Land Registry support for the public sector

13 February 2020

The Land Registry (the body responsible for registering ownership of and interests in land and buildings in England and Wales) has set a target of 2025 to register all freehold land owned by public sector authorities, including parish, town and community councils. A blog from the Head of Public Sector Strategy, which includes a link to a note explaining the benefits of registration, can be found here. The author of this News item has always found the Land Registry extremely helpful and co-operative. ‘Voluntary registration’ (the registration of properties where registration was not required on acquisition) is simple and cheap where the council has all the (original) deeds and the Land Registry will assist public sector bodies with any application. A solicitor will not normally be needed (but a solicitor will be needed where the council does not have all the deeds or wants to claim ‘squatter’s rights’ by reason of long occupation).

This is not mentioned in the blog but councils taking on leases, especially where they have not taken legal advice, sometimes fail to comply with the requirement to register (and with the requirement to make a Land Transaction Return to HMRC which could lead to a penalty).

Where property is held on charitable trusts the Land Registry has special requirements for registration (contained in Practice Guide 14); again these are sometimes not complied with.

The Society cannot provide legal advice on individual land transactions.

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