Index Map

Our accuracy rate on searches of the index map (SIMs) is impressive, as we only issue a minor percentage of incorrect SIM results. But we appreciate it can be frustrating when you receive an incorrect result or your application is rejected.

We’re not making excuses, but on average we receive around 1,100 applications per day. These vary from easier single residential properties to complex search extents such as the entire Metro Centre in Newcastle (and everything in between).

The most common reasons for rejecting a SIM include plans not being lodged and poor quality plans and/or extent references. The other main problem we have is not revealing a title number that affects the search area, this can be down to incorrectly interpreting your search area on your plan.

Business customer? Use MapSearch first and the ‘note box’ on the portal

MapSearch is available on the portal system. This allows you to establish which title numbers affect your search area free of charge, instantly. As soon as you find the correct titles, you can order the official copies, making the whole preliminary investigation process quick and stress-free. If your search area is wholly registered and you do not need indemnity provisions, an official SIM result is not required.

If your search area includes unregistered land or complex registrations, then it is appropriate to lodge your SIM in the traditional way (using form SIM lodged through the portal or post). This can take up to a week to complete, once received.

If you’re lodging a SIM, then you can give us a head start by quoting any title numbers you believe affect the search area after having a quick look on MapSearch. You can use the ‘additional information’ field on the portal to list the title numbers, as demonstrated below. We can then look more closely at these title numbers and see if they affect your search area.

Additional information field completed to show a known title number

Precise edging = accurate result

All plans are open to personal interpretation by the drafter. Let’s look at how the colouring you use can alter the result you receive:

Diagram A showing thick edging and Diagram B showing precise edging

The edging on Diagram A would potentially result in 10 titles being revealed on the SIM result – this is probably not your intention! Take care not to encroach onto land you are not interested in.

The edging on Diagram B is precise and will mean you receive the result you were expecting.

Provide a plan for anything other than a single residential property

Quite often we receive SIMs relating to ‘Land at’ or ‘farms’ for example, without a plan. Unfortunately, we’re unable to determine an accurate search area without a plan and have to reject them – #IfInDoubtLodgeAPlan.

Large or complex search area? You can help us by supplying spatial data

If your SIM plan was produced using a Geographical Information System (GIS) or Computer Aided Design, chances are the company who created the plan will be able to supply spatial data.

Many software packages can export spatial data, so it is worth asking your supplier if they can supply it, as it helps to speed up your application. Find out about the file formats we can accept and our spatial data capture requirements.

Plans based on very old map detail

We appreciate you may not have a current Ordnance Survey plan within your file and sometimes you may only have a copy of the plan from the original conveyance. However, trying to relate these old plans to the current Ordnance Survey detail can be really difficult, especially if the land has been redeveloped or if the position of the fences has altered. To ensure your application is accepted and your result is correct, please use a current plan to identify your search area whenever possible.

For more guidance on preparing plans for HM Land Registry applications please read Preparing plans for HM Land Registry applications (PG40s2).

Don’t miss #TipTuesday

More hints and tips (not just on SIMs but all casework and information services) can be found on our LinkedIn and Twitter channels. Every Tuesday we publish a series of tips aimed at helping our customers so look out for the hashtag #TipTuesday.

Emily Bradbury
By Emily Bradbury,
Caseworker at HM Land Registry, Telford office SIMS Team