In our blog of 21 October, we talked about the change in the law on chancel repair liability. This blog covers other interests that may affect your property.

Manorial rights

Manorial rights include rights to hunt, shoot or fish and certain rights to mines and minerals. These mines and minerals rights are completely different from the ownership of land below the surface, which we talked about in our blog of 30 October.

There are varying types of manorial rights relating to mines and minerals. They can range from owning the mines and minerals and being able to take them away (whether or not the owner of the surface agrees) to having some rights to them that can only be exercised with the agreement of the surface owner.

Our role

We are a government department responsible for registering the ownership of land and property in England and Wales and recording the rights and interests that affect it. We have a statutory duty to deal with requests for registration of these interests and to inform the affected property owners.

We send out a letter when we receive an application from someone who claims to have an interest in a property or piece of land. They are our way of letting an owner know someone else has registered a claim that they own an interest that affects their land or property. The letter tells the owner that an entry called a ‘unilateral notice’ has been put in the register for that land or property.

Our letter gives the owner the opportunity to consider the issue and to apply to cancel the notice if they think their property is not subject to it.

If we have sent a letter about a claimed interest this does not mean we have endorsed or approved it. It is a claimed interest that the owner can seek to challenge.

The letters we send

In some cases, hundreds of affected property owners in a community have received a letter from us, which has then been widely reported in the local and national press.

HM Land Registry letter

We know that receiving these letters has caused worry and concern to many and there have been some complaints about their wording. In some cases, there have also been some misunderstandings and misreporting in the press about our role in all of this, with some property owners thinking we have been encouraging or even arranging for these applications to be made. This is not the case.

We have been listening to the feedback we’ve had on the letters and we have amended them to make them clearer and easier to understand.

Challenging a notice in the register

An owner can apply to cancel a notice at any time by completing and lodging a form UN4 or on request from our offices.

If a dispute then results about whether or not the notice should affect the property this may have to be decided by a tribunal or the courts.

Further information

For more information please see our guidance Registrations and notices about mines and minerals, chancel repairs and manorial rights.

Gavin Curry
By Gavin Curry,
Digital Communications and Editorial Officer at HM Land Registry