Land Registers - glossary of terms

The information below explains the terms used in Land Registry.

Abandonment (notice of)

Where a dealing has not been proceeded for a period of at least one month the Land Registry can (after notice) treat it as "abandoned" and send documents back to the solicitor, retaining a portion of the fees paid.

Absolute title

This specifies the quality of title which the Registered Owner has and is the best possible title. Generally if the land has been bought for full price over 15 years ago and a chain of ownership since then can be shown, the title may be registered as absolute.

Act (the)

The 1970 Land Registration Act as amended by the Registration (Land and Deeds) Order (NI) 1992.


"Letters of" - "Grant of" - a document giving the person named thereon authority to administer (dispose of) the estate of a deceased person (when there is no "Executor" appointed by a will).


Sum of money "advanced" or lent (mortgage).

Adverse possession (Application)

Someone who has no documents to prove his ownership to land applies to be registered by the mere fact that he and perhaps previous owners have been in undisputed possession for a statutory period (normally, but not always, 12 years). This is sometimes called a "Squatters Title". All rightful claims have been extinguished by passage of time. The resultant title is likely to be termed "possessory". Applications relating to registered land are Section 53 applications and those relating to unregistered land are First Registrations.


A sworn statement.


Change of ownership of land.

Alteration of description

Where the description of the land appearing on a Folio has changed due to boundary changes or updating by Ordnance Survey, mapping section will issue a Certificate to change it.


A sum of money payable annually. Land Purchase Annuity - whereby virtually all farms were purchased by former tenant farmers from 1891 to 1936.

Appurtenant right (appurtenance)

A right which the owner of land has over land belonging to another person, for example, when the owner of Folio A has a right of way over the land in Folio B - the right of way is said to be "appurtenant" to Folio 'A'.


A document made by the personal representative of a deceased person (Administrator or Executor) vesting land in the person now entitled to the ownership.


A transfer of leasehold land (usually unregistered).

Attorney (Power of)

A person authorised to act (sign Deeds) on behalf of another. Power of Attorney - the document which gives the authority.


To state under oath. Averment - a sworn statement. Any statement in an Affidavit.


These are entries on the Folio of matters which adversely affect the property in some way, for example, a right of way across it, right of residence or charge payable out of the land. On new type or old scheduled type Folios, ie those in three parts, they are entered in Part III.


This is an entry appearing in red on the Folio entitling a person who claims an interest in land to be notified if the Registered Owner (or his personal representative) attempts to deal with it. Other red entries are Inhibitions, Pending Actions and Bankruptcy Petitions.

Certificates: Certificates of charge

These are certificates issued to lenders of money to show the ownership of a charge.

Certificates of identity

A confirmation that a person named in a document is one and the same as the registered owner such as death and marriage certificates - Grants of Probate. 

Certificates of satisfaction

A certificate by the Enforcement of Judgments Office stating that a debt due under an Order Charging Land or other judgment of the court has been discharged - paid.

Certificate: Land

A Land Certificate is the Registered Owner's Deed of Title to registered land. Although it is a copy of the Folio, it may not be up to date and it must be updated, if necessary, whenever it is lodged.

Charge (mortgage)

This is a burden which renders the land liable for payment of a sum of money due to some party who may be registered as the owner of that charge.

Charging order - (more properly called order charging land )

An Order made by the Enforcement of Judgments Office for payment of debt. It creates a 'Charge'. The Creditor is shown as owning the charge.

Collection number

Receivable Order Number. These are references entered on some Folios at the foot of page one relating to the Land Purchases Annuities.


Purchase price shown on transfer or "natural love and affection" - Exchange". 

Consolidation (note land purchase annuity)

A note on a Folio (in margin beside "Description of Land") stating that the land in the Folio is "Consolidated" for Land Purchase Annuity purposes with another Folio.


Transfer usually of unregistered freehold land.


A promise by a land owner to do or, more commonly, not to do something with his land.

Date stamp

Applications for registration are date stamped as of the date of lodgement.


When a solicitor or member of the public sends documents to Land & Property Services for registration, an application number is allocated and the file called a "Dealing", "Case" or "Application".

Dedication (deed of)

A piece of land in a Folio is given over ("dedicated") by the registered owner to be used as a public road.


  • legal documents executed under seal
  • short slang term for "Registry of Deeds"

Deemed possessory

A class of title - inferior to absolute. Land subject to "Equities" (See "Equities").

This should not be confused with "Possessory" Title


A lease. Land leased for a term of years is said to be "demised".

