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Unregistered land and flying freeholds

And now for something completely different – I have done some law!

Not only that but it was ground breaking stuff.

Following a Judicial Review last year, Land Registry (LR) have had to allow people to apply for amendments to adjoining owners titles if there has been an error made.

I have done the first one with our very own LR team – I know its quite exciting but try and calm yourselves whilst I explain what happened. You may need a lie down afterwards.....

I am selling a place with a flying freehold at the back. That means that our top floor back room extends over next doors back ground floor.

Ignoring all the stuff about flying freeholds and the problems they cause – I will save that for a day when the only other option in your lives is watching paint dry.

As the property is unregistered I do a SIM which checks if the land is already registered. It turns out land registry have registered next door with our bit of upstairs.

Now I am going to be nice and say that LR did not make a cock up but as they lost the papers – I have never known someone lose so much paper or indeed computer files – I can not prove they did not.

Anyway I send off my title clearly showing we had upstairs.

LR write back and tell me the general boundary rule applies. That means that the lines on the LR plan are not the exact boundary and there may be minor changes allowed. Fair enough the line are about 3 feet wide in reality I know.

I write back and say I do not think a 5m by 3m half of a room is a minor change.

Long silence followed, so I prod them and then they say  that I can amend next doors title by applying using form AP1. Gosh how exciting. AP1 are fine, even I can complete them, but of course neither I nor they knew what bits to complete as it was all new to us. I must have guessed right as they liked it and served the required notices on next door.

We then settled down to wait 28 days but fortunately the next door owner wrote to LR and said they agreed so LR amended the plan and now we can sell.

This is perhaps a lesson that unregistered land can be a problem you need to know what you are doing and it may be sensible to register any unregistered land you have if you want to contact me.