First registration of title to unregistered land

This section contains precedents and guidelines to help you to prepare applications for registration in the Land Registry.


Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Act sets out the categories of land which are subject to a requirement for compulsory registration. These are:

  • ​freehold land acquired under the Land Purchase Acts
  • land which is sold or leased for a period in excess of 21 years
  • land compulsorily acquired by a government department or other public or local body
  • leases created out of registered land which are for a term exceeding twenty one years or which are for the term of a life or lives
  • fee farm rents and certain sporting and fishing rights held in gross which are created out of registered land
  • any estate in land which is required by any statutory provision to be registered in the Land Registry. (In the past the most common registrations in this category were made under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act 1899)

An application for registration (whether compulsory or voluntary) may be made with a good fee farm grant title, a good leasehold title, an absolute title, a qualified title or a possessory title. A brief guide to appropriate classes of title is set out in Table A.

Table A

Nature of applicants title

Appropriate class of title


(a) Lease for 21 years or less - no registration required
(b) Lease for more than 21 years
(c) As in (b), where the lessor's title is an unencumbered fee simple (not held under a fee farm grant) having a good root of title more than 15 years old

(a) Not applicable
(b) Good Leasehold
(c) Absolute

Freehold under a fee farm grant

(a) Fee Farm Grant less than 15 years old
(b) Fee Farm Grant more than 15 years old
(c) As in (a) and (b), and the grantor's title is an unencumbered fee simple (not held under a superior grant) having a good root of title more than 15 years old.

(a) Qualified
(b) Good Fee Farm Grant
(c) Absolute

Fee simple (not held under a Fee Farm Grant)

(a) Having a good root of title more that 15 years old
(b) Acquired under a Vesting Order
(c) Otherwise

(a) Absolute
(b) Absolute
(c) Qualified or Possessory

Adverse possession

Where the title of the applicant, or his predecessors in title was acquired by adverse possession


If in any of the above instances there is a 'gap' in title, arising after the date of the root of title, this must be disclosed in the application.

Applications for first registration are governed by Rules 11 to 15 (as amended). Applications for first registration should be made using LR form 1.

The following precedents are based on that form and are designed to portray some reasonably common situations. They may, of course, be amended as circumstances require.

Please also see Land Registry Practice Direction 2/2011 - Freehold titles acquired under the Ground Rents Act (Northern Ireland) 2001.

The documents to be lodged in the Registry are:

  • the Form 1 application for first registration duly completed and signed by a Solicitor
  • an up-to-date Ordnance Survey map on the largest published scale – ideally an ACE (Address Centred Extract) map which is available from the OSNI online map shop – with the boundaries outlined accurately in red; the map should, of course, show the outline of the entire property, not just the house
  • the root of title, (ie. the original fee farm grant, lease or conveyance) and any Certificate of Redemption under the Ground Rents (NI) Act 2001
  • the purchase deed
  • the purchaser’s mortgage (if any) together with a duplicate or certified copy if a Certificate of Charge is required
  • any other deed which created a right or an encumbrance, and which has been referred to in Form 1
  • LR form 100 and the appropriate registration fee, including a fee for a new Land Certificate, if required

Lost deeds

For more information on Lost deeds, please see:  

Variations for applications for a qualified title

Complete Panel 5 of LR form1 by ticking the box, and for qualified title indicate the reason why the title should be qualified. Alternatively, the application may be made in accordance with rule 12 (as amended).

Application for a possessory title

Form 1 should not be used where title to land has been acquired by way of adverse possession. Such applications should be based on the applicant's own affidavit (Precedent 7.E) and be supported by a corroborative affidavit of an independent person (Precedent 7.F).

A vesting order relating wholly or partly to unregistered land must be lodged in the Registry along with an application for first registration of the title to that land. The following precedent has the advantage of avoiding the need for the production of Registry of Deeds searches against a public body.

Cautions against first registration

Anyone entitled to an interest in unregistered land, who is concerned that some other person may intend to apply for first registration of that land, may apply for a caution against first registration by lodging an application (Precedent 3.I) together with an up-to-date Ordnance Survey map, on the largest published scale, ideally an ACE (Address Centred Extract) map which is available from the OSNI online map shop  – with the boundaries outlined accurately in red. The application should be accompanied by LR form 100 and the appropriate fee (see Section 65 and Rule 17). 


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