a title number is allocated by HM Land Registry.  It is subsequently used to identify the land comprised in the title (i.e. the physical extent of the land and the particular estate held in it).  The Register created for each title is sub-divided into three parts: 

  • The Property Register

This describes the property, usually the postal address, and refers to a filed plan of the land from the Ordinance Survey Map. This may also include details of any benefits attached to the land such as any easements.

  • The Proprietorship Register

This identifies the class of title which has been awarded to the land. It contains the name and address of the owner of the land. It shows whether there are any restrictions on the power of the owner to sell or mortgage the land for example. 

  • The Charges Register

A lender will register mortgage charges here that are created by the owner. This register will also give notice of any burdens that are attached to the land.                                                            

Compulsory first registration

The events which must be followed by first registration of title to the estate in question are now: 

  • A conveyance on sale of freehold land (i.e. the fee simple);
  • The grant of a term of years absolute of more than 7 years;
  • The assignment on sale of a lease which has more than 7 years unexpired at the date of the assignment
  • The creation of a first legal mortgage of the fee simple or of a lease of more than 7 years
  • Gifts made through a trust that is to be carried out during the testator’s lifetimes
  • Dispositions under a court order (e.g. following a divorce). 

If the requirement for registration applies, application must be made to the registrar within 2 months, beginning with the date on which the relevant event occurred.

Voluntary registration

By s 3, a person may apply to be registered as the owner of an unregistered legal estate if: 

  • The estate is vested in him, or
  • He is entitled to require the estate to be vested in him.

An application in respect of a leasehold estate may only be made if the estate was granted for a term of more than 7 years and those years are unexpired. 

Categories of interest in registered land

The most important interests that must be registered in their own right and will therefore have their own title number are: 

  • The fee simple;
  • Leases for more than 7 years   

A registered title may be:

  • Absolute
  • Qualified
  • Possessory
  • In the case of leasehold, good leasehold:  

Absolute

The highest grade of title.  It vests in the first registered proprietor (RP) the fee simple absolute/term of years absolute together with all rights and privileges attaching to that estate.

Possessory

This is granted where the applicant’s title is based solely on occupation as a squatter or where he is unable to produce the documents to prove his title.  

Interests protected by entry on the Register (minor interests)

The only two possible entries on to the register (apart from the registration of an estate or charge) are notices and restrictions. 

Notices

A notice is an entry on the Charges Register of a title and is used to protect all those interests that are intended to bind third parties (e.g. easements, restrictive covenants and estate contracts). Notices are agreed or unilateral. If a unilateral notice is registered the owner of the estate affected must be informed by the registrar to enable the owner to apply for it to be cancelled therefore compelling the person who entered the notice to justify the entry on the register. 

Restrictions

A restriction is a form of entry which places limitations on the land owners powers over the land.  Restrictions are primarily used to protect the interests of beneficiaries under a trust of land; that is, by requiring two trustee/proprietors or a trust corporation to be party to a disposition, to ensure compliance with the overreaching machinery. 

The consequences of failure to register

By s. 29 if a registerable disposition of registered land with absolute title is made for valuable consideration, the transferee (purchaser/lessee/mortgagee) takes subject only to those interests which are protected by an entry on the register.  The transferee will take the estate free of any unprotected interest.

Alteration of the Register and indemnity

Schedule 4 provides that the court may order alteration(s) and the Registrar may alter the Register for the purpose of: 

  • Correcting a mistake;
  • Bringing the Register up to date; or
  • Giving effect to any estate, right or interest accepted from the effect of registration.

Schedule 4, paras. 3 and 6 provide that where an alteration is a rectification it cannot be made without the owner’s consent in relation to the land in his possession unless he has by fraud or lack of proper care caused or substantially contributed to the mistake or it wou1d be for any other reason unjust for the alteration not to be made.  (Rectification is a form of alteration which corrects a mistake and prejudicially affects the title of the registered proprietor, thereby giving rise to an indemnity.)

Schedule 8 provides for payments by way of indemnity.  A person is entitled to an indemnity from the registrar if he suffers loss by reason of a rectification of the Register or a mistake whose correction would involve rectification of the register.