Title Deeds Conveyancing

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Investigation of vendor's title

LPA 1925 s 44(1) amended by LPA 1969 s 23

  • In the absence of any contrary agreement between the vendor and purchaser statute specifies the period to be covered by the abstract of title and the current period is 15 years
  • The vendor must identify the person who owned the fee simple 15 years ago; and he must provide documentary evidence of the conveyance to that person, together with evidence of all subsequent coneyance of, an dealings affecting, the fee simple
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Enforceability/protection of 3rd party rights

Legal interests are universally enforceable irrespective of notice/registration

  • The purchaser is bound by any other existing legal estates and interests irrespective of whether or not he has notice of the interest at the time of the conveyance
  • A purchaser of land would acquire the land subject to any existing legal leases and any legal easements over the land
  • Exception - a legal mortgage is registrable as a land charge and is subject to the principles of the Land Charges Act.

Equitable interests

  • Doctrine of notice largely inapplicable
  • Family interests and commercial interests - legislation distinguished between different types of equitable interests which have been termed 'family' and 'commercial' interests. In the context of title deeds conveyancing and doctrine of notice was replaced by overreaching in the case of family interests and by the registartion of land charges under the Land Charges Act in the case of commercial interests
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Family interests protected by overreaching

  • Overreaching - the proce** whereby existing interests are subordinated to a later interest or estate created pursuant to a trust or power
  • LPA 1925 ** 2(1)(ii)
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Commercial interests protected by registration of

Principles of the land charges system

  • Registration against names - LCA 1972 s3(1)

Interests are required to be registered agains the name of the person who is the 'estate owner' of the land in question and 'whose land is intended to be affected'. Thus the person entitled to the relevant interest will normally register it as a land charge against the name of the estate owner who created it.

  • Effect of registration - LPA 1925 s198(1)

Registration shall be deemed to constitute actual notice of such instrument or matter and of the fact of such registration. The effect of registration against the freeholder extends to a leaseholder of the land in question. It no longer applies to a purchaser who has entered into but not yet completed a contract for the sale and puchaser of land

  • Effect of non-registration - LCA 1972 s 4

If not registered, it is void as against a purchaser of the land. An unregistered land charge that is not void under the terms of s 4 remains enforceable.

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Commercial interests protected by registration of

  • Attempts to avoid the statutory consequences of non-registration

Despite the apparently unambigious terms of s4, various agreements have been advanced in attempts to avoid its stated consequences

  • Actual notice of the purchaser

A registrable but unregistered interest should noe be void where the person claiming that the interest is unenforceable had actual notice of it

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Interest holder in actual occupation of the land

LPA 1925 s 14

Lloyds Bank Plc v Carrick

  • Although the estate contract was void against the bank for want of registration, he held that Mr C held the property on trust for Mrs C and that her interest under the trust was enforceable against the bank under the doctrine of constructive notice
  • It was argued that, despite the non-registration of a registrable land charge, rendering the relevant interest unenforceable against the purchaser the claimant may be able to idenfity a separate and distinct interest, not registable as a land charge but enforceable against the purchaser by virtue of the doctrine of notice
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Estoppel based arguments

  • In certain circumstances, it may be argued that a purchase is estopped from relying on the non-registration of  a registrable land charge
  • If the purchaser of land represents, expressly or by implication, to the owner of a registrable but unregistered land charge that it is enforceable, intending that the owner should rely on that representation
  • If the owner act to this detriment in reliance on the representation, the purchaser may be estopped from denying the substance of his representation
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Categories of Registrable Land Charges

Land Chargest Act 1972 s 2

  • Pusine Mortgages - Class C(i)

They are subsequent or second legal mortgages. A mortgagor of unregistered land is normally required to deposit the title deeds relating to the land with the 1st mortgagee, thereby providing the 1st mortgagee with some protection against further dealings with the land that might prejudice the security of the mortgage.

  • Estate Contracts - Class C(iv)

Include contracts to convey or create any legal estate or interest made by the current owner and also sub-contracts of a similar nature made by a person entitled under an estate contracts

  • Options to purchase

Entitles but does not require the grantee to demand that the grantor convey to the grantee the agreed interest in the land, provided that the grantee makes the demand within any specified period and satisfied all the other terms of the option. It imposes no obligation on the grantee to exercise the option or to accept the conveyance contemplated by the option

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Categories of Registrable Land Charges 2

  • Rights of pre-emption

The grantee cannot demand that the grantor convey the relevant interest in the land, unless and until the grantor indicates his willingness to sell; but if an when the grantor does indicate that willingness, the right of pre-emption becomes in effect an option to purchase, subject ot the entitlement of the grantor under the terms of the grant to withdraw the offer.

  • Restrictive covenants - Class D(ii)

Relate to freehold land are registrable only if they are entered into after 1925; the enforceability of pre 1926 covenants depend upon the equitable doctrine of notice

  • Equitable easements - Class D(iii)

They are registrable only if they are created or arose after 1925; the enforceability of pre 1926 equitable easements depends upon the equitable doctrine of notice

  • Home rights - Family Law Act 1996 (Class F)

At common law, a wife has a personal right to occupy the matrimonial home by reason of her status as a wife. The court developed the doctrine of 'deserted wifes equity' according to which the common law rights of the wife were afforded protection against a purchaser of the matrimonial home from the husband

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