Block of flatsIn October we changed the way we create title plans for many leasehold registrations that involve a floor level, such as a flat. The policy change has now been in place for more than three months and it is a timely opportunity to provide further information and clarification.

As with all leasehold titles, the register and title plan must be read in conjunction with the lease to understand the agreement made between the original parties. Most lease plans today are digitally produced, clearly showing the precise layout of property extent at a large scale.

Before 20 October our title plans often tried to replicate the intricate details from these large scale lease plans, which was potentially misleading when considering the smaller scale Ordnance Survey maps that we use.

A recent review of the creation of leasehold floor level title plans under our former practice revealed variance in approach, necessitating a process change to ensure we create a consistent product for this type of registration. The purpose of the policy change is to bring more consistency to the mapping of leasehold floor level registrations and to draw greater attention to the lease plan to determine the land comprised in the lease.

The new policy still requires us to record the extent of the land in a lease. However, on larger developments this is more likely to be recorded on the landlord’s title plan, with the tenant’s title plan showing only the outline of the building as published on the large scale Ordnance Survey map.

By adopting this approach it will be easier to understand the position of all the leases out of a registered title in relation to each other on one title plan. Where we are unable to record the extent on the landlord’s title plan we will record the extent on the tenant’s title plan.

It is important to recognise that the change in policy does not alter our requirement to inspect the lease and plan(s) to determine:

  • the extent of the land to be demised
  • the extent of any easements or other interests, and
  • whether the landlord(s) has the power to grant the demise and interests contained therein.

Completion of a leasehold floor level registration, without any written notification of any limitation in the extent or other rights/interests demised, guarantees the title granted to the tenant notwithstanding how the red edging on the title plan is drawn. Additionally, due to our long established internal processes, the change in our mapping policy for leasehold floor level registrations will not impact the results issued on:

  • searches of the index map
  • OS2 applications
  • MapSearch.

The reference in section 60 of the Land Registration Act 2002 to the register showing the general boundary of a registered estate has to be read as a reference to the totality of the register – that is, the description in the property register, the title plan and the note to the title plan which states: “The land in this title lies within the area edged red hereon and is more particularly described in the lease or leases referred to in the property register”. Understood in this way, the general boundary of the flat is shown.

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