On 21 November 2016 the Land Registry announced that it will be abolishing the requirement for original deeds and documents to be submitted with an application for first registration.

This change came into effect on 28 November 2016 and now means that certified copies of deeds and documents can now be submitted instead of the originals.Original documents are also no longer required to support an application to update to an existing register.These changes should, in theory, streamline the registration process.

The Background

First registration involves proving ownership to the land that you wish to register in your name. This process previously involved sending original deeds and documents to the Land Registry along with your application.

The Land Registration Act 2002 specifies the events that will trigger compulsory registration. Land or property must be registered for the first time if it’s unregistered when you take ownership of it or mortgage it.

If however, compulsory registration is not triggered, it is still possible to voluntarily register your interest in land.

Registering voluntarily will:

• give you proof of ownership

• help protect your land from fraud

• make it easier to change, sell or give your property away in the future

You can still lodge first registration applications with original deeds and documents. However, it is important to note that where the original deeds and documents supporting a first registration application have been lost, the application process has not changed.