Property Register being updated by Land Registry employee. SAM Conveyancing's guide on how to apply for a Land Registry First Registration
Not sure if you're required to submit a first registration application with the Land Registry?
Our panel of solicitors are experienced in handling all types of transactions and they will be able to advise you on this during your conveyancing process.

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Land Registry First Registration

(Last Updated: 28/03/2023)
5 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Under the Land Registration Act 2002, all property and land must be registered with the Land Registry.
  • A first registration application can only be submitted by the current or next owner and all the forms have to be sent out by post.
  • Land Registry first registration timescales can make this process last for up to 14 months, depending on how complex your case is. If you're buying the property, your seller will still be considered the legal owner until your registration is confirmed.

How to register an unregistered property

    Either the current owner, or their successor can submit a first registration application, in cases where the registration is compulsory.

If a mortgage is registered on a property and it triggers compulsory first registration, your lender can apply for the title to be registered in your name, whether you consent to it or not. If first registration is compulsory, you are liable to submit your first registration application within 2 months of completion.

    In your application, you will need to fill in a Form FR1. You can download a copy of this form on the Government website.

Together with the FR1 form, you will also need to send the following documents:
  • A Form DL - this is a document which lists out all of the documents sent with your first registration application
  • Plan - When entering a Land Registry First Registration, the boundaries of the land/property you are registering must be clearly delimitated in either a plan on its own, or a plan, postal address or another description inside the title deed. These options are listed in your FR1 Form and should you choose the first option - ad hoc plan - you will need to send this with your application.
  • Lease - if you're registering a leasehold, you must present your lease, both in original (if possible) and as a certified copy.
  • Title Deeds - together will any other document relating to your lease
  • Application fee - we discuss the fees in further detail in our article - Land Registration Fees

Additional forms

  • Transfer of whole of registered title form - for purchased or inherited properties.
  • Whole of registered title assent form - for inherited properties.

Can you do a first registration on the Land Registry portal?

It is currently not possible to submit a Land Registry First Registration on their online portal. You will need to send all of your documents by post.

How long does first registration take with Land Registry?

Your first registration application will take at least 13 months to process. According to the Land Registry official guidance, almost all applications are handled in 14 months, with the exception of more complex cases, which could take longer.

Until the Land Registry first registration is completed, the seller remains the legal owner as the the property transfer only takes place on registration. This means that the seller holds the property on trust for the buyer until the property register is updated, but your transaction is protection from the moment of application.

If you are worried about delays, you will want an experienced conveyancing solicitor to handle your application for first registration, as the main cause for delay is when the land registry have to make requisitions for more paperwork due to missing or unclear information in the initial application.

What triggers first registration Land Registry?

When you first take ownership of land or a property, whether it's by transfer or mortgage, you will need to register it with the Land Registry. First registration is compulsory for property and land in the following cases:

  • Purchases

  • Gifts

  • Inheritance

  • Exchange for other property or land

  • Mortgage

Voluntary first registration applies to leasehold land or properties if there are 7 years or less on the lease when you take ownership.

What is a caution against first registration Land Registry?

A Caution Title is submitted when a property or land is unregistered and someone else other than the legal owner claims an interest in it. This will not create or validate the claimed interest, but it will merely allow the person submitting it to be notified if a first registration application is ever started with the Land Registry. If they have reasonable cause, they can oppose to the first registration taking place.

For example, if a creditor obtains a charging order against you, they can secure it by registering a caution title on your property. If you're ever trying to sell, the buyer's conveyancing solicitor will be able to spot this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Laura Cristian - Digital Marketing Assistant - Meet the team - SAM Conveyancing
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Laura has a talent for data analysis and fact-finding. She is an advertising graduate with a broad range of skills in the web marketing field within conveyancing sector. She works closely with our panel of solicitors and surveyors to understand our clients' needs and challenges and to write the most valuable content for you.
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
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Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.

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