Solicitors guide to Compulsory First Registration

When there is a sale of property within a Compulsory First Registration area (whether by conveyance, lease or fee farm grant) the title must be registered in Land Registry. The application for registration should be made by the purchaser's solicitor.

When is registration not compulsory?

The following transactions are not subject to compulsory first registration:

  • transactions where no money consideration is paid (for example, gifts, Assents)
  • mortgages and Charging Orders
  • leases for under 21 years
  • exchanges or partitions of land, provided there is no monetary consideration
  • dealings with reversionary interests or with incorporeal hereditaments held in gross
  • surrenders of Leases

What happens on completion?

The transaction should be completed in the same manner as any normal unregistered conveyancing transaction; vacates, etc should be registered in the Registry of Deeds and up-to-date searches obtained. It is not compulsory to register your client's Deed in the Registry of Deeds prior to registration of the title in the Land Registry, but it is good practice to do so.

What has to be lodged in the Land Registry?

  • Form 1 duly completed and signed (if you feel unable to certify the title you may apply for a Qualified Title using Form 2)
  • an up-to-date Ordnance Survey map on the largest published scale - ideally an ACE (Address Centred Extract) map - with the boundaries outlined accurately in red (see Maps section below)
  • the root of title (ie the original Fee Farm Grant, Lease or Conveyance)
  • the Conveyance or Assignment to the purchaser
  • the purchaser's mortgage (if any)
  • any other deed which created an encumbrance to which you have referred in Form 1
  • Form 100 plus a fee of £140 by paper or £110 using e-registration
  • the new Land Certificate attracts a fee of £50
  • a mortgage lodged with the application does not attract a separate fee

You should not lodge any documents other than those referred to above. Since these documents will be retained by the Land Registry you may wish to make copies for future reference.

How should Form 1 be completed?

Panel 1 (Description)

Insert a description of the land (for example, the land shown outlined in red on the attached map being land known as 1 Bangor Road, Newtownards, BT23 1AA, County Down) and attach an up-to-date map (see Maps section below). The address should refer to the Town and/or Townland and the postcode.

Panel 2 (The Applicant)

Insert full names and addresses of the applicants (for example, John Black and Mary White both of 1 Bangor Road, Newtownards, BT23 1AA, County Down).

Panel 3 (Limited Ownership)

This panel should only be completed if the applicant is a limited owner under a settlement.

Panel 4 (Co-Owners)

Where the applicants are joint tenants (the normal situation for married couples and for trustees), tick the first box. Where the applicants are tenants in common (the normal situation for business partners), tick the second box and specify the shares of each applicant.

Panel 5 (Class of Title)

  • where the property is held under a Lease - tick the first box and insert the date of the Lease
  • where the property is held under a Fee Farm Grant - tick the second box and insert the date of the Fee Farm Grant
  • where the property is held under a Conveyance, made for valuable consideration, at least 15 years ago - tick the third box and insert the date of the Conveyance
  • Qualified titles - this option may be used where you consider that the title should be qualified. Details of the qualification should be set out (see section below)

Panel 6 (Acquisition)

Insert details of the applicant's purchase of the land (for example, the applicant acquired the land on 1 December 1999 by virtue of a deed of Assignment from Michael Green and Patricia Green).

Panel 7 (Appurtenant Rights)

Panel 7 does not need to be completed unless you wish to claim that the Applicant is entitled to an appurtenant right (see easements section (ii) below).

Panel 8

Sign and date the certificate after you have completed the Schedule.

Schedule

  • (a) list any encumbrances in order of priority and identify the document which created the encumbrance - for example
    • the yearly rent and grantees covenants contained in the said Fee Farm Grant
    • mortgage dated 1 December 1999 in favour of Nationwide Building Society
  • (b) where there is an indemnity, a burden lease or an encumbrance affecting only part of the land please refer to the guidance notes relating to this Schedule on page 3 of Form 1
  • (c) Easements affect land without registration and should not be listed (See Easements section below)

When should the application be made?

