How to Find out Who Owns a House or Land

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It’s not uncommon to want to know who owns a house or a piece of land. You don’t necessarily have to have a connection to the house or land to request this information, but for a small fee you can access previous ownership information.

So, how do you find out who owns a piece of land or property? Our blog post examines how the process works, fees associated and any questions you may have.

In this article:

Reasons for wanting to find out who owns a house

There are several reasons as to why you may want to find a property owner. This could be because you’re interested in purchasing the property and would like to see previous ownership information before making an offer.

Another common reason for finding out who owns a piece of land or a property, may be to learn about development projects in the area. Finding out previous ownership details for local houses can provide useful information on the historical sale prices and so on, for housing developers.

One of the common reasons for enquiring about a property that you have no connection with is curiousness. You may have come across an unusual house, or abandoned property, and want to discover its history.

Once you have decided that you would like to find out ownership information, the next step is to complete the process of requesting these details.

How can I find out who owns a piece of land or property?

If your current thoughts are ‘how can I find out who owns a piece of land?’, there is a simple process you can complete online: HM Land Registry has made available land and property information accessible for all registered members, who can find information regarding title registers, title plans, and Flood Risk Indicator results.

To start this process, you will need to visit the HM Land Registry website. Next you must create an account in order to purchase title plans, title registers or Flood Risk Indicator results.

Once an account is created, you can search for a property by entering the house number/name and the postcode into the corresponding fields. You will be able to select which information you would like to request, and you will be prompted to complete the rest of the purchase by adding in your payment details.

How much does it cost to find a property owner?

It’s not possible to find out who owns a property for free, but the fees are minimal. The different costs associated with the types of information you can request are:

  • £3.00 for a title register copy (details of a property).
  • £3.00 for a title plan (plan of a property).
  • £9.00 (excluding VAT) for a Flood Risk Indicator result (indication of the flood risk for a property).

The fees must be paid online using a credit or debit card.

What is unregistered land?

Put simply, unregistered land is land that hasn’t been registered with the Land Registry. When a property or piece of land is registered, it’s assigned its own unique number, in addition to a document with all relevant information, known as Official Entries.

If a piece of land hasn’t changed ownership between 1925-1985, then it will be classed as unregistered land.

Can I find out who owns a property on unregistered land?

Although around 85% of land and property in England and Wales is registered with the HM Land Registry, it can be a difficult process to find the lawful owner of a property or piece of land.

The first step when finding out who owns property is to double check the land isn’t registered with HM Land Registry. Once you have confirmed it isn’t registered, the next step is to do some detective work. It may take a while to find out the owner, but the best option is to ask local residents, nearby shops, pubs, post offices, and libraries in the local area.

If asking around doesn’t bring up any clues, you could try searching for clues from your local authority records. For example, Yorkshire and Middlesex have their own deeds registries, while the remaining counties have the County Records Offices, which may be able to provide you information regarding who owns a particular property, land, or address.

Another alternative when finding a property owner, is to check with the local authority to see if any applications have been submitted in the past. This is a useful way of finding out the registered owners of a house or piece of land. By law, applicants have to sign either a Certificate A, to say they are the owner, or Certificate B, to say they have served noticed on the owner who must be named.

How can I claim to possess unclaimed land?

Adverse possession is the term referring to the process of claiming unregistered land. To be successful you must fit the following criteria for an uninterrupted period of around 10 to 12 years:

  • Factual or exclusive possession of the land, such as fencing off an area of the land.
  • An intention to possess the land. This can be shown by a combination of factual possession and other actions which excludes any other possible owners.
  • Possession of the land without consent, which means you cannot acquire land where the owner has given you permission as this shows an acknowledgment that another person owns the land.

Claiming unregistered land can be a complicated process to complete without legal guidance, so we suggest you seek legal help such as a solicitor who can help you through the process.

Common problems when finding who owns the property or land

The property is unregistered, how do I find out who owns land?

This is one of the most common problems people come across when trying to find out who the owners are for land or a property. As mentioned earlier, you may have already conducted some investigate work by asking around your local and surrounding areas. Another method when finding out who owns a house is to check the County Records Office or to check if any planning applications have been made in the past.

I can’t find the exact boundaries between my property and my neighbours; how do I find out who owns a piece of land?

In England and Wales, there is often no record of exact boundaries between two properties, so it can often be difficult knowing how to find out who owns a property or piece of land, such as a hedge, tree, wall or fence between properties.

However, you are able to get an idea of where the boundaries for your property are by checking its title deeds. Boundary information may not be included in the property’s title deeds, however, it may be helpful to create a boundary agreement with your neighbour to determine your exact boundaries.

Whether or not you’re in the process of finding out who owns a house, you might want to sell your property fast for cash. Whether this is because you’re stuck in a broken property chain, are relocating abroad, or are avoiding repossession, you may want to consider a ‘we buy any house’ company like Good Move. To find out more and get a free cash offer, get in touch with us today.

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