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Registration and title advice

What we can help you with

  • Voluntary First Registration
  • Title investigations
  • Land Registry enquiries
  • Possessory title applications

Why Thomson Hayton Winkley?

Since December 1990 it has been compulsory to register land and property with the Land Registry when it is sold, transferred or leased for more than 7 years.

According to the Land Registry, over 85% of land in England and Wales is registered. Much of the remaining unregistered land includes large estates owned by the Crown or Church. There are also many houses and farms still in family ownership which might not be registered until someone moves on.

There are also lots of pockets of unregistered land. This might be because ownership of this land has not been claimed by anyone, or it might be because errors have been made when adjoining land has been registered. This can be a particular problem with fields in rural areas, or in towns where there are yards and lanes between properties which appear not to be registered to anyone.

It is therefore possible to apply voluntarily to register any unregistered land that you own before you come to sell it, saving time and money in the long run.  Even is your property is already registered, there may be issues or anomalies with your registered title, or title plan.  We can investigate these for you and seek amendments if necessary.

By choosing Thomson Hayton Winkley to deal with your registration and title queries, you can be assured that we will have the expertise and attention to detail to ensure this is is done correctly, leaving no stone unturned.

Answering your questions

What is Voluntary First Registration?

The process of registering previously unregistered land with the Land Registry outside of a property transfer transaction.  Doing so will give you proof of ownership and will make things easier and quicker if you want to move in the future, or if you were to die.  It can also help protect your land from property fraud, which is a growing area of concern.


What documents do you need for First Registration?

We will need to see all deeds and documents that you have.  Finding these might not be straightforward, particularly if it is some time since the you bought the property, or if there have been various gifts over the years.  Further complications can arise if originally the land you own was part of a bigger estate which has been separated and sold off over time.  We need to ensure that the necessary rights are in place and that all of the boundaries are correct.

What if deeds are missing or there is a problem?

If certain key deeds cannot be found, it might be necessary for us to obtain “Statutory Declarations” from previous owners or neighbours who can give evidence based on their own knowledge and understanding about, for example, who had right or way, or where a boundary lies.  These can often help to fill in the gaps and allow registration to take place.

What is adverse possession?

If you have occupied land that is within the physical boundary of your property, but is not shown as belonging to you on your title plan, this could be down to a historical error, leading to inaccuracies on your title plan.  You may be able to claim possessory title to this land, by making an application for adverse possession.  This should be relatively straight forward if nobody else has a claim over the land.

Adverse possession claims can also be more contentious, if the land is already registered to another party who claims that the land is theirs.

Different rules apply, depending on the circumstances and we would be happy to advise in your particular case.

Don't take our word for it