Upgrading the class of title to property at the Land Registry
Trainee Solicitor, Georgina Went, takes you through the process of upgrading your class of title to property at the Land Registry.
Classes of title:
Absolute title is the best class of title and the one which is granted in most cases. Absolute title will not be granted if the Land Registry is unable to guarantee to the owner that there is no risk to their ownership of the land and any other person claiming a right in the land. Usually, this will be the case if there is some defect in title where there is evidence lacking.
Possessory title is likely to be granted where the occupier is claiming a right over the land by adverse possession. It is also possible to be granted possessory title when the owner is unable to produce certain documentary evidence of their title.
Qualified titles are granted when a defect of the title has been identified and the specific details of that defect are detailed in the title register. These titles are extremely rare.
Upgrading the class of title:
Four groups of people are entitled to apply to have their class of title upgraded from a sub-standard class of title to a better one:
The registered proprietor
A person entitled to be registered as proprietor, to include a personal representative of a deceased proprietor and a purchaser of the land
A proprietor of a registered charge over the land
A person who is interested in a registered estate that derives from the registered estate to be upgraded
Once the land is registered, you can make an application to upgrade the class of title at any time. In order to make a successful application, you must satisfy the Land Registry that any defects in the title have been remedied and therefore the reasons for granting an inferior class of title no longer apply.
The only exception to the above rule is in the event of a possessory title after a lapse of time. In this instance, you can apply to upgrade the title, whether freehold or leasehold, to either an absolute freehold or a good leasehold title once the possessory title has been registered for 12 years.
If you have been granted a good leasehold title and you want to upgrade to an absolute leasehold title you will need to provide the Land Registry with evidence of:
The lessor’s title and title to any other reversionary titles up to and including the freeholder
The reversionary titles registered with absolute title