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How Can I Sell an Unregistered Property?

Property Saviour » Land Registry » How Can I Sell an Unregistered Property?

Dealing with an unregistered property can be a tiring process whether it’s a house, flat, or building. With its lack of legal documentation, susceptibility to property fraud, along other issues—selling an unregistered property is not that easy.

Fortunately, only about 13% of land remains unregistered. The Land Registration Act of 2002 declares that all legal estates in Land across England & Wales must be registered with HM Land Registry.

Through this, the Parliament has implemented triggers that require compulsory registration before selling an unregistered property.

Most of the unregistered properties are inherited that an Executor must sell.  So, can you sell a house without the deeds?

Here at Property Saviour, we are experienced in buying unregistered properties. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help:

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Table of Contents

What is an unregistered property?

An unregistered property refers to a property that has not been recorded in the land registry, a database that maintains information on property ownership. If a property is not registered, its legal ownership may not be recognised.

Selling an unregistered house can be a complex and challenging process. An unregistered property is one that has not been recorded in the Land Registry, which is a database that maintains information on property ownership. This lack of legal documentation can lead to issues of ownership, making it difficult to prove that you are the rightful owner of the property. Here are some key points to consider when selling an unregistered house:

 

Issues with Unregistered Properties

  1. Lack of Legal Protection: Unregistered properties lack legal recognition of ownership, making it challenging to protect your rights against trespassers, squatters, or potential buyers.
  2. Increased Risk of Fraud: Unregistered properties are more susceptible to fraudulent activities, such as someone else claiming ownership or selling the property without your knowledge.
  3. Limited Access to Government Grants and Schemes: Certain government grants and schemes, such as home improvement grants, may not be available for properties that are not registered.
  4. Uncertainty of Boundaries: The documents used to determine boundaries are often unclear or do not contain the details you would see on the registered property, which can lead to disputes over ownership.

How do you know if a property is unregistered?

To know if a property is unregistered you can check the land registry online. In our experience, most unregistered properties are inherited. Therefore, a property valuation is required for probate

A derelict unregistered property
We helped this seller register their property, helped her track down missing mortgage deeds that were left in a bank vault.

Can you sell your unregistered house?

Yes, you can sell your unregistered house. You will need to produce the original title deeds for the property.

You’ll need the title deeds to demonstrate ownership of the property. The buyer’s conveyancing solicitor can then apply to the land registry to register the property. The buyer’s solicitor may also request that you register the property before the sale takes place.

Your solicitor will also need to produce an epitome of title, which shows how you have come to own the property. This will be traced back to a “root of title” – a document that states who owned the property at least 15 years ago.

Your solicitor will use this document as the starting point, and from there trace how ownership has changed hands up until you. This will prove that you lawfully own the property.

If the title deeds are not available, you’ll need to explain to the land registry (with evidence) why they are not available and prove that you are the genuine owner of the property. You can do this with:

  1. An ST3 form and supporting evidence, such as utility bills,
  2. Mortgage payments,
  3. Electoral roll records,
  4. And a copy of the contract of sale from when you bought the property.
 
Be prepared for delay and further evidence required by the Land Registry.  The process of selling an unregistered property can take up to six months.
 
You can voluntarily register the property at the Land Registry before selling.  This will make the process easier.

What are the issues with unregistered properties?

Unregistered properties present several issues that can create delays and risks when buying or owning a property.

Issues

Lack of legal protection

Unregistered properties lack legal recognition of ownership, making it challenging to protect your rights against trespassers, squatters, or potential buyers. You could lose possession of your property or face legal challenges proving ownership.

A legal concept that allows individuals such as squatters to claim ownership of unregistered properties under fulfilled specific conditions.

Increased risk of fraud

Unregistered properties are more susceptible to fraudulent activities, such as someone else claiming ownership or selling the property without your knowledge.

Properties Passing of the Crown

Legal ownership of a property can be transferred to the Crown if it cannot be established after the death of the owner.

Limited access to government grants and schemes

Certain government grants and schemes, such as home improvement grants, may not be available for properties that are not registered. Unregistered properties may not be eligible for these grants.

