Do I Need To Provide A Plan For The Land Registry? - Williamsons Solicitors Skip to main content

Posted: 30/05/2024

Do I Need To Provide A Plan For The Land Registry?

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Most (but not all) of the properties being sold in this country are now registered at the Land Registry. They keep records of all the rights, obligations, covenants, etc. affecting each property, and an essential part of these records is a plan, showing its extent. In most cases, this is simply an extract from the local ordnance survey map. These records, and the plan, are the modern-day title deeds.

If a property is already registered, and all that property is being disposed of, it can be sold without reference to a plan. If, however, only part of the property is being sold (or leased), a plan must be attached to the transfer or lease so that the Land Registry can be sure that they know exactly what is being transferred. This requirement to prepare a plan to attach to the document is most likely to be relevant when the transaction is a:-

(a) sale of part of a property
(b) sale of an unregistered property which cannot be easily identified on the ordnance survey map
(c) new lease of part of a property
(d) transfer of an existing lease which does not include an acceptable plan

Sale of Part of a Property

If the property being sold can be easily identified by reference to the ordnance survey map, a plan may not be needed. For example, if a seller owns 2 and 4 Coronation Street and wants to sell number 2, a plan is not needed if the map clearly shows the extent of both numbers 2 and 4. If, however, there are no boundary features and the ordnance survey map is not clear, a plan will have to be supplied. Plans will almost always be needed where part of a larger field or estate is being sold off, or part of a house or garden.

Sale of an Unregistered Property

If it cannot be easily identified by its postal address and by reference to an ordnance survey map, a plan of the property will be required. The sale of a domestic house will not usually require a plan.

New Leases of Part of a Property

A plan in such a case will almost always be needed, whether the property is already registered or not if the lease is for a period of over 7 years. Two plans will normally be needed, one to show where the building is in relation to the roads etc, and another plan drawn to a different scale to show which rooms on which floors are included in the lease.

The Sale of Existing Leases of Part of a Property

Before 2003, an existing lease had to be registered when it was sold if there was more than 21 years of the lease period left to run. The law then changed, so that the relevant period became 7 years. The situation now is that if a lease is being transferred and there is, say, 14 years left to run, it has to be registered at the Land Registry. That old lease (because it didn’t have to be registered when it was first created) may have had a poor plan attached, in which case it will not be acceptable to the Land Registry. A new one will therefore have to be prepared, and this will require the agreement of both the original landlord and the current tenant.

The new plan is normally inserted in the document that contains the landlord’s consent to the transfer of the lease, should such consent be required.

Land Registry Requirements

We have mentioned the circumstances in which a plan may be needed. We have also mentioned that they must meet the Land Registry’s requirements. So, what are they? The answer is that it should be prepared having regard to the following guidelines:

  • drawn to and show its actual scale;
  • show its orientation (for example, a north point);
  • use preferred scales of 1/1250 – 1/500 for urban properties;
  • use preferred scales of 1/2500 for rural properties (fields and farms etc);
  • not based on a scale of imperial measurement (for example 16 feet to 1 inch);
  • not reduced in scale;
  • not marked or referred to as being for identification only;
  • not show statements of disclaimer used under Property Misdescriptions Act 1991;
  • show sufficient detail to be identified on the Ordnance Survey map;
  • show its general location by showing roads, road junctions or other landmarks;
  • show the land of the property including any garage or garden ground;
  • show buildings in their correct (or intended) position;
  • show access drives or pathways if they form part of property boundaries;
  • show the land and property clearly (for example by edging, colouring or hatching);
  • have edgings of a thickness that do not obscure any other detail;
  • show separate parts by suitable plan markings (house, parking space, dustbin space);
  • identify different floor levels (where appropriate);
  • show intricate boundaries with a larger scale or inset plan;
  • show measurements in metric units only, to two decimal places;
  • show undefined boundaries accurately and where necessary, by reference to measurements;
  • show measurements that correspond, so far as possible, to scaled measurements.

This does not mean that a plan must show all of the above. For example, it is not necessary to have dimensions if the position of the boundary is clear.

The Cost

Clients that are selling a property, or who are landlords, should be aware that these rules can increase the costs involved. Most clients will be unable to draw plans that meet the requirements of the Land Registry. They will usually have to instruct an architect to draw something suitable, and then obtain sufficient copies to attach to the contract, transfer, lease, etc. It should also be borne in mind that whilst a plan may meet the Land Registry requirements, a photocopy of it will not; the Land Registry argue that a copy will rarely be exactly the same size as the original, and the stated scale will therefore be incorrect.

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