How to Find Out Who Owns Land

Estimated reading time 9 minutes

When you want to find out who owns a piece of land in the UK there is no need to fill in lots of paperwork or speak to someone on the telephone for hours on end. It is actually very simple and can be done through a variety of sources.

Step 1: The Land Registry

The Land Registry is the main source of information about property ownership in the UK. It holds the official register of all property and land sold in England and Wales since 1993. What is great is that you are able to view the title plan, the title register for a piece of land and a land summary on-line and if need you can download them.

You can search the Land Registry’s database online and can even only use a postcode to search. From this search you can find information including the current owner, past owners, and any mortgages or charges on the land very quickly for land sold after 1993.

So what information do the Title Plan, Title Register, Property Summary contain and how much does the government charge to download this document.

1.     Title Plan – to download cost £3

A title plan is a map showing the land’s location and its general boundaries — there’s usually no record of exact boundaries.

2.     Title Register – to download costs £3

The title register normally includes who owns the property, the title number, how much it was last sold for, if there is a mortgage on the property or if the mortgage has been paid off, details for restrictive covenants, details of “easements”

3.     Land Summary – free

The land summary includes the title number, the lenders name and address (if there is a mortgage on the land, the type of ownership freehold or leasehold, which is known as tenure, if there are restrictive covenants attached to the land for example if you are not allowed to build on it also if there are certain rights of ways “easements”.

Gaffsy says .. If you have no luck with the Land Registry it means that the ownership of the land is not recorded with the government. This can happen if the property is very old, has never been sold, or if the owner has never chosen to register it with the Land Registry.

Problems when land is not registered

Around 5.2 million acres of land in England & Wales does not have a registered owner and therefore you may have problems finding out who owns the land.  What we do know is that the land has either not been sold or not changed hands for many years and is probably owned by old families or institutions, the Crown, the aristocracy and the Church.

Gaffsy says .. you should know that in England and Wales, all land is owned by somebody, even if the legal owner can’t be identified. For example, if a person dies without a Will or blood relatives, their land or property can pass to the crown by law.

Step 2: To find out who owns land

If the land registry search didn’t help provide you with the information here are some follow on steps you can take to help you find out who owns the land

  1. Instruct a tracing agent they are experts in locating missing freeholders, property owners and landlords as they access to specific data on online systems that the general public doesn’t have access to.
  2. Ask around, neighbours, adjoining landowners and people who have been in the area for a long time as they may be able to point you in the right direction. It can also be worth asking in the local pub and post office as they may be able to help you.
  3. Check the electoral roll: The electoral roll lists the names and addresses of registered voters. If the owner of the land is registered to vote, their name and address may appear on the roll.
  4. Contact local authorities: The local council or other relevant authorities may have information about who owns the property or land. The planning permission application process typically requires the applicant to provide information about who owns the land, and this information is typically made publicly available. Planning permission applications can normally be found by searching online and/or by contacting the local planning authority.

Step 3: Identifying the Type of Land

It is important to know the classification of land that you are purchasing as it will have a bearing on the use and development of the land, as well as its value and likely-hood of obtaining a mortgage.

Residential Land:  Residential land is classified as land that is intended for use as a place of dwelling. This can include land for single-family homes, apartments, and other types of residential properties.

Commercial Land: Commercial land is classified as land that is intended for use for business or commercial purposes, such as offices, retail spaces, and industrial properties.

Agricultural Land:  Agricultural land is classified as land that is used for farming, forestry, or other agricultural purposes. This can include farmland, pasture, and woodland.

Development Land:  Development land is classified as land that is intended for future development, such as building new homes, businesses, or other structures. This can include land that is currently undeveloped or land that is in the process of being developed.

Green Belt Land: Green belt land is classified as land that is designated for preservation and protection, as it provides a green lung around urban areas. This type of land is protected from development and is intended to provide a separation between urban and rural areas. 

Gaffsy says … take a look at Can you get a Mortgage on Land for further insights on land purchases.

Essential Tips to Successfully Sell Your Land

If you are considering selling your land to successfully do so there are several key questions that you should consider:

How Much is My Land Worth?

The value of land in the UK depends on several factors, including whether it has planning permission, its location, size, and potential for future development. It is fair to say that land with planning permission can be worth significantly more than land that does not have any development rights.

How to Sell My Land?

As a landowner there are a number of different approaches you can take to selling land. You can sell it without planning permission which is simple but will result in a lower value. You can sell it on a ‘subject to planning’ basis which reduces the buyer’s risk as they will only be obligated to buy the land once planning is approved which in turn will increase the land’s value. The advantage of this is you don’t have to take spend the money trying to gain planning permission that cost is down to the buyer. Alternatively, securing planning permission before selling the land can significantly increase the lands value, though it involves a long and potentially expensive process.

What is the Timeframe for Planning Permission Decisions?

The time it takes to receive planning approval for your land largely depends on the complexity of the development and the planning process. In most cases planning applications are decided within 8 weeks. For large or complex applications, a decision should be made within 13 weeks. If the application is subject to an environmental impact assessment the decision is meant to be made within 16 weeks.

However, the entire process from start to finish can take 12-18 months.

Who to Instruct to Sell My Land?

When deciding on the best approach to sell your land, you have several options, each with its own set of pros and cons.

  • Estate Agent: Hiring an estate agent can be beneficial due to their ability to handle much of the selling process, including marketing, negotiating, and finalising the sale. They have access to a wide network of potential buyers and can offer valuable advice on how to maximize the sale price. However, this comes at a cost, as estate agents typically charge a commission based on the sale price. Additionally, the process might take longer compared to other methods, and there’s no guarantee of a sale. 
  • Auction House: Selling land through an auction can be a quick and efficient method. It creates a competitive environment among buyers, which can potentially drive up the price. This approach is particularly useful if your land has unique features or is likely to attract a lot of interest. On the downside, there’s less control over the final sale price, which might end up being lower than market value. Additionally, auction houses also charge fees, and the quick sale process might not allow for the best market exposure.
  • Cash Buyer: Opting for a cash buyer, such as a property-buying company, can offer the fastest and most straightforward sale process. This is particularly advantageous if you need to sell quickly or want to avoid the hassle of a traditional selling process. However, cash buyers typically purchase at below market value, which means you might receive less compared to selling through an estate agent or auction.

Do You Want to Sell your Land Fast?

Then sell you land quickly to Gaffsy your trusted, genuine cash house buyer. We can provide you with a free cash offer for your land today and promise a quick stress-free way to sell my land.

  • Get in contact with us for a free cash offer – no waiting time, no costs, no obligations and we pay your legal fees.
  • A transparent, seamless, hassle-free, fast efficient service from an experienced team.
  • Flexibility to work at your pace on a timescale to suit you and as genuine cash buyers we can complete within 7 days.
  • Fair pricing, the price agreed is the cash sum you receive there are no hidden fees
  • Selling to a genuine cash buyer = No financing delays.
  • Your trusted buyer as featured in The Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Ideal Home, Halifax online portal.

We Buy Any Land

At Gaffsy, we specialise in buying a wide range of land types, our expertise spans across residential land, commercial land, industrial land, agricultural land, recreational land or undeveloped land. Whether you are selling land with planning permission, selling land subject to planning permission or selling land without planning permission our experienced team are ready to make you a free cash offer and sell your land today.

With our extensive knowledge and experience in the land buying sector, we ensure you get a fair and competitive offer for your property. We pride ourselves on our successful track record in land acquisitions and as members of National Association of Property Buyers and the Property Ombudsman know that you’re making the right choice by working with us. Contact us today to sell land fast.

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