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Thread: Legal eagles - question about property title/land registry

  1. #1
    Journeyman
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    Legal eagles - question about property title/land registry

    Hi,

    I know thereís a lot of members here with varied backgrounds and professions, so Iím wondering if anyone has any conveyancing law knowledge?

    I have viewed a house which is currently on the market, requireing modernising but that doesnít phase me. My concern is that having checked the land registry online, the property title is showing as Ďpossessory titleí class. The reason on the land registry is due to lost deeds.

    Iíve not come across this before and having goggled, it seems like it can be an issue with getting it changed to title absolute.

    I like the house, it has potential, but it sounds like this could be a guaranteed path to stress and lots of work to get absolute title?

    Any words of wisdom appreciated!

    Thanks in advance
    Mike

  2. #2
    Master Thewatchbloke's Avatar
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    All I know is if the land has been registered as possessory title for 12 years or longer the owner can apply for absolute title, some friends of ours went through the process of changing the title when they moved house.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thewatchbloke View Post
    All I know is if the land has been registered as possessory title for 12 years or longer the owner can apply for absolute title, some friends of ours went through the process of changing the title when they moved house.
    Hi, thanks for your reply. Do you know if it was a difficult process to navigate? Iím not sure I want lots of hassle, so maybe this isnít the right house for me.

    Thanks again

  4. #4
    Master
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    I'd want the vendor to sort the title up prior to sale. If they can do an adverse possession then let them do it.

    I have done 2 adverse possessions to effectively correct a title and it was easy but we had 40 years of evidence.

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  6. #6
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    This ^^^^^^ and if I remember correctly it's not expensive.
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

    'Populism, the last refuge of a Tory scoundrel'.

  7. #7
    Master
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    Correct, 12 years is an important threshold as before then it's something that will make a sale more challenging and should be reflected in a materially lower price.

    It's also something prospective lenders will be wary of, OP you are right to think it could be a royal pain, knowing when the 12 years started and also understanding the wider background to see if everything that could be done to resolve has been would be my starting points. So for instance was the property ever mortgaged, when were the sale events and who was the counter-party, all go to building up the background and seeing if either the original Deeds, a copy, or related documents such as sale agreements and transfers can be tracked down. Also what "story" was presented to Land Registry that resulted in "possessory title", when Deeds are lost, registration comes back to how strong a case you can present to show unequivocal ownership, think of it in terms of presenting a case.

    I suspect this will be a probate sale where the owner bought it before compulsory registration came in around 1991 and nobody knows where the Deeds are. If that's the case possessory title may have only been recently registered and hard to know what lengths the Executor and solicitor went to in order to exhaust all options to build the case and try to secure absolute title. It will help a little if all the adjacent properties are registered and have a consistent approach to suggest what the missing piece should look like - buying one of those for £3 or so will give you a chance to see when the original conveyance was and from who if it is "estate" type housing which may give you an avenue of enquiry if it doesn't go back in time and is with an entity that still exists.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegreatdogwood View Post
    Correct, 12 years is an important threshold as before then it's something that will make a sale more challenging and should be reflected in a materially lower price.

    It's also something prospective lenders will be wary of, OP you are right to think it could be a royal pain, knowing when the 12 years started and also understanding the wider background to see if everything that could be done to resolve has been would be my starting points. So for instance was the property ever mortgaged, when were the sale events and who was the counter-party, all go to building up the background and seeing if either the original Deeds, a copy, or related documents such as sale agreements and transfers can be tracked down. Also what "story" was presented to Land Registry that resulted in "possessory title", when Deeds are lost, registration comes back to how strong a case you can present to show unequivocal ownership, think of it in terms of presenting a case.

    I suspect this will be a probate sale where the owner bought it before compulsory registration came in around 1991 and nobody knows where the Deeds are. If that's the case possessory title may have only been recently registered and hard to know what lengths the Executor and solicitor went to in order to exhaust all options to build the case and try to secure absolute title. It will help a little if all the adjacent properties are registered and have a consistent approach to suggest what the missing piece should look like - buying one of those for £3 or so will give you a chance to see when the original conveyance was and from who if it is "estate" type housing which may give you an avenue of enquiry if it doesn't go back in time and is with an entity that still exists.
    Thanks for taking the time to reply, thatís all really useful information. I will do some digging, but Iím beginning to feel it might not be worth the grief!

    Thanks again for your reply.

    Mike

  9. #9
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    Thanks for everyoneís time. I knew TZ community would have some answers!

  10. #10
    Master
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    We've just been through this, our small 2 bed terrace has 3 separate LR titles!
    At the start one was absolute, one possessory and the rest had no title at all. As there was plenty of evidence the vendor had one upgraded by LR within about 8 weeks and then they had to do it again, including an Ordnance survey visit to remap, in about 8 weeks. Usually LR will take months or years to sort this out but if it is holding up a sale then they will expedite.
    Yes you can have an indemnity policy against adverse possession in the future but bear in mind that the terms of this policy will stop you approaching LR to upgrade the title. The insurance co don't want you (or LR) digging up anyone who might mean they have to pay out. LR will contact all neighbouring properties as part of due diligence. So the policy may compensate you financially but it won't stop you losing the title.

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