One of the main reasons people come to us is to find out who owns a piece of land or a property. If it’s in England or Wales and registered, then it can be quite simple, but if it’s unregistered, it will probably be a lot harder.

If you’re trying to track down the owner of a property, then our online Find a Property service should be the starting point as you can search against the address. If it’s a piece of land, then you can use the Aerial Land Locator, as part of the same service in a Map Enquiry – this uses a nearby address to find the right area and then pinpoint the land itself.

Some searches will not reveal any information online, but that does not always mean that the land/property is unregistered, although this is rare as over 80% is now registered. If that happens, then it’s best to check with us by post just to be sure.

If it’s unregistered, then that does not mean nobody owns it – all land/property is owned, but until it’s registered, the ownership is not recorded.

But what do you do if the property/land is unregistered?

To help track the owner down, you could:

  • check adjoining registered titles to see if there are any clues as to whether someone owned the whole area at some stage, as they may have sold some of the land but kept some of it back;
  • check with the local authority/council to see if anyone is on the electoral role for that address (if you have a postal address); and
  • speak to neighbours or anyone who lives in the area, say in the local shop/post office/pub

Of course, none of the above have any guarantee of success, but how far you go with any further checks will depend on how keen you are to trace the legal owner.


Search our records

If the land and property is registered, our online Find a Property service will normally provide the information you want. It costs from £3 to view or download the available information.

If you want a guaranteed result, make a postal application using form SIM. These are often completed by return of post and the fee starts at £4.

See what other services we offer on GOV.UK.

By AdamH,
Customer Service Representative at HM Land Registry Head Office