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Land Registry backlogs delay land and farm gross sales

Prolonged Land Registry processing instances are holding up some farm and land gross sales.

The timescales for first registrations, registered land transfers and different modifications have grown over the previous few years, say land brokers and solicitors.

See additionally: Enterprise Clinic – how can we register land if deeds are misplaced

“First registrations on the Land Registry have been extremely sluggish,” stated Kevin Prince of Oxfordshire agent Adkin.

“I’ve had three gross sales within the final two years needing first registrations, all have been delayed by three to 6 months.”

This is actually because the client’s solicitor requires that the property is registered earlier than the sale can go forward.

“There’s no motive why it will possibly’t be purchased unregistered however patrons’ solicitors are very unwilling to do that,” stated Mr Prince.

Andrew Dodds of Stags’ Exeter workplace stated that first registrations had been taking six to 12 months however that he had heard of some taking 18 months.

“Up to now, you’d count on the conveyancing course of to take two to 4 months and you might count on the land registration challenge to be sorted in that interval,” stated Mr Dodds.

Whereas the state of affairs has been exacerbated by an elevated variety of property transactions because the market opened up since Covid restrictions had been lifted, longer processing instances had been a problem nicely earlier than 2020, stated lawyer Alex Robinson, head of agriculture at Wright Hassall.

Final month, she acquired preliminary questions from the Land Registry a few new lease title for which she made an utility within the late summer time of 2020.

Bottleneck and backlogs

Much less simple purposes resembling first registrations are getting caught in bottlenecks, resulting in backlogs that didn’t beforehand exist.

Plainly this arises on account of the digital transformation of processes on the Land Registry.

The Land Registry typically raises questions, referred to as requisitions, on first registrations and different complicated circumstances resembling transfers of components of a title.

Extra simple purposes, resembling transferring a property title, are nonetheless taking three to 6 months.

Whereas gross sales and different possession modifications can go forward pending registration, this could trigger uncertainty and in some circumstances misery for purchasers, stated Mrs Robinson.

“It may additionally delay probate whether it is taking a very long time to register a property earlier than having the ability to promote it.”

A request to expedite an utility will be made if it may be proven that the delay will trigger monetary hardship or that it’s holding up an utility on one other transaction, stated Mrs Robinson.

Land Registry processing instances

The Land Registry stated it’s at present finishing greater than half of complicated purposes, resembling first registrations, in 11 months.

The bulk are accomplished in simply over 15 months, however some would possibly take a number of months longer relying on the applying, it said.

Virtually two-thirds of complicated registrations acquired within the final 12 months had been returned to the applicant (often the conveyancer) as a consequence of errors or omissions within the utility.

This causes in depth delays to the affected purposes and to the typical velocity of service instances, stated the registry, with returned purposes taking up common six weeks longer to finish.

The sorts of errors or omissions embrace names spelled in another way between the paperwork and the register, undated deeds, lacking pages, incomplete addresses, illegible handwriting, insufficient or unreadable plans, and questions over easements, covenants and restrictions.

Greater than half of the extra simple purposes to replace the register, resembling altering a reputation or transferring a property title, take simply over three weeks full, stated the registry, with most accomplished in three months.

Nevertheless, in some cases, these are taking slightly below six months to finish, it stated.

First registrations of land

Since 1990, unregistered land have to be registered for the primary time when possession modifications or when a mortgage is taken on it.

The vendor or the client could make the applying to register land.

There may be additionally the choice to make a voluntary registration. This provides proof of title, helps defend the land from fraud and makes it simpler in future to alter, promote or reward the property.

Voluntary registration attracts decrease charges than a obligatory first registration.

Has this challenge affected your plans to purchase or promote a farm or land?

Electronic mail or write to:

Suzie Horne, enterprise editor,
Farmers Weekly,
Mark Allen Agriculture,
Quadrant Home,
The Quadrant,


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