Getting Your Rural Land Ready for a Sale – Part 6: unregistered land

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By Victoria Sandberg, Partner specialising in Commercial Property and Head of Rural

This is the sixth in a series of blogs about preparing your rural land ready for a possible future sale.

If your land is unregistered, I would urge you to consider voluntarily registering it. If your land is registered, your title to the property is held by the Land Registry electronically. With many of us working from home at present, it is much easier dealing with registered properties that we can access the details for online!

It isn’t actually necessary to register your land from a legal point of view if you’re going to sell your land. However, it is likely to cause the sale process to be longer and more expensive. We are finding increasingly frequently that many solicitors don’t actually like dealing with unregistered land and it can often be the case that a buyer will insist on the seller registering it before the sale goes through. That is not necessary but it is an added complication that you can manage without if you register it beforehand.

I should point out that registering land can take a very long time as the Land Registry have a backlog (which is only likely to get worse with the current lock-down). I have some applications at the moment that are taking nearly a year for the Land Registry to deal with. However, if you think of this potentially being a condition imposed by a buyer, you can see why it makes sense to deal with the registration yourself, before you find a buyer. Even if the application hasn’t been completed when you find a buyer, hopefully they will be satisfied with the fact that you have at least made the application.

If your land is unregistered, you will need to locate all the deeds (please see my previous blog on that subject!) and give them to your solicitor. There may well be some missing documents but if necessary and depending on the circumstances, those can be dealt with by you (or someone else with detailed knowledge of the land and/or why the documents are missing) giving a Statutory Declaration, or “Statement of Truth”, which we can assist you with.

My next and final blog will discuss the importance of having Heads of Terms properly drawn up.

This blog was originally intended to form part of Victoria’s talk at Longmores’ annual rural seminar at Knebworth House in March which was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. If you would like to be added to the invitation list for future seminars, please email our Marketing Manager

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.