Unregistered houses or property is land or property which has not yet been registered at the Land Registry. Under the Land Registration Acts all land must now be registered upon “disposition” such as a change of ownership or upon mortgaging. For example, the delay caused by unregistered houses could mean that the asset protection aspects of a Family Trust could be affected.
Very little in England & Wales remain unregistered houses apart from land which has remained in the same ownership and had no mortgages granted over it for a considerable period of time. The process of registering unregistered houses or land is not that complex – provided you can find all the documents. Many people do it themselves.
This means that much of the remaining unregistered houses are owned by people who are more advanced in years and unfortunately upon their death the title deeds often cannot be found (though they might well have known where they were kept.) As it is unlikely that there is any mortgage outstanding the deeds are often no longer held by the Bank and, if deposited elsewhere, records of where the deeds are stored may also have been lost. In such circumstances there can be considerable difficulties for the Personal Representatives in selling the property.
If your home or your parents home is unregistered it is best advice to make an application to the Land Registry for voluntary registration without delay.
It will be necessary to produce the deeds and documents of title or, if lost, then to prepare a “reconstruction of title.” If reconstruction is required, the earlier the process is put in place the easier it will be for all concerned. It will be based on any documentary evidence which can be found/traced along with Sworn Statements (Statutory Declarations) by the person/s claiming ownership. Under such circumstances it is likely that the Land Registry will initially only grant either “possessory title” or “qualified title” rather than the usual “title Absolute” and a further application to the Land Registry will need to be made after the expiry of certain time limits. If you intend to sell, transfer or mortgage a property where unregistered title deeds have been lost and a re-construction of title is required, then the buyer or mortgage lender will also usually require indemnity insurance to be put in place to protect their interest should a valid claim be made against the title before it is upgraded to “title absolute” by the Land Registry in order to proceed.