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There is still a surprising amount of land and property in England and Wales that is unregistered. This means that the Land Registry has no record of the ownership of the unregistered land. Therefore if you have unregistered land and you lose the title deeds there will be no back up records showing your ownership which can lead to difficulties in any future sales.
You don't need to purchase land to make sure your ownership becomes registered at the Land Registry. Voluntary registration offers proof of land ownership and protection against encroachment i.e. protection from squatters. If you have unregistered land it is recommended that you consider voluntary registration as it enables you to identify your landholdings and can simplify your title. This will make things easier if you come to sell the land. When you come to sell all or part of your land the conveyancing process should be more straightforward as you will have certainty of ownership. In addition many unregistered title deeds do not have a plan, or the plan is inaccurate. Once registration is completed a new plan will be produced clearly identifying the extent of the land within your ownership.
If you have lost your title deeds then you may still be able to register your ownership by producing statements (called Statutory Declarations) concerning your ownership. The Land Registry can then provide you with the Possessory Title if they are satisfied with the evidence provided. After 12 years you can then apply for Absolute Title which means that your ownership is guaranteed by the Land Registry. Therefore it is of the utmost importance if you have lost your title deeds to begin the process of Voluntary Registration sooner rather than later.
Once the land is registered, title deeds are effectively abolished and it is not then critical if the deeds are lost or destroyed. The Land Registry title deeds are stored on computer and therefore there is no possibility of there being any problems with lost title deeds.
The fees involved in Voluntary Registration are not as expensive as you may think. If you wish to discuss Voluntary Registration of your land please do not hesitate to contact one of our Conveyancing Team at either Shrewsbury, Telford or Newport.
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