What is Unregistered Land?

It’s land that isn’t yet registered with the Land Registry.

When land is registered it’s given a unique number along with a document providing all the relevant information about the property. This is called Official Entries. The official Entries provide useful information such as who owns the land, any restrictions on building on it, any properties on it, the boundaries and details of any public rights of way.

Most land in England and Wales is now registered, according to the Land Registry. More than 85% of land and property is now registered but if the land has not changed ownership between 1925 and 1985, then it will be unregistered land.

If you are looking to buy unregistered land, you could buy the land unregistered and register it after the purchase or you could start the registration process before you buy it. For free initial advice get in touch with our Conveyancing Solicitors.

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What are the Risks of Unregistered Land?

There are additional risks in owning unregistered land. They are:

  • Proving ownership of unregistered land can be difficult if the title deeds are lost or destroyed. If you can’t prove ownership, it can be difficult to sell on your land
  • If the land is not registered, it’s difficult to find out who owns it
  • Reviewing the deeds can be difficult as they will probably be the original, handwritten documents and the chain of ownership will need to be checked
  • You are more risk of property fraud with unregistered land, so it makes sense to start the first registration process with the Land Registry
  • If someone in your family dies owning an unregistered property it can be very difficult to find the title deeds. If they are lost, it’s much easier to apply for registration if the owner is alive and can make a Statement of Truth about what happened to the deeds.

Buying Unregistered Land

The process of buying unregistered land won’t cause any delay because the first registration process will take place after completion so you shouldn’t be concerned.

Selling Unregistered Land

Even if the deeds to your land are lost, there are steps you can take as a seller to prove ownership. These include getting a Statement of Truth prepared by a Solicitor with experience in first registrations. The statement will need to show what happened for the deeds to be lost. This should give you the best chance of being granted ownership, which makes selling unregistered land a much easier process.

How Long Will Does First Registration Take?

It really does depend on whether the title deeds are lost or not. If they are, this can significantly increase the time it will take to buy, or sell, the unregistered land.

You should also bear in mind that there are a number of steps to be taken and documents to supply in first registration. For more information see Land Registry and First Registration

If you are buying or selling unregistered land, you should use a Conveyancing Solicitor who specialises in first registrations. At Simpson Millar, our national team of Conveyancing Solicitors have the expertise to help make the process of first registration go as smoothly as possible

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