How to Register your Land and Protect your Interests

Systems of land ownership 

In England and Wales there are two recognised systems of land ownership, these are: The registered system or registered land and the unregistered system or unregistered land.

Different rules apply to both registered and unregistered land so the first point to establish is whether the land in question is registered or unregistered.

The difference between Registered and Unregistered land

Unregistered land is land which the title is not registered but it does have its own system of registration which allows interests such as an easement to be registered and therefore protected.

The main difference between registered and unregistered land lies in the way a person proves their ownership over the land. Before the new system of registration the only way to prove ownership is by looking at the title deeds and carrying out searches and inspections of the land. This remains the case regarding unregistered land.

In cases regarding registered land, there is a single, state-guaranteed register that provides evidence of title as it stands at any given time.

Any person who suffers a loss as a result of a mistake on the register will be entitled to be indemnified for that loss.

Unregistered land: The enforceability of third party rights  

Legal Rights

All legal estates and interests in land are automatically binding on the land over which they exist. Every person who comes into ownership or occupation of that land will do so subject to all the legal rights attached to it. The only exception to this rule is a legal mortgage over the land where the documents of title have not been deposited with the lender.  

Land Charges

Land charges are divided into categories by the Land Charges Act 1972 (LCA 1972). There are 6 categories and some of these are further sub-divided . The most commonly used in everyday life are as follows; 

  • Class C (i) – Poise Mortgage

This is basically a legal mortgage which is not secured by a deposit of documents that relate to the legal estate of the property. This is covered under S2(4) LCA 1972.

  • C (iii ) – General Equitable Charge

C( iv) – Estate Contract – This is basically a contract that is created to convey/ transfer the legal estate in a particular plot of land to another person, by the person who has legal ownership over the land they are contracting to convey.

  • D ( ii) – Restrictive Covenants – …………………………………………………………………… 

  • D (iii) – Equitable easements – An easements is a right or privilege affecting the land which was created on or after the 1st January 1926, and which is equitable only.

  • Class F – Matrimonial Home Rights – This is also contained in the Family Law Act 1966,  s.30, of which confers the following rights on one spouse/ civil partner where the other spouse/ Civil Partner has a beneficial interest/estate or contract in the property or has a right to remain in the property by virtue of any enactment 

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For more information on:

  • Effect of Registration
  • The Effect of Non- Registration
  • What are Residual Interests?
  • What is Equity’s Darling?
  • Bona Fide
  • For Value
  • Purchaser
  • Without Notice