Skip to content Skip to footer
Enquiries Call 0800 652 8025
UK city skyscape

Land registration for public bodies

Over 80% of land in England and Wales is now registered with HM Land Registry. A large proportion of the remaining unregistered land in England and Wales is owned by the public sector. We have specialist expertise in helping public sector bodies register their unregistered property estate and have designed a streamlined process to make it as simple as possible for our clients.

There are many legal benefits to registering land as it gives the public an official permanent record of who owns what. This means that as the owner of registered land, you will have certainty about third party rights, absolute proof of ownership, an official record of your title and protection against adverse possession claims.

Land registration makes your estate/portfolio management much more straightforward. An official copy of the register states the rights which benefit the land within the title. It also the burdens/ liabilities which may be attached to the land. Once all this is evident on the public record, there is greater protection to owners against any claims against their land. This is because any such claims will be notified to them by the Land Registry before processing, thereby giving the actual owner an opportunity to defend their interest.

When land is unregistered the only means to prove ownership, and to check rights benefiting and burdening the property, is by looking through a bundle of historic title documents. In some cases, these may have been lost, stolen or destroyed. The result is that unregistered land is more vulnerable to fraud and third party applications for adverse possession (squatters rights).

How we can help you

We understand that part of your property estate is unregistered land and we would like to offer our team expertise in carrying out voluntary first registration for public bodies in accordance with current government guidance. We work hand in hand with HM Land Registry to make this complicated area of land law as cost effective and simple as possible for you.

In terms of fees we typically offer our services on a fixed fee basis at a reasonable and competitive rate. We are, of course, happy to discuss a discount for multiple registration instructions.

Government Estates Strategy 2018

Our work to help you register your unregistered land would be in line with the government estates strategy, which aims to have all publicly owned land registered with HM Land Registry by 2025. The process will give you the opportunity to review your current property portfolio and update your internal records to reflect public records.

HM Land Registry has a special project team who are committed to working closely with public bodies to help them identify their unregistered land and achieve the aim set out in the government

Registration of your entire land and property portfolio also supports the government Transparency Code obligations. To comply, local authorities and other public bodies must publish details of all land and building assets. We are able to facilitate your compliance by providing you with specialist guidance and conduct of the process on your behalf.

What our clients say about us

“When we first instructed Fiona Rendell at Clarke Willmott to register some of our police stations, we had an extensive unregistered estate. We were so impressed by Fiona’s understanding of our needs and priorities and how she dealt with our (often complex) titles that we subsequently instructed her to register the entirety of our unregistered estate. She has expertly dealt with difficult situations including where deeds had been lost, where property was still registered in a statutory predecessor in title and where there were complications with boundary irregularities and adverse possession. We have been delighted with Fiona’s no fuss commercial approach and fantastic results.’’ West Midlands Police

“Our aim is to complete the registration of all public sector land by 2025. Our expert team is working closely with local authorities and public bodies across England and Wales to identify any unregistered property assets and to register them in the most streamlined and cost-effective way. In a registration project with the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Fiona Rendell and her team at Clarke Willmott worked efficiently and quickly to register a large number of properties and have been responsive and knowledgeable. The nature of the properties meant that the applications were never going to be straightforward but Fiona’s clear approach has made it easy for us to work together to complete the registrations.” HM Land Registry

Contact us

For further advice and guidance please contact one of our lawyers directly, call us on 0800 652 8205 or get in touch online.

Your key contacts

More on this topic

Commercial property

Developer’s – don’t forget your commercial leases in your residential schemes – Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 section 5 (LTA)

Where a private landlord/developer of a mixed use residential and commercial scheme is proposing to lease its commercial premises then beware, (under certain circumstances) qualifying tenants of flats have a right of first refusal to purchase that interest.
Read more on Developer’s – don’t forget your commercial leases in your residential schemes – Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 section 5 (LTA)
Real estate

Focus on real estate at Clarke Willmott 

Clarke Willmott’s national real estate team is one of the largest of its kind in the UK. The team acts for commercial and residential property developers, investors, funders, occupiers, public sector bodies, major retailers, charities and private landowners.
Read more on Focus on real estate at Clarke Willmott 

Looking for legal advice?