For the most part, compulsory registration of land and property in Cumbria and Lancashire, triggered by a sale or transfer or mortgage, came into effect in the late 1980s.

A Law Commission report explained the reasoning for the change:

“… the register should be a complete and accurate reflection of the state of the title of the land at any given time, so that it is possible to investigate title to land online, with the absolute minimum of additional inquiries and inspections.”

With the range of transactions subject to compulsory first registration having increased over the years, most lawyers now encourage voluntary registration.

There are many advantages to applying for voluntary registration, for example:

Proving your title does not rely on you having in your possession title deeds which can become lost or destroyed.
It is more difficult for squatters to occupy registered land.
Where an unregistered title is complex, its registration will make title investigation clearer for potential buyers and speed up the conveyancing process.
It is easier to find out the owner of a property or area of land via the Land Registry.
If some or all of the title deeds are missing, registration can make a title more acceptable, supported by a statement of truth made by the owner.
Once the title is registered, it is guaranteed by the state and compensation is payable should the register be rectified and the registered proprietor suffer loss.
Reduced fees apply on voluntary applications.

If there has been no transaction concerning the land for many years, such as a sale, lease, transfer or mortgage, then it is possible that the land will still be unregistered at the Land Registry. It is still quite common to find unregistered property. Our solicitors at Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand have a wealth of experience in this field, dealing with unregistered property on a daily basis.

We would highly recommend applying to register your property if you know it has not yet been done. If you are not sure whether the property is registered or not, we can also undertake a free search online at the Land Registry on your behalf. Our basic charge for a first registration application starts from £250 plus VAT, plus a Land Registry fee which is calculated on the value of the property.

For further information, please contact one of our property specialists either at our office at Lancaster on 01524 846846, or Kirkby Lonsdale on 015242 71388.