A guide on using the land registry as a Landlord

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land registry

The Land Registry plays a pivotal role in the UK property market. As a landlord, having a solid understanding of what the Land Registry does and the resources it offers is crucial for protecting your investments and helping them grow.

What is the land registry?

The Land Registry, as described on their website is a ‘Non-ministerial governmental department that registers the ownership of land and property in England and Wales’.

This may include keeping track of things like ownership changes, mortgages, leases, and other interests affecting land and property.

Who should use the land registry?

landlords should use the Land Registry as a valuable resource for safeguarding their property investments, verifying ownership details, and accessing essential property-related information.

woman contemplating if she should use the land registry

Estate agents or those working on behalf of a landlord can also access the land registry on behalf of the landlord but the land registry itself is accessible to any member of the public here.

When should a landlord use the land registry?

The Land Registry is not just beneficial but essential for ensuring smooth operations and safeguarding your investments. In general, you, as a landlord should use the land registry during:

Property Acquisition: Use the Land Registry to verify ownership details, confirm property boundaries, and conduct thorough due diligence before finalising a purchase.

Property Maintenance: Landlords often need to access property-related information for maintenance and repair purposes.

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The Land Registry provides valuable data on property boundaries, easements, and legal interests that can inform maintenance activities and help landlords comply with regulatory requirements.

Dispute Resolution: In the unfortunate event of disputes or legal proceedings related to property ownership or tenancy agreements, landlords can rely on the Land Registry to provide official documentation and evidence to support their claims.

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Property Sale or Transfer: When selling or transferring ownership of a rental property, landlords must update the Land Registry with the relevant information to ensure a smooth transition of ownership. This helps protect both the seller’s and the buyer’s interests and ensures compliance with legal requirements.

What information is available on the land registry?

Beyond the register itself, the Land Registry website offers landlords a wealth of property data to inform decisions. From title deeds to house price trends, here’s an overview of the information landlords can access. Here are all the sections the land registry highlighted in detail.

Property ownership information

In this section of the land registry, you can download information from the title register, title plan and the property summary. Here are their respective costs:

Service Cost
Property Summary Free
Title Register £3
Title Plan £3

Title register

Here, you can find information about the property’s title number, who owns the property at the current time, how much the property was last sold for during its most recent sale.

Also, things like whether the property has a mortgage, details of any restriction to do with building on the land and rights of one piece of land over another, like a right of way. Currently, the cost of this service is £3.

Title plan

The title plan refers to the architectural plan of a plot of land. This can give you in depth details about the areas nearby and will help with assessing the true boundaries of a property. The cost of this service is £3 but you may have to get some plans sent to you by post which will cost £7.

Property summary

The property summary is free to access here and includes basic information like the address and the address held by Royal Mail, the property description.

Property summary from the land registry

Also information about whether the property is leasehold, freehold or commonhold is included here alongside if there are any restrictions on what to build on the land. However, details about these restriction will have to be found in the title register.

Title deeds

The title deeds of a property shows the present and historical details regarding a registered property, including its former and current owners.

What is a deed?

A deed refers to a legal document that formally conveys or transfers ownership of land or property from one party to another. Deeds serve as evidence of property ownership

A title deed from the land registry

How do you get a copy of the deeds?

To obtain a copy of the deeds, first confirm whether the property or land is registered by clicking here.

Then, for a fee of £3, download the title register, where you’ll find if the deeds are marked as ‘filed’. In such cases, HM Land Registry holds a scanned copy.

Lastly, complete the deeds request form here using the property’s title number obtained from the title register.

House prices

This feature of the land registry is relatively simple. Just click here to find the previous sold prices of houses in the area based on the UK House Price Index. While you’re at it, you can find the trends in the area by also clicking here.

Business services

The section of the land registry related to the services available for business owners who are in the business of land and property. There are various links to conveyancing services, ownership verification services and spatial data.

You can also find in this section information related to the mortgages such as how to charge validation for mortgage lenders and lender services from the land registry themself.

Land registry business services

Information on Fees and forms

The range of fees and forms in this section relate to what to do in certain situations. when dealing with property in the UK. Links to these forms can be found here where you can download them straight from the government website.

Change the register (AP1 form)

Use this form to request changes to the register of a property, such as updating ownership details or adding/removing restrictions.

Deceased joint proprietor (DJP form)

Complete this form to inform HM Land Registry about the death of a joint owner of a property. This is the right legal process to move forward and make sure the proprietor’s share of the deal is dealt with how they wanted if they had a will.

Official copies of documents: registration (OC2 form)

Request official copies of documents related to the registration of a property, such as title deeds or lease agreements.

OC2 form from the land registry

Enter a restriction: registration (RX1 form)

Using this form you can apply for a restriction to be added to the register of a property, which can limit certain actions without specific consent

Whole Transfer TR1 form

Use this form when transferring the entire ownership of a property to another party. This is commonly used when and land or property is sold.

Application for an official search (SIM form)

Submit this form to request an official search of a property’s information, including boundaries and ownership details. You submit this form to the land registry who will process your request on your behalf.