These issues highlight the importance of addressing the registration of unregistered properties to ensure a smooth and secure property transaction process.

What happens if there are no deeds to a house?

If the deeds were lost or damaged while in the care of a financial or legal institution, such as a building society, bank, or solicitors, the Land Registry will register the property with an absolute title after reviewing the evidence. If the evidence is not satisfactory, the property will be registered with a possessory title.

 

At Property Saviour, we have dealt with numerous sellers of unregistered properties. One such example is a seller who had inherited a property from a deceased relative. The property had been in the family for generations and had never been registered. We worked with the seller to gather all necessary documentation and evidence to prove ownership, and eventually, the property was sold successfully.

 

We can help, get in touch.

selling unregistered property
Houses in area of low value tend to be unregistered. A cash advance from cash buyer can help expedite registration process with a guaranteed sale.

How much does it cost to register an unregistered property?

The cost to register an unregistered property may vary depending on the value of the property being registered. For reference, these are fees payable to the Land Registry:

  • Properties valued up to £50,000 require a registration fee of £40.
  • For properties valued between £500,001 and £1,000,000, the registration fee is £270.

 

Your solicitor may charge another £500-£1,000 for their service.

Find out how much it will cost by visiting this government website.

Who should register the property?

Either the buyers or sellers can register a property. The process of registering a property can be lengthy.

To avoid discouraging potential buyers, sellers should register the property before listing it for sale.  However, we’ll buy your unregistered property for cash.

How do I register my property at the land registry?

You can register your property at the Land Registry by submitting application forms. For unregistered properties, a search from the land-charged department with a form K15 is necessary. This search will provide information on previous land ownership since 1925.

Once done, complete form FR1 to apply for the first registration for your property. This should be sent to the land registry, along with the property scale drawing and registration fee.

If you are purchasing an unregistered property, you should also send a TR1 or whole transfer form along with these other documents.

How long does it take to register an unregistered property
Registering property can be a lengthy process, and on average, it takes between 6 and 9 months to create a new registered title.

How long does it take to register an unregistered property?

It can take the Land Registry several months to register an unregistered property. 

Registering property can be a lengthy process, and on average, it takes between 6 and 9 months to create a new registered title. To avoid any potential delays when selling, it is recommended that you register your property well ahead of time.

If you need to sell an inherited property, we can help expedite the registration process and buy your property in its current condition without requiring an expensive refurbishment.

Is Land Registry a legal requirement?

If you acquire unregistered land or property, or if you mortgage it, it is necessary to register it for the first time. Registering provides proof of ownership and safeguards your land from fraud.

These are triggers for compulsory registration at the Land Registry:

  1. Sale or Transfer;
  2. Voluntary registration;
  3. Grant of a new Lease;
  4. First legal mortgage.

 

If you are looking to sell unregistered property, you must produce original title deeds which prove your ownership.  If your property was subject to a mortgage, these deeds could be held by the bank or building society or at a firm of solicitors who acted in conveyancing transactions.

Title deeds must be analysed to produce a good ‘Root of Title’ that goes back at least 15 years to obtain ‘Title Absolute’. 

The plan within the deeds that identify the extent of the land must be analysed.  ‘Root of Title’ means that a timeline of ownership created should end with you or your parents if they have passed away.

Once this has been established, your solicitor will require the original deeds along with the Root of Title and organise it into an Epitome of Title.  This must be sent to HM Land Registry for first registration along with a correct fee.

If you are unable to produce relevant deeds, we can still help you sell your property.  You can register the property under a lower class of title called ‘Possessory Title’.  It means that you have property but does not necessarily prove your ownership.  Any normal buyer will require ‘Title Absolute’ as that’s the best title for a property.  Because we are cash buyers, we can still help you obtain a Possessory Title and sell your property.

We’ll also pay for your legal fees should you decide to sell the property to us.  Your solicitor will then provide you with expert advice and assist with registration matters.

How can I sell unregistered property?

Property Saviour will buy any property, regardless of its condition, anywhere in England or Wales.

We can make you a cash offer and assist you with your first registration, pay all your legal fees and complete the purchase as soon as possible.

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