Registered and Unregistered Land

Land is defined in section 205 LPA and contains some very complicated language. In basic terms, land is something that has physical characteristics. Everything affixed to the land becomes the land, and individuals may be entitles to rights over the land.

The unregistered system allowed these rights as talked about in the definition of land, to run with the land. In the old system, these rights would generally bind the world. The problem with this is that when purchasing land, everyone was unware who has certain rights over that bit of land. For certain rights, they could be registered at land charges registry. On this, a right was registered by name and not by property. These land charges are as followed:

  • Dii- restrictive covenants
  • Diii- Equitable easements
  • Civ- estate contracts
  • F- FLA rights

The rest of the rights automatically bind the world.

In 2002 when the Land Registration Act come into force, it introduced the new registered system. This idea of this was to be a mirror image of the land and therefore show all rights in the land. Any dealings on land after this point triggered first registration, requiring their property to be registered. There are still large parts of the country that are not registered as there have been no dealings on the property for example state buildings and schools ect. Therefore the unregistered system is still very important to understand.

The register comprises of 3 parts:

  • The property register- description of the land and any benefits over other land
  • The Proprietorship register- who owns it, previous price paid for it, any restrictions on sale
  • The charges register, any burdens on the property, mortgages.


In order to sell land there must be a good rout of title. This means that there is no dispute in whether the land can be sold or not, and therefore it will prevent any other partied who have a proprietary interest in the land losing out of the land they are entitled to. In the unregistered system, a good rout of title would be the seller providing 15 years of title deeds- section 44 LPA. In the registered system, proving a good rout of title is as easy as being shown an official copy of the register.

Previous to the date of completion there will be a contract made by both partied which entered into which will state that one of the partied will purchase the property in the future. This is so that parties can start to spend money on the preparation for completion. By way of section 2 of the LP(MP)A the contract must:

  • Contain all terms
  • Be signed by or on behalf of both parties
  • And be in writing.

The problems may arise where not all terms are included in the contract. In some situations where the term is very important for the sale to go through, there contract will be void all together. However, there are 2 solutions in order for the contract to be valid.

  1. The court can imply a collateral contract, a separate contract which will include the missing terms if they are only a small term.
  2. Equally, they can imply promissory Estoppel. This is where the court will imply the term directly in the contract, however there are 4 requirements for the courts to be able to do this:
    1. Assurance/ a representation that the term would be included
    2. Reliance on the fact that this term was included
    3. They must have acted in their detriment
    4. Unconscionable if the term would not be included.

Section 52 of the LPA requires land to be transferred by way of deed- section 52. This means it must comply with section 1 of the LP(MP)A:

  • Clear on the face that it is a deed
  • Validly executed:
    • Signed
    • Witnessed
    • Delivered

In the registered system, the title to the land will be transferred once the sellers name has been change on the registered which generally is a few weeks after completion. In unregistered land, the title changes on the day of completion.

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