How to register unregistered property


Since the 1925 Land Registration Act in the UK, which was replaced by an updated Land Registration Act in 2002, it’s been compulsory to register unregistered property and land. However, according to the HM Land Registry, there is still 14% of land in the UK that remains unregistered or unclaimed.

Along with complying with the law, there are numerous benefits to registering land. But, firstly, let’s discuss how you go through the process of registering unregistered land in the first place.

What is an unregistered property?

This could be land or a building such as a house, garage or even something as small as a shed. Basically, it’s any property that is legally owned but is yet to be registered with the Land Registry in the true owner’s name. The owner will usually have Title Deeds that explain how they came to own the property.

But simply having these Title Deeds doesn’t mean the property is registered, so to reap the benefits of having a registered property and to protect it from encroachment by others, it’s advised that you register the land as soon as you can.

The two ways of registering unregistered property

There are two types of registration, compulsory and voluntary. Here’s what you need to know about both.

Compulsory registration

Since 1925, a property that is ‘dealt with’ has the change of ownership officially registered and the new owner will receive a Title Register and Title Plan to confirm their ownership of the property. But what does ‘dealt with’ actually mean? It means that some activity has happened with the property that will trigger the compulsory registration. Some of these activities are as follows:

  • A new lease of 7 years or over is granted.
  • The first legal mortgage on an unregistered property is granted.
  • A Freehold Estate is transferred in a sale of purchase.
  • A Leasehold Estate is transferred with over 7 years remaining (this is known as assignment).

In all these cases, it’s a legal requirement for the land or property to be compulsorily registered. You can do this by registering online with the HM Land Registry

Voluntary registration

You don’t have to wait for the property to become ‘dealt with’ in order to register it. You can simply make a voluntary first registration application in the same place where you would compulsory register it.

While you can do this yourself, you can also instruct a land registry solicitor to do it if you want to make sure everything is done smoothly and legally. The solicitor can take your Title Deeds to find out how you came to own the property and submit an application to the Land Registry on your behalf, passing a copy of the Title Register onto you.


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BDC 314 : Mar 2024