Registered and Unregistered Estates
⇒ There are two parallel regimes of land law operating in England and Wales
⇒ The first (and more important) regime governs freehold and leasehold estates in land which are registered with the Land Registry
- The land Registry lists all the freehold and leasehold estates over land in England and Wales along with the current owner of that estate
⇒ The second regime (and the focus of these notes) governs estates in land which are not registered with the Land Registry
⇒ In the present day, around 95% of estates in land are registered
⇒ This figure is gradually increasing due to voluntary registration (Land Registration Act 2002 s.3) and compulsory registration (Land Registration Act 2002 s.4) of title.
- In other words, compulsory registration of an unregistered estate in land can be triggered by a number of transaction listed in the LRA 2002, s.4
- For example, if you sell your unregistered land today there is a legal obligation for the new owner of the freehold to register it. This is also the case where you simply give the land away.
- Within the next few years every dealing with land will involve a registered estate and the unregistered regime will be redundant.
⇒ But for now there is a residual need to understand the unregistered regime
The Significance of the Land Registry
⇒ Under the registered regime, title to an estate in land is constituted by the formal record of the Land Registry
⇒ BUT title to an unregistered estate in land is founded upon unchallenged possession of the land
⇒ Possession of land comprises a physical and a mental component
⇒ In other words, possession of land can be established only by a person who is both in factual possession of the land and who intends to possess the land