Reg­is­ter­ing prop­erty

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - FOCUS ON -

The Land Registry was es­tab­lished in 1862 so that prop­erty trans­ac­tions could be recorded in one cen­tral place. The idea was not new, as there were early at­tempts at set­ting up re­gional reg­istries in York­shire and Mid­dle­sex in 1704 and 1709 re­spec­tively, which can be found at the West York­shire Ar­chive Ser­vice and the Lon­don Metropoli­tan Ar­chives.

The na­tional scheme was vol­un­tary to be­gin with, so only a small per­cent­age of prop­erty trans­ac­tions were in­cluded be­fore the 20th cen­tury. Reg­is­tra­tion was first en­forced in Lon­don in 1899 and grad­u­ally spread to other towns and cities. While Scot­land en­forced reg­is­tra­tion in 1979, it only be­came com­pul­sory for prop­er­ties to be reg­is­tered in ev­ery area in Eng­land and Wales in 1990. The last area of the UK to im­ple­ment a com­pul­sory scheme was North­ern Ire­land in 2003.

There are still build­ings and land in Eng­land and Wales that have never been reg­is­tered. This is be­cause it only in­cludes prop­er­ties that have changed hands af­ter com­pul­sory reg­is­tra­tion be­gan. This means there is still a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age of houses and other build­ings that are not reg­is­tered, al­though that is grad­u­ally di­min­ish­ing.

As well as order­ing on­line, it is pos­si­ble to ap­ply for a copy of the reg­is­tra­tion de­tails for your home for a small fee from Kingston- UponHull Land Registry, Earle House, Port­land Street, Hull HU2 8JN, lan­dreg­istry.gov.uk. How­ever, they only have copies of the ti­tle deeds pro­vided when the prop­erty was first reg­is­tered. It may, there­fore, be pos­si­ble to find older and more com­pre­hen­sive records in lo­cal ar­chives, es­pe­cially among the col­lec­tions of solic­i­tors.

For help with in­ter­pret­ing the records, see the very help­ful glos­sary of terms on the Land Registry dig­i­tal ar­chive web­site at: gov.uk/1862act-reg­is­ter# glos­sary.

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