Unregistered Land - Ownership Search

Who owns unregistered land?

Finding the owners of unregistered land and buildings is a difficult task. A lot of people even make the false connection that unregistered land and buildings are ownerless and this is not the case at all. You may have to learn about finding people for free so you can find a land owners quickly.

Unregistered land is simply land or buildings that have not been registered with HM Land Registry. This means that there is no title plan of the land showing the boundary lines and there is no title register showing the proprietor, this means that the owner will have old fashioned title deeds to prove ownership of the land, these deeds could be stored at the owners home address or with the mortgage company if there is a outstanding mortgage on the land.

So how do you go about finding the owners of unregistered land? Well there is no simple answer. There is certainly no database that you can access to find out and although more and more unregistered land is getting registered as it has to now when it is sold in a process called first registration, there are still an estimated 40 million plots of unregistered land in England and Wales, most of these are in rural areas although it is surprising how many buildings in built up areas are still unregistered, most of know of a property that has been left empty since we were young.

If you do find a piece of unregistered land that you wish to buy and you can agree a price with the owner there are several legal points that are worth considering,

  • The purchase of the land with an unregistered title involves investigation of the title deeds on each transaction
  • Sale of unregistered land triggers first registration of the title.
  • Unregistered land titles are subject to Land Charge Act of 1972
  • Rights affecting unregistered land must be registered as land charges at land Registry

There are more so it is worth looking into the legal requirements of registering the piece of land with Land Registry.

Unregistered land will always be an interesting area of discussion right up until the day when all land and properties are registered but that day is a long way away.

There are several ways to find out who owns land and several land searches that you can do. You should first use a company to perform some simple land registry searches for you, these can be cheap but immediately let you know who owns the land if it is already registered. Secondly if the land is unregistered you should immediately perform a Search of the index map to see if land registry has any information relating to the property. Finally if you still draw a blank you may be best to try and obtain professional help, there is at least one company that specialises in finding the owners of unregistered land.