Deducing title to unregistered land—compulsory first registration, party to register, evidence of title, good root of title and unbroken chain of ownership
Deducing title to unregistered land—compulsory first registration, party to register, evidence of title, good root of title and unbroken chain of ownership

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Deducing title to unregistered land—compulsory first registration, party to register, evidence of title, good root of title and unbroken chain of ownership
  • Compulsory first registration
  • Evidence of title
  • Good root of title
  • Unbroken chain of ownership

Compulsory first registration

The buyer of an unregistered freehold or lease with more than seven years unexpired (ie a qualifying estate) has a statutory duty to apply for first registration. The buyer must apply to register within two months. Failure to do so means the buyer will only receive an equitable title. Legal title will go back to the seller held on bare trust for the buyer. This carries a risk that a fraudulent seller could transfer the land elsewhere, leaving the buyer with only an action for breach of trust.

Buyer or seller to register?

The buyer should check that:

  1. on or after 13 October 2003, no transaction has been carried out that would have required the property to be registered at HM Land Registry—those transactions are:

    1. the transfer of a qualifying estate (excluding the transfer or grant of a leasehold estate in land under a relevant social housing tenancy):

      1. for valuable consideration, by way of gift or by a court order—an instrument at a negative value is included as being for valuable consideration or other consideration

      2. by means of an assent (including a vesting assent), or

      3. (since 6 April 2009) giving effect to a partition of land subject to a trust of land

        except a transfer by operation of law, the assignment of a mortgage term, or the assignment