I have recently acted in a matter where a client purchased a property with only ‘good leasehold title’.
My client understandably asked what this meant and what the implications would be and in light of this I thought I would set a brief guide to the types of leasehold title you can get in England and Wales.
The Land Registry is responsible for the registration of all land in England and Wales. When title to a legal estate is registered with the Land Registry leasehold property may be registered with
- An absolute title;
- A good leasehold title;
- A possessory title;
- A qualified title.
Most leasehold title is registered with absolute title. An absolute leasehold title guarantees that the lease under which the land is held is vested in the owner and also that the lease was validly granted. This is the type of title that would mean that a potential buyer could buy safe in the knowledge that nobody could come along at a later stage and claim any right over the land or property that has been purchased.
Some properties are registered with good leasehold title. This usually occurs where you cannot prove or ascertain the landlord or freeholders title or what restrictions may impact on the land or the property. The implications of this are that the Land Registry will only guarantee the title to land from the date of the registration of the lease. It will no prejudice any estates, rights or interests that would have affected the Freeholders right to grant the lease. Other than this a good leasehold title has the same effect as a registration with absolute title.
If the property is registered under possessory title then typically this is when the original applicant for registration has claimed right over the land by adverse possession (i.e. by squatting) or where the title deeds have been lost or destroyed. A possessory title can give rise to rights over the land coming to light after the registration of the property and as a purchaser of such land you would always be advised to fully research that land you are buying and to possibly take out indemnity insurance.
Finally if the property is qualified it is the same as good leasehold or absolute title apart for a specified defect in the title, which would be listed on the title to the property.
Should you have any questions on the above please contact William James in the Commercial Department
on 10623 451111 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org