Property Ownership Searches
Ownership of a Single Property
Ownership of a property in England and Wales is authenticated from two documents that are created by the Land Registry whenever a property purchase occurs. These two documents are the Title Register and Title Plan. Section B of the Register provides the name and address of the property owners (the registered proprietors) and states the date upon which they were registered and the amount they paid for the property.
The Register provides a considerable amount of important detail relating to the property ownership. The main function of the Title Plan is to show the extent of the property within the ownership and to illustrate parts of the property that may be affected by rights of way and covenants.
Ownership of a Block of Flats
There is often the need to discover the ownership details of all the individual flat owners in a block of flats, and also the freeholder. This search caters for that need and comprises a copy of the Title Register for each of the flats, and for the superior title (either freehold or superior leasehold).
The Lease is also provided as it contains the terms regulating the flats, details of all the covenants and easements and information relating to the common parts.
Derelict buildings are notoriously difficult to search for at the Land Registry because they have usually been dropped from the post office records and do not have post codes. They have to be searched for in the same way as a plot of land, i.e. by map.
We have two types of map search. It is the first of these, the standard map search, that is required for this search. On this application form, below, there is a map, which can be used to drop a pin on the building to be searched. Those details are sent to us with your search application.
Ownership of a Residential Street
Property professionals and laymen sometimes have the need for ascertaining the ownerships of all the properties in a street, sometimes because legal notices need to be served on them all, sometimes for survey matters and sometimes out of curiosity.
Where there is a freehold and leasehold title at any one property, only the leasehold title is provided. Blocks of flats are not included in the search.
Public and private organisations have been affected by the lessening of pedestrian trade in some of our most popular shopping streets. Allowing this to continue would be a grave oversight, and many organisations are seeking ways to bring them back into popular use.
To do this they need to know the names and addresses of the owners and tenants of the respective shops and also the many residential and commercial ownershps that will be mixed in. There will be freehold tenures and many leasehold tenures. Leaseholds may be either long or short. Leases of more than 7 years will mostly be registered; leases of 3 years to 7 years will not be registered but may be noted on the register.
This search caters for organisations wishing to obtain the contact details of as many as possible of the owners and tenants in a shopping street.
Charges are per Title and will comprise either a Freehold Title Register, a Leasehold Title Register or a Lease which has not been registered but has been noted on the Register. The first 10 documents are included in the search price and subsequent documents charged at £8.95 each.
Prior Ownership of a Property
In addition to obtaining copies of the current title register we can also obtain earlier copies, going back as far as April 1993 when the Land Registry began digitising their records. Each time there is a sale or mortgage of a registered property a new register is created so that only the current ownership and mortgage details are shown. Earlier copies show the position as at the date searched for.
Where needed, we can also obtain earlier copies of the title plan.
Ground Rents, Rent Charges and Chief Rents
All these terms mean the same thing. They are all ground rents and they apply where a long leasehold estate has been created out of a freehold estate, i.e. where a lease of more than 15 years has been created. The ground rent is usually a small annual fee that is payable to the freeholder. There is often difficulty in identifying the freeholder, particularly where the freehold estate is sold, often many times, to investors.
The ultimate penalty for non-payment of the ground rent is the forfeiture of the lease, and so it is in the best interests of the lease owners to identify the freeholder and to make the annual payments.
The Land Registry offer a buy-out service for those who are interested. They require a completed application form, together with a copy of the Lease (this is usually the document creating the Rent Charge) and the Title Registers, all of which are included in this search pack.
List of Properties Owned
Where the owner is a company, association, council, or other such organisation, we are able to search by name instead of by property address. This means that we can obtain a list of all the properties owned by an organisation or a list of all the charges owned by a mortgagee.
To complete the search we need the full address of one of the properties.
The situation often arises where the ownership deeds are lost, mislaid or destroyed by fire. If the property is registered we can obtain copies for you, usually within the hour, so this is not a problem.
The problem arises where the property is unregistered. As most properties in England and Wales are now registered the previous paragraph shows the most likely scenario. Our information guide explains what steps you need to take in the event the property is unregistered. The first step will be to confirm the property is not registered and that there are no claims pending against first registration. These two searches are included in our Lost Ownership Deeds search.