The Land Registry is a government department which was created in 1862 to register the ownership of land and property in England and Wales. The very first land certificate, title number 1, was voluntarily registered in 1863 to Sir Fitzroy Kelly MP for his properties in Crane Hall and The Chantry (now a Sue Ryder home) near Ipswich. The Land Registry is responsible for maintaining the Land Register, where more than 23 million titles are documented, representing over 79% of land in England and Wales.
The Land Registry’s purpose is to provide a reliable record of information about ownership of and interests affecting land, to provide owners with a title that is underpinned by the state and to simplify the transfer of interests in land. The Land Registry offers a number of services available to the public and some of these are as follows:
1. Transactional data and price paid data
This data helps you to track, analyse and predict trends in the property market. It comprises the House Price index, public data and data that is available through the Land Registry’s Add Value services.
The House Price Index reveals that in May 2012 the average property was sold for £161,677. Interestingly, in 1862 a typical property owned by the skilled working class or lower middle class cost around £150-250. The average house price in the UK in 1962 was £2,673, which was approximately three times the average wage at the time. The average house price is now equivalent to more than six times the average wage of £26,000.
2. Flood Risk Indicator
The Land Registry can produce instant, concise, flood risk reports for specific properties online. These reports are generated by combining the Land Registry’s data with Environment Agency flooding data.
3. Land Registry Public Guides
The Public Guides are intended to assist people without specialist knowledge to understand the most common aspects of land registration. The most popular guide is Practice Guide 40, which relates to plans. This guide has recently been updated.
Practitioners generally find that the most common requisition raised by the Land Registry concerns plans appended to transfers, leases and other documents. Practice Guide 40 contains a helpful checklist of plan requirements and reasons for plans being rejected; including issues of scaling, the inclusion of disclaimers and inaccurate colouring. The production of Land Registry complaint plans result in fewer requisitions being raised and ultimately streamlining the transaction.