Deposit of land certificate

See "Notice of Deposit".


To give freehold land by will (leasehold lands are "bequeathed") that which is devised by a will.


A burden - a right over the land in favour of other land eg right of way - right to enter the land - right to install pipes, septic tanks, drains, namely the land in Folio A has a right of way over the land in Folio B - the right is an easement in Folio B. It must always be enjoyed by other land and may not be owned by an individual as such.


An equity is a right or interest falling short of a legal one, but valid nevertheless. In Land Registry, "equities" include those unregistered rights or interest in the property which existed at the time of first registration but which were not investigated fully. A note of any such rights appearing on a Folio is called an Equity Note.

These equities may be cancelled on application and the title is then said to be "Absolute". When a new Folio is carved out of a Folio containing an Equity Note, the new Title is shown as being "deemed possessory".

Execute (execution)

To execute a document or deed means to sign and seal same before a witness or witnesses.

Fee Farm Grant

Similar to a lease in that the owner usually has to pay an annual ground rent, but different in that the owner holds the property forever (in "Fee simple") rather than for a fixed term of years. A Fee Farm Grant out of a freehold folio is treated much like a Transfer of Part.

First registration

An application to bring previously unregistered land on to the Title Register.


An individual section of the Title Register which records the title to a specific property.


The Land Registration rules contain numerous forms for use when lodging applications for registration.

Form 100A

This is a covering form lodged with each application which sets out the type of dealing, documents lodged, the solicitor's name, address and fees.

Freehold (Fee simple)

Land held forever ("in Fee simple") not restricted to a term of years as in a lease, nor for life. The nearest the law knows to absolute ownership.

Ground rent

There is now a facility available to buy your ground rent.


Where an objection is lodged to an application, the Registrar may hold a Hearing to hear all the evidence before giving judgment.

Index of names

An index of the names of everyone currently registered as an owner of land is maintained. When a new Folio is created or a change in ownership is made to an existing folio, a new entry is made in the index .


This is a notice engrossed in red which inhibits or prevents dealings with the land until certain conditions, which are specified in the entry, have been met.


Before 1984 when a dealing was completed, the documents retained in records were called Instruments (they are now called "Documents").

Joint tenants

Where two or more people together own the "Whole" land jointly. This means - "survivor takes all". If an entry on the Folio or a Deed of Transfer does not contain the words "Tenants in common" or state "shares" the Registered Owners are joint tenants. On the death of a joint tenant the land passes automatically to the surviving registered owner(s) and cannot therefore be left by will.

Land certificate

See "Certificates".


When property is "Let" to someone for a fixed period of time it is said to be leased. The person who has bought it is called the lessee and the landlord is called the lessor. A lease can be for very long periods. Leasehold Folios have an "L" after the number.


Where someone, not the registered owner, holds a Land Certificate as security or because of unpaid debt, he is said to have a "lien" on the Certificate. Usually applies to a solicitor who has a lien for unpaid costs. There are other types of lien which do not involve a Land Certificate. See "Notice of Deposit".


A right for an individual to do something on some else's land.

Limited owner

A limited owner usually owns the property only for his life, after that someone else is already entitled to what's called the remainder. That person is called the "Remainderman". There are certain other classes of Limited Owner, but these are uncommon.

Lis pendens

See Pending Action.

Matrimonial charge

A burden registered by a husband or wife against a dwelling house owned by their spouse.

Note of death

An entry on the Folio stating that the registered owner is dead. It sets out the date of death and details of representation including the names and addresses of the personal representatives. See "Personal Representative".


This is simply a note sent by us to someone who either owns or has an interest in property to tell him that a particular registration has been applied for. A Notice of Completion, often called a dispatch docket, is issued by Quality Control when a dealing has been completed.

Notice of deposit of land certificate

An entry on the Folio stating that the Land Certificate has been deposited by the registered owner with someone, usually a bank, as security for payment of a sum of money, without the preparation of a formal Charge or Mortgage deed (sometimes called an "equitable mortgage").

Option (to purchase)

An entry showing that someone must, within a stated period, be given the chance to purchase the property before it is offered to anyone else. Options are registered as burdens.

Order Charging Land

See "Charging Order".


This usually means the original document as distinct from a copy or counterpart, ie original lease and counterparts.

Order of the Registrar (O.R)

Order of the Registrar. Usually ordering a rectification (see below).


Means Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland® - this former agency was responsible for mapping in Northern Ireland, until it became part of Land & Property Services (LPS) in 2008. LPS continues to provide products with the OSNI brand.

