HM Land Registry Launches Digital Service

Shona Jackson
by Shona Jackson
25th July 2018

The government has launched an online register of Local Land Charges. Self builders in England can search the new database service  to discover restrictions and charge details relating to a particular property or plot of land before they make a purchase.

Hosted by HM Land Registry, the service aims to collate Local Land Charges data in one accessible place. A phased scheme will see all Local Land Charges registers migrate from local authorities to a centralised database.

Local authorities will continue to respond to related queries, but once an authority’s data has been transferred to the digital registry, self builders will no longer be able to get local land charge search data from that local authority.

In-situ concrete cantilever
Designed by Strom Architects, this site of this modernist home was subject to a Local Land Charge protecting trees on the plot
Flush threshold sliding doors
To create this cantilevered home, the owners had to negotiate level changes with minimal disruption to the landscape

Read the full story: Stunning Cantilevered Self Build

The HM Land Registry scheme is working with 26 local authorities in 2018 to transfer their Local Land Charges data to the central digital register.

Warwick District Council are the first to use the service. Self builders requiring local land change searches in the area will need to consult the service rather than contacting the council as previously.

What are Local Land Charges?

Local Land Charges are restrictions or prohibitions applied to a property or piece of land, either to secure payment, or to limit the use of the plot. Charges are binding, and apply to successive owners and occupiers of the site.

Common types of charges include (but are not limited to):

How to use the register

To search the register, visit HM Land Registry’s dedicated website and enter the relevant postcode. Database enquiries are split into two categories: personal and official.

Personal searches are free to make and include a map of the search area, a description of the local land charge, the registration date when the charge was added and the name of the authority that can answer questions about this charge.

Official searches cost £15 and in addition to the above, will cover official search certificates, unlimited data downloads and repeat searches for six months, a search history dashboard, extended charge information and a map of local land charge boundaries.

Warwick District Council’s chief executive Chris Elliott said: “We welcome any measures which will speed up the process of buying a home.”

“Opening up our data to HM Land Registry will be a huge benefit not only to those wishing to purchase a home or land in our district, but also to our busy planning team.”

Top image:  Charles and Penny Denton undertook a self build on a sloping site with a tree protection order in place. 
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