Lisa Sunley, Objections Officer in our Mines and Minerals Team, explains when using MapSearch or a search of the index map may be helpful when dealing with titles which are already registered
Many of you will be familiar with lodging applications for searches of the index map (SIMs) on unregistered titles but there might be occasions when a search might be needed when dealing with titles which are already registered.
Applications are made with HM Land Registry from time to time to register title to mines and minerals and other manorial interests. On these occasions a separate title number is given to the mineral title.
Where a qualified title is granted no notices are served on the registered proprietors of any surface titles as a qualified title can never conflict with any existing surface titles. (If an absolute title is granted an objection notice is served on the surface owner and an appropriate entry made on the surface title.)
Registered proprietors of surface titles may therefore not always know about a qualified mines and minerals title.
If you are acting on, say, a purchase of a registered title of the surface where you need to know about sub-surface interests, you might need to check to see if there are any sub-surface registered titles.
If your clients complete the purchase and subsequently we receive an application to upgrade the mines and minerals title to an absolute title, we will serve notice on your clients. It may come as a complete surprise to them that there is a mines and minerals title affecting their property. Carrying out a search when they bought would have meant they were aware of this.
See The Law Society’s Conveyancing Handbook (22nd edition) at paragraph B3.3.3 (under the heading Registered titles), which says: “It should be noted that mines and minerals may be registered under a title number separate from the land itself. Therefore an index map search should be done in all non-residential transactions where there is development potential. It may be advisable to make this search in all non-residential transactions.”
Also see paragraph B10.5.9, under the heading Index map search, which states: “When to make: in all cases when buying an interest in unregistered land. It is also useful when buying an area of land comprised in more than one registered title. In all cases when purchasing non-residential land with development potential.”
If you are a HM Land Registry portal user you can do this by using our free MapSearch service. This service has replaced the need for a formal search of the index map for most customers and it reveals all registered extents including sub-surface mines and minerals titles. This service is easy to use and provides an instant result.
If you do not have portal access, applications for a search of the index map can be made using form SIM. (A form SIM application can also be lodged through Business e-services or Business Gateway.)
For further information please see Practice Guide 10 –Index map: official search and Practice Guide 22 – Manors: manorial titles and rights.