The ‘registration gap’
The ‘registration gap’

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

  • The ‘registration gap’
  • What is the problem?
  • Leases
  • What is the solution?
  • Consideration of issues by the Law Commission

The ‘registration gap’ is the period of time between completion of the transfer of a property (the legal process of transferring the title to the property as between vendor and purchaser) and the subsequent entry of the transaction on the register of title at HM Land Registry, thereby effecting the transfer under section 27(1) of the Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA 2002).

LRA 2002, s 27(1) provides that:

‘If a disposition of a registered estate or registered charge is required to be completed by registration, it does not operate at law until the relevant registration requirements are met.’

Therefore, in relation to both freehold and leasehold registered land, legal title does not pass to the transferee until it is registered as proprietor at HM Land Registry. The transferee is merely the owner in equity until registration.

Brown & Root concerned the validity of a break notice served during the registration gap by the assignor rather than the assignee. The Court of Appeal held that because the assignment had not been completed by registration, the legal estate remained with the assignor and therefore the notice had been validly served.

Conversely, on completion of a transaction regarding unregistered land, legal title passes on completion. However, the transaction must be registered at HM Land Registry within two months, failing which the legal title will revert to the transferor.