Protection of Title

How can I register my land?

The Two systems of land ownership that exists in England and Wales:

  1. The registered system or registered land

  2. The unregistered system or unregistered land

The main difference between the two systems lies in the way in which a person proves his ownership of (i.e. title to) land.  Before the introduction of registration of title, there was only one way to establish the seller’s right to sell a property. Purchasers had to satisfy themselves from the title deeds, searches and inspection of the land that the seller had power to sell the land, and that it was subject to no undisclosed obligations. That remains the case with properties which have not yet been registered.

Unregistered land

Unregistered land is land to which the title is not registered but it has its own system of partial registration (under the Land Charges Act 1972) for other rights and interests affecting the land. 

How a third person can enforce and protect their rights in Unregistered land

By s.198, LPA 1925, registration constitutes ‘actual notice’ to all persons and for all purposes connected with the land affected.

By using the methods below a third person can protect their rights in unregistered land by registering them and therefore giving ‘actual notice’ of their interest.

Legal Rights

All legal estates and interests are automatically binding on the land over which they exist.  Every person who comes into ownership or occupation of that land, takes the land subject to all legal interests which attach to it.  The only exception to the rule is the puisne mortgage, i.e. a legal mortgage over land where the documents of title have not been deposited with the lender.

Land Charges

Land Charges are divided into 6 categories by the Land Charged Act 1972, Some of these are then sub-divided.  

  • Class C(i)  – puisne mortgage, i.e., ‘a legal mortgage which is not secured by a deposit of documents relating to the legal estate affected’

  • C(iii) – general equitable charge 
  • C(iv) – estate contract, i.e., a contract to create or convey a legal estate in land made by a person with, or entitled to, a legal estate.  

  • D(ii) – restrictive covenant, other than one between lessor and lessee, entered into after 1 January 1926.

  • D(iii) – equitable easement, i.e., an easement, right or privilege affecting land which was created on or after 1 January 1926, and which is equitable only. 

  • Class F – ‘matrimonial home rights’, contained in the Family Law Act 1996, s.30 of which confers the following rights on one spouse/civil partner where the other spouse/civil partner has a beneficial estate or interest or contract in a dwelling or has a right to remain in occupation of a dwelling by virtue of any enactment:

  • A right not to be evicted or excluded if already in occupation; and

  • A right, with the leave of the court, to enter and occupy if not already in occupation. 

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For more information on:

  • What are Residual Interests?
  • Bona fide = in good faith.
  • Purchaser
  • For value
  • Legal estate
  • Without notice
  • There are three types of notice: actual, constructive and imputed.