Proof of your ownership when you have bought a property

Your ‘title’ to a property means the proof of your ownership of it. Most properties and their titles are registered at the Land Registry, the central database of property ownership.

Each property has its own ‘register’. This consists of three parts. ‘The property register’ contains a description of the property. For houses this is usually a postal address plus a plan showing the outline of the house from a bird’s eye view. For flats the plan is coloured to show how much of each floor you will own. ‘

The proprietorship register’ says who owns the property.

‘The charges register’ records who has any mortgage on the property, and whether there are any restrictions affecting the property. So, if you have a mortgage loan from Barclays Bank, for example, this would appear in the charges register.

This register is now fully electronic, and you can obtain copies of any property’s register. The Land Registry hold the world’s largest property database, guaranteeing ownership of £1,300 billion worth of property, and more than £1 million worth of property is processed every minute in England and Wales.

Freeholds are registered; so are most leaseholds. (Any new lease granted for seven years or more has to be registered.) There are still some properties which are not registered – usually because they have not changed hands in a generation or because they are in remote parts of the country not yet fully registered – and then one has to check old deeds to prove that the seller owns the property. But usually when you buy your home your ‘title’ will be registered at the Land Registry.