The land registration act 2002 came into force on 13th October 2003 completely replacing the law on land registration, together, the new Act and Rules govern the role and practice of Land Registry.

The Land Registration Act 2002 achieves the following:

  • it simplifies and modernises land registration law and is the first major overhaul of the land registration system for 75 years
  • it makes the register a more complete picture of a title to land – showing more fully the rights and interests affecting it
  • It provides a framework for the development of electronic conveyancing.

Major changes to the law and practice affect all those involved with registered land. In particular:

  • shorter leases must now be registered
  • voluntary registration is available for new types of interest in land
  • changes affect the protection of third party interests
  • The law of adverse possession (squatter’s rights) has been reformed.

The land registry consists of three main registers

The Property Register

This describes the property and includes all legal rights enjoyed by the property over neighbouring land, such as easements. It will refer to a filed plan prepared from an ordnance survey map and is called a title plan.

The Charges Register

This section shows details of any incumbrances registered against the estate, e.g. easements or restrictive covenants.

The Proprietorship Register

This shows the name and address of the registered proprietor of the relevant title, the date of registration and the nature of the title. It can also show any restriction on ownership including rights in equity behind a trust.

Since 1988 the general public has access to titles entered on to the register and can access them.

The LRA 2002 allows only two forms of protection for entires on the register: Notice and restriction. Some old methods such as Inhibitions have been abolished by the LRA 2002, Inhibitions have now been replaced by restrictions.

Summary of changes to Land registration under the 2002 act

  1. Extends complusary registrations of title to leases with more than seven years to run.
  2. Methods of protecting burdens reduced to two: Notices and restrictions.
  3. Mortgage by demise or sub-demise can no longer be granted over registered land.
  4. Overriding interests have been limited.
  5. Overriding interests have been split, those that effect on first registration and though that take effect on subsequent registration.
  6. The number of overriding interests have been reduced. Some will only apply for a limited time and some have been abolished such as equitable easements.
  7. There is a duty on the registered proprietor to disclose overriding rights on registration of the property if the right is known.
  8. The rules concerning adverse possession have been changed making it far more difficult to aquire such rights. Adverse possession rights are no longer overriding.
  9. All legal easements will be overriding on first registration but only implied legal easements will override on a subsequent registration.

10.  The act paves the way for the formation of a secure electronic network within which to carry out e-conveyancing, this will eventually allow for completion and registration to take place simultaneously.

The LRA 2002 is an amazing piece of legislation that moved the world of conveyencing forward a number of years, that said it is still a complicated issue.