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?

Sometimes the following might help track the owner down:

  • Check adjoining registered titles to see if there are any clues as to whether someone owned the whole area at some stage. If they did then they may have sold some of the land but kept some of it back
  • If it is a postal address then check with the local authority/council to see if anyone is on the electoral role for that address
  • 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.


Important points:

  • Our online Find a Property service will normally provide the information you want if the land/property is registered
  • If you want a guaranteed result then make a postal application using form SIM – these are often completed by return of post
  • There is a small fee for each service, for example, currently a minimum of £3 for Find a Property if you want to view/download the available information (if any). The SIM fee starts at £4.
  • Read more on GOV.UK, to see what services are available

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