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How to Find Out Who Owns a Piece of Land in the UK
Trying to find out who owns a piece of land may seem an impossible task; if you ask local residents nobody knows the owner, they haven’t been seen for years or they live in another part of the country, so now what?
By: Rob Fellowman
There are many reasons why people search for the owners of land,
• They may be looking to buy a piece of land that is not for sale.
• Or require the consent of a property owner to carryout changes to the land.
• Possibly they need to issue court papers on the owners.
• Have a boundary issue or want to extend land or garden area.
• Considering using the land for pasture.
Here are several ways in which you can try and find who owns a particular piece of land.
The most obvious way is to carry out a Land Registry Title Register Search, this will reveal who owns that piece of land and other information you may find useful such as when it was purchased and how much it was purchased for.
To obtain the Title Register you will need to get the official Ordinance Survey plan of the area and highlight the piece of land you are querying. The Ordinance Survey plan must be in the correct scale which is 1:1250 and on the correct mapping system this can be purchased from the UK Ordinance Survey website.
Once you have a clear outline of the land you will need to find which HM Land Registry office deals with the area in question (this is not always as obvious as it may first seem, for example the office that deals with the Leeds, West Yorkshire area is an office in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire)
Unfortunately there is no guarantee that you will get the land ownership information required. HM Land Registry states that around 35% of all land in England and Wales is unregistered land.
What is Unregistered Land?
Unregistered land is land which is not registered with HM Land Registry. This means that the property will not have a Title Register or Title Plan filed at HMLR. In this case proof of ownership is by production of the historical Title Deeds.
It is in the interests of the land owner to register their land, largely due to provisions within the land registration act 2002 affording the land owner greater protection against adverse possession.
Alternatively you can use a private investigations company that specialises in finding the owners of registered and unregistered land. They will do the work so you don’t have to, you can place an order with them and they will carry out specific investigations to locate the owners on your behalf.
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Page Updated Last on: Jun 30, 2009