Title Types & Registering Titles Explained
All property ownership takes the form of either a freehold or leasehold title registered with the Land Registry.
I. Freehold Title:
Owning a freehold title means that you own the building and the surrounding land outright. The name of the owner is listed with the Land Registry as owning the Title Absolute. It is important to remember that The Crown ultimately owns all property however a freehold title is the most outright ownership of land or property, without charge and for an unlimited period of time. Subject to complying with UK Laws and Local Authority regulations, you are free to carry out works and alterations or grant a leasehold title to any parts of your property.
II. Leasehold Title:
A leasehold title on the other hand is ownership of a defined area of land or property for a defined period of time, subject to a charge or rent. One can acquire Long Leaseholds, also known as Virtual Freeholds, with new lease terms usually ranging from 99 years to 999 years. As a leaseholder you will be responsible for a paying rent to your Landlord. The Landlord may or may not be the Freeholder as you can often see an unlimited chain of Landlords and Tenants, referred with the prefix of Superior and Sub.
As a leaseholder you must seek consent and obtain a formal Licence granting permission from your Superior Landlord(s) before carrying out any works to the property, subletting or assigning the whole or part of the premises. Usually the leaseholder will have to pay the Landlord(s) reasonable fees in obtaining the Licence.
III. Registering a Title:
When registering a Title with the Land Registry, both freehold and leasehold estates may be registered with either:
In addition, leasehold estates may be registered with a good leasehold title.
The class of title with which the property is registered is stated at the beginning of the proprietorship register. We will explain these:
It is important to explain an Absolute Title. This is title to a property that is free of any encumbrances or deficiencies. This is the best class of title and the one that should be granted in the majority of cases. Absolute title gives unequivocal right of ownership to the owner, whether it is Freehold or Leasehold and cannot be disputed or challenged by anyone else. This is opposed to titles with liens, attachments or judgments against them. There are instances where due to insufficient evidence or apparent fault or defect the Land Registry will not grant an Absolute Title.
Possessory titles may be granted where the owner claims to have acquired the land by adverse possession. Alternatively it may be where the owner cannot produce documentary evidence of title to an estate for some reason. These titles are rare and often used in instances of repossession.
Qualified titles are granted where there is some specific defect that has been identified and this is stated in the register. These are even less common than possessory titles.
A type of title deed for real estate where the Land Registry cannot confirm that the title of the granter has been confirmed with the Land Registry otherwise known as an Absolute Title. Therefore it is not fully known if the Landlord has the full power to grant the title or if any restrictive covenant affects the property. Provided the title to the property itself is satisfactory, the title will be granted.
Perfecting or Upgrading a Title:
Under the terms of the Land Registration Act 2002 one may apply to The Land Registry to improve the type of title held. It is advised that this is done with the advice of a solicitor. You must submit your full evidence to the Land Registry and fees are applicable.