Overwhelmed with the number of forms on the land registry?

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Datasets

Datasets are there for those who are analysing property. They can help you predict trends in the future or help you find the best areas of London to locate your next property investment.

Land registration guides

In this section of the Land Registry, you can find guides that help you with how to use the land registry.

There are guides like “Official searches” offer insights into conducting thorough searches to uncover essential information about properties, including ownership details and existing charges. This knowledge is vital for buyers, sellers, and legal professionals involved in property transactions.

Property boundary advice

This section of the Land Registry website in the UK provides guidance on property boundaries for residents of England and Wales.

It explains that there is typically no official record of the exact boundary between two properties or the ownership of features like hedges, walls, trees, or fences between them.

The guidance suggests that while title plans offer an indication of property boundaries, they often lack precision, and exact boundaries don’t necessarily need to be recorded. Residents who believe there’s an error on their title plan can apply to have it corrected.

An architectural plan from the land regsitry

Additionally, it outlines options for recording boundaries more precisely, such as reaching a boundary agreement with neighbours or applying for a determined boundary.

Portal to register land or property

This section of the Land Registry website in the UK outlines the registration requirements for land and property owners.

It clarifies that registration is mandatory for various scenarios, including purchasing, receiving as a gift, inheriting, exchanging for other property, or mortgaging a property. Check it out here.

Search for local land charges

This section of the Land Registry website in the UK provides a tool for searching local land charges affecting land and property in England and Wales.

Local land charges can impose restrictions on land use, such as planning conditions, highways agreements, tree preservation orders, and conservation areas.

land charges

Users can access this service to check for local land charges, enabling them to understand any limitations or obligations associated with a property. start your property search using this link.

How to use the land registry efficiently as a landlord?

With knowledge of what the Land Registry offers, landlords can use it strategically to verify details, confirm legal compliance, and support various processes. We’ll summarize key steps landlords should take at different stages.

What should you check before putting in an offer?

Before putting in an offer on a property, landlords should check several things:

Title Register and Title Plan in the ‘Get Information About Property and Land’ section to check ownership details and boundaries.

They should use the ‘Download Documents’ service in the ‘Find a Property’ section to obtain copies of legal documents like leases and planning consents. The House Price Index provides local sales data to inform offer prices detailed like the image below.

UK House price index from the land registry

What should you check after a property visit?

After viewing, landlords can apply for an ‘Official Search’ using the SIM form to verify claims about utilities and planning. They should also check the ‘Local Land Charges’ register for any enforcement issues.

What do you need to use the Land Registry for if selling?

When selling, sellers need to complete the ‘Change the Register’ AP1 form to update ownership. They can provide buyers with ‘Official Copies of Documents’ using the OC2 form. Any ‘Restrictions’ like building covenants can be removed using the RX1 form too.

Are there tips to put up a counteroffer if you’re not happy when selling?

If unhappy with an offer, the seller can provide evidence like surveys from the ‘Property Information’ section. They can also reference sales data from the ‘UK House Price Index’ to justify a higher counteroffer.

How to use the land registry when dealing with an agent?

When dealing with an agent, use the ‘Find a Property’ section to get the Title Register, Title Plan, and title deeds to verify ownership details the agent provides.

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Use ‘Download Documents’ to obtain copies of leases, planning consents, etc. Check ‘Local Land Charges’ for any restrictions on the property.

How estate agents use the land registry

Estate agents use services like ‘Find a Property’ and ‘Download Documents’ to access title registers, title plans, and legal documents to confirm ownership when marketing a property for sale. They search ‘Local Land Charges’ to identify any restrictions on land use too.

Is the land registry useful for renting out your property?

Yes, the Land Registry is very useful for renting out property. Use ‘Find a Property’ and ‘Download Documents’ to verify ownership and get copies of leases when acquiring a rental property.

A man looking at the local land charges on the land registry

Check ‘Local Land Charges’ for any limitations. Use the AP1 form when transferring ownership to your rental business.

What other due diligence can you do for a property besides looking at the land registry?

Checking these key property aspects in addition to Land Registry information provides a more complete picture of the property’s condition and rentability before finalizing a purchase. Conducting thorough due diligence protects landlords’ investments.

Check the EPC rating of a property

Check the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating to understand the property’s energy efficiency and potential improvement requirements. Properties with low EPC ratings may need upgrades before renting out.

Find out when the last gas safety check was

Request a copy of the most recent annual Gas Safety Certificate from the current owners to verify gas appliances have been inspected and deemed safe. Gas certificates must legally be renewed annually for rental properties.

A fireplace with a gas safety check in the UK

Ask the current owners

Speak with the current owners to find out about any ongoing maintenance issues, recent repairs or replacements, and any planning applications they may have made. Their insights will highlight works needed.

Looking at the electrical safety of a property

Hire an electrician to test the electrical safety and issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report. This will identify any urgent rewiring, earthing issues, or device faults needing correction to meet safety standards.

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