Parent folio

When a part of the land in a Folio is leased or transferred, the Folio from which the part came is called the parent Folio. The part leased or transferred will get a new number and become registered in a new Folio.

Partial release

A deed permitting the cancellation of a burden or charge, only in so far as it relates to part of the land in a folio, usually because that part is being sold.

Pending action

A notice that a court case is pending which affects the land. This used to be called a "Lis Pendens" and some people still use this expression (incorrectly).

Personal representative

The person(s) authorised to administer the estate of a deceased registered owner, ie to execute a Deed of Transfer, Assent. Other descriptions are an Executor or Administrator.


Order of Preference - very important particularly where charges are concerned. Entries rank in priority according to their date of registration except:

  • (i) when a legal requirement determines otherwise or
  • (ii) where the owner of an earlier burden gives his consent to relinquish his priority.

It is vital that priorities are correctly shown in a Folio.

Priority search

A search made by a purchaser, lessee or mortgage lender which protects the priority of the purchase, lease or mortgage/charge for 40 days.


"Grant of" - a document containing a copy of the will of a deceased registered owner giving the date of death and the name and address of the Executor(s) appointed by the will. See: "Administration" and "Personal Representative". (When the person taking out a "grant" is not an executor appointed by a will, the grant is called "Letters of Administration").


A burden, for example, a fishing right, sporting right, right to take turf (turbary) quarrying or mining right over the land in a Folio. Distinguished from an Easement, in that someone is actually permitted to take something off land and the right may be owned by an individual.


Alteration of the class of title on a Folio - an application to alter the title.


The correction of an error in the Register is called a "Rectification".

Registered land

Land which is registered in the Land Registry.


General term covering cancellation of burden entries, such as a Charge, right of residence. A receipt for payment or other documents are lodged to cancel the burden and the entry is ruled out.


The Rules: The Land Registration Rules (Northern Ireland) 1994 - the rules laying down the detailed regulations under which LPS operate the business or registration.

Satisfaction (certificate of )

See "Certificates".


  • a type of Folio - Schedule Folio
  • a type of entry on a Folio - Schedule of Burdens
  • a list of deeds and documents - Schedule of Deeds


Land Registry provides search facilities - these include: 

  • Folio searches
  • Map searches
  • Priority searches 

The Statutory Charges Registry also provides search facilities. Folio and Map searches may be made personally at the public counters or requested by post. Priority and official Folio searches are issued by the Registry.

Searches may also be made in the Registry of Deeds, Companies Office and Bankruptcy Office.

Section 53 application

An application to acquire registered land by Adverse Possession.


Where a Deed or Will creates a "Limited" ownership, such Deed or Will is called "The Settlement" and a note detailing the document or Will is added in the margin opposite the Ownership entry. In short, where land is to be owned by a number of people in succession (for example, land is left to A for life and on his death, to B).

Stamp Duty Land tax (SDLT)

Where the price paid for a property exceeds a certain amount it attracts a form of tax known as Stamp Duty Land tax.

Statutory charges

A charge, restriction or notice, which has been prescribed by Statute and which is registerable in the Statutory Charges Register.


Application by a registered owner to transfer of part of a Folio to a new Folio in the same ownership.

Substituted security

An application relating to an existing mortgage/charge where other property is substituted for the original property.

Tenants in common

People who are registered as owning stated shares in the land are tenants in common. When such owner dies his share will pass to the person entitled under his Will or intestacy - it does not, unlike Joint Tenants, pass to the surviving registered owner.


Transfer of the ownership of a Folio on the death of the registered owner to the person entitled to be registered as owner. See "Assent" and "Personal Representative".

Unregistered land

Land which has not been registered in the Land Registry.


A form of receipt normally used by building societies and occasionally by other lending institutions, where the receipt of all money due is acknowledged under seal at the back of the original mortgage deed.

Voluntary transfer

A transfer where no money is involved, for example, a father transfers to his son for "natural love and affection".

Vesting Order

Some government departments and public bodies have statutory powers to compulsorily acquire land eg for purposes such as road construction or housing. On exercise of the powers, an order is made vesting the land in the relevant department or body in fee simple, freed and discharged from all claims, estates, encumbrances or charges whatsoever. This order known as a “Vesting Order” must be lodged in the Land Registry for registration.

The Vesting Order, which may affect both registered and unregistered land, will be in a prescribed form. It will quote the relevant legislation which is the authority for vesting the land and will contain a schedule identifying the land vested by reference to folio numbers or postal addresses and an attached map.

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