Most residential property is now automatically registered on an electronic register at the Land Registry following a sale or transfer- this is not necessarily the case with agricultural land. This land may be the subject of a trust or it has been owned through generations of a family for a considerable period of time. This means that the trigger for compulsory first registration does not happen.
On initial investigation this may seem an advantage. However, registration provides several benefits:
1. It provides a modern scale plan clearly identifying ownership. Historical deeds often have either no plan, or if there is a plan (and generally speaking this will not be to scale) it either refers to neighbours who are long dead or to historical field names or numbers difficult to identify. This makes it tricky to establish where the boundaries of a particular field may be, or indeed where any such field or land is!
2. Even many professionals are not familiar with unregistered land and are therefore unable or ill qualified to deal with it. This means that when a landowner wishes to sell property a buyer’s solicitor often refuses to proceed unless registration is carried out first by the seller. This process can take up to a year.
3. It provides absolute evidence of ownership. This protects a landowner from a third person acquiring “squatters rights” or a neighbour registering it in their own name.
4 . If unregistered deeds get lost or are damaged in a fire, there is no way of replacing them and therefore no evidence of ownership remains. The only possible course of action is to apply to the Land Registry to see if some form of title can be provided. If it can, it will nearly always be a lesser form of title then by deed and it will often prove difficult if not impossible to sell or mortgage.
For further information on Agricultural Land ownership contact Skipton Solicitor Rachel Blandford-Newson on (01756) 692 882 or email Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Blandford- Newson
Legal Executive (Agriculture)
Tel: (01756) 793 333