Property owners are at risk if Land Registry addresses are out-of-date

Property owners are at risk if Land Registry addresses are out-of-date

Published:

Author: Nathan Rees

The Land Registry requires an address for service for owners of certain interests in land. Most significantly, it requires an address for service for any owner of registered land or of a charge over it.

It is this address that the Land Registry relies on when it needs to contact an owner. Failure to keep the address up-to-date means the owner may not receive important correspondence and may suffer loss as a result.

The Land Registry will write to an owner of land in connection with applications that could affect the owner's legal rights or interest in the land. Examples include where a third party makes an application to:

  • register an adverse notice against the land¬†
  • register a title to mines and minerals below the surface of the land - this could have a significant impact on development possibilities¬†
  • claim adverse possession of the land

If the owner's address for service is not kept up-to-date it will not receive essential information from the Land Registry, so may lose its right to respond to that correspondence and to object to an application which has been made.

It is the owner's responsibility to ensure that the details held by the Land Registry are current. The Land Registry will not pick up discrepancies in addresses for service for an owner of multiple properties.

Registration fraud is a growing concern, and where an owner suffers loss as a result of fraud, the Land Registry has warned that indemnity payments may be withheld or discounted where the owner missed its opportunity to respond to correspondence because its address for service was out-of-date.

The risks of not keeping an address for service up-to-date are of particular concern to any owner holding significant interests in land which it does not physically occupy - essentially any property investor.

If a company uses its registered office as its contact address for the Land Registry, it must ensure it notifies the Land Registry of any change of its registered office.

The Land Registry will accept up to three addresses for service. One must be a postal address, but the others could include an email or DX address.

The process of adding or changing an address for service is straightforward. No fee is payable, although depending on the number of properties owned and the task in hand, there may be some basic charges incurred in checking the extent of property ownership.

This administrative exercise is easily overlooked, but the cost of failing to address it can be significant.