Keeping the Land Registry up to date with your contact details might not be top of your priority list, but failure to do so can cause problems if legal correspondence is issued and you know nothing about it!
Property management solicitor Alexandra Byard explains the importance of good housekeeping when it comes to updating the Land Registry.
The service charge and ground rent recovery specialists at Brady Solicitors deal regularly with complex and specialist property litigation and we regularly encounter out of date addresses at HM Land Registry.
Why does this matter?
First, if there is an application that could affect your legal rights or interest in the land, the Land Registry will need to write to you. These sorts of applications can include:
- Registering an adverse notice against the land;
- Claiming adverse possession of the land; and
- Registering a title to mines and minerals below the surface of the land – this could have a significant impact on future development possibilities.
Secondly, it is increasingly common for solicitors to send copies of legal correspondence at the ‘pre-action’ stage of proceedings to the Land Registry address, in addition to any other address the management company or freeholder holds.
If you have not updated your address held at the Land Registry and with your management company / freeholder, then you could have proceedings issued against you without your knowledge.
For example, a service charge claim could lead to a CCJ being entered against you and the judgment may be difficult to set aside if you had failed to update your address.
The recent case of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council v Tanna found that the address given by a property owner on the Land Registry is a good address for service, if no other address has been provided.
Leaseholders – what should you do?
As a property owner registered at the Land Registry you must be aware that if someone wishes to serve a notice on your property then they are only obliged to search the Land Registry for your contact address if they have no other address for you.
It is your responsibility to keep your address up to date! You can provide three different addresses, including an email address and an address abroad. The good news is that it is free to update your address at HM Land Registry – click here to start the process.
A footnote for management companies and freeholders
As explained above, it is the leaseholder’s duty to update the Land Registry (and you) of any change of address for the purposes of serving a notice in relation to their property. This should not however encourage you to rely solely on the Land Registry details. If the leaseholder has given you a more recent address than that shown on the proprietorship register, you will need to continue using this address but it would be good practice to also serve any notices at the Land Registry address.