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Land Registry

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LAND REGISTRY. The system of land registration was established under the Land Transfer Acts, 1875 and 1897.

Registration is now compulsory in the city and county of London. It became compul sory in the various parishes on different dates. It commenced on January 1, 1899, in a few parishes and extended by degrees till on July 1, 1902, the city of London and the whole of the county of London were ncluded.

Land in other parts of England may be registered at the Land Registry, but the registration is not compulsory. Provision is made in the Acts for the establishment of local registries when necessary.

The Land Transfer Acts apply to freeholds and leasehold land having forty or more years still to run, or two or more lives still to fall in, but they do not apply to copyhold land or customary freeholds, where admission by the lord of the manor is necessary to give the purchaser a good title. A lease created for the purposes of mortgage, or containing an absolute prohibition against alienation, or leases with less than twenty-one years to run cannot be registered. The registration of leases having less than forty years to run is not compulsory.

The registration of land in the Land Registry supersedes the registration of deeds in the Middlesex Deeds Registry.

The following paragraphs are taken from a statement issued by the Land Registry describing the objects and practical working of the system of registration of title : 1. A register of title is, essentially, a list of the owners of land, with particulars of the properties they own, and of the mortgages and other incumbrances which affect them. Legal validity is given to this list by Act of Parliament, it is kept constantly up to date by the entry of all changes of ownership as soon as they occur, and its correctness is guaranteed by the Government. The con sequence is that an intending purchaser of registered land has no need to make any private inquiry into the title ; he merely has to see that the person he is dealing with is the registered proprietor.

2. On a mortgage or sale of registered land there is no delay, no uncertainty, and hardly any expense. The entries in the register are so simple, and the forms of transfer and charge are so short and clear that any intelli gent person can understand them without expert assistance, and can, if he wishes, carry out all ordinary transactions on his own responsibility alone.

5. The principal advantages of the system as compared with the present non-regis tration system are security, cheapness, expedition, clearness, and simplicity.

18. When registration is completed a " Land Certificate," containing complete copies of the entries in the register, is issued to the proprietor. This constitutes a port able counterpart of the register, enabling the proprietor to enter into negotiations, and to complete transactions at a distance from the registry, and even, under favourable con ditions, without the necessity of actual reference to the books. If thought neces sary, a search can be made, and official reply given, by telegraph. No transfer or charge can be registered without production and indorsement of the Land Certificate at the registry. Deposit of the Land Certificate is good security for a temporary loan, and can be protected by a notice on the register, for a fee of one shilling.

21. When registered land is transferred or charged, the proprietor executes an instru ment of transfer, or charge, in a short simple form which can be obtained at the registry (see Schedule I). The purchaser brings or posts this to the registry (address Land Registry, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, W.C.), with a fee of Is. 6d. per £25 of value, and in the case of a transfer the old pro prietor's name is cancelled, and that of the new proprietor is entered in its place. In the case of a charge, short particulars of the amount, rate of interest, etc., are entered ' in the charges register together with the name of the creditor. Charges can be transferred and otherwise dealt with on the register in the same manner as the land. If apart of an estate is dealt with, a plan is attached to the transfer, and a new title is opened for the transferee, with a fresh plan ; the part thus separated being also marked off on the filed plan of the original estate by a special colour. Charges which have been paid off are cancelled altogether. Successions on death are registered in the same way as transfers, by cancelling the deceased proprietor, and entering the legal representative, or the person named by him as entitled.

22. The register is strictly private, and can only be inspected by the registered proprietor or with his written permission.

23. There are three main ways in which land may be registered under the Land Transfer Acts—namely, with Absolute Title, with Good Leasehold Title and with Possessory Title.