The application for first registration must be lodged in the Land Registry within three months of the date of the purchase deed, otherwise the transaction becomes void. However, an application for extension of time may be made, by letter, under Schedule 2 Part II of the Land Registration Act (NI) 1970, if the application could not have been made within the prescribed period without incurring unreasonable expense, or if the application could not be made by reason of some accident or other sufficient cause.

Maps

  • the application map should show the boundaries of the entire property (not just the outline of the house)
  • you should not include a "half road" on the map unless this is specifically referred to in the deeds
  • an up-to-date Ordnance Survey ACE map must be provided, even if there is a recent map on the title deeds
  • where the property forms part of a building or where there is complex ordnance survey detail, the location map may be accompanied by a larger scale plan. This should be referred to in Panel 1 (for example, the land shown edged red on Map A and more particularly delineated on Map B being land known as ……………………………………………..)
  • where any boundary does not follow OS detail, it should be shown as precisely as possible
  • the map should be securely attached to the Form 1

Qualified titles

If you do not wish to certify the title in Form 1, you may instead apply for registration with a Qualified Title in Form 2 (in accordance with Rule 12 of the 1994 Rules). The documents required are:

  • an affidavit in Form 2
  • an up-to-date Ordnance Survey ACE map with the boundaries outlined accurately in red
  • a verified Abstract of Title setting out details of the date, parties and the effect of all relevant documents
  • the original title deeds (but excluding property certificates, NHBC papers, survey reports) plus a schedule in duplicate
  • certified copies of the root of title, the purchase deed and any mortgage or other encumbrance which is to be registered
  • up-to-date Registry of Deeds searches
  • up-to-date Bankruptcy searches
  • up-to-date Enforcement of Judgements search
  • Form 100 and a fee of £310 (£260 for registration and £50 for Land Certificate)

Easements

Schedule 5 of the Land Registration Act (NI) 1970 provides that Easements which were created prior to First Registration affect the land without registration. Accordingly, even if an application for First Registration discloses easements affecting the land ("burden easements") or easements benefiting the land ("appurtenant rights") the Land Registry does not register such rights.

There is therefore no need for you to refer to easements, when preparing an application for First Registration. However, the legislation does allow registration of a Note of Schedule 5 Burden or a Note of Claimed Appurtenant Rights, and if you wish to have such a note entered on the new folio you should take the action set out below. Please note that, since such a note does not constitute a substantive registration, details of the right will not appear on the Land Registry map.

  • (i) Burden Easements
    • in Form 100A, in panel 4 on the front page, underneath your application for first registration insert "Note of burden easement - [Fee] - £90 by paper or £70 via e-registration"
    • in Form 1, in the Schedule on Page 3, after setting out any other burdens insert "Note of Schedule 5 burden" and then give particulars of the easement, for example "the land is subject to a right of way referred to in the conveyance dated ………… over the portion shown coloured blue on the attached map, being the right of way in favour of the owners for the time being of ……………….."
    • lodge the original deed, referred to in paragraph (b), along with your application. (This deed will be retained by Land Registry, so you may wish to keep a copy
  • (ii) Appurtenant Rights
    • in Form 100A, in panel 4 on the front page, underneath your application for first registration, insert "Claimed appurtenant right - [Fee] - £90 by paper or £70 via e-registration"
    • in Form 1, in panel 1 on the first page, following the description, add "together with the right referred to in Panel 7"
    • in Form 1, in panel 7, set out details of the right, for example "the applicant claims, under Rule 147, that the land has the benefit of the appurtenant right comprised in the conveyance dated ……………………… and made between ……………………………… being a right of way on foot only over the passage way shown coloured orange on the attached map
    • lodge the original deed, referred to in paragraph (c), along with your application. (This deed will be retained by the Land Registry, so you may wish to keep a copy)

The Registrar may require you to give notice of this claim to the owner of the land which is alleged to be subject to the right.

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