wikiHow to Find Land Owners (UK)

Four Methods:Starting Your Search for LandownersUsing the Land Registry in England and WalesSearching with the Land Register of ScotlandUsing the Land Registry in Northern Ireland

Discovering who owns land in the UK is a relatively straightforward task, even when the local residents have no idea who owns the property. England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland each have their own land registers that can be searched for a small fee. 85% of the property in England and Wales is registered[1], and in Scotland and Northern Ireland, one can often find the owners of even unregistered lands using the Sasines Register and Register of Deeds, respectively. So if you have an address or an accurate map of the land you want to know about, you can usually discover who owns it.

Method 1
Starting Your Search for Landowners

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    Note that there are many reasons why people search for the owners of land:
    • They may be looking to buy a piece of land that is not for sale.
    • Or require the consent of a property owner to carry out changes to the land.
    • Possibly they need to issue court papers on the owners.
    • Have a boundary issue or want to extend land or garden area.
    • Considering using the land for pasture.
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    Use the internet. Start by entering the address or any information that you may have in a search engine. You can often find the owner this way, and even if you can’t, a search will waste little time and no money. There are also pay sites, usually based on the information found in official registries, such as whoownsscotland.org.uk or landregistryservices.com.
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    Ask around. The easiest way to find out who owns a piece of land is to ask the locals. Check the local pub or with neighbors.
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    See if anyone is on the electoral role for the address. The local authority or council should have the electoral role information.[2]

Method 2
Using the Land Registry in England and Wales

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    Consult the Land Registry for land in England or Wales. If talking to the locals and town authorities does not turn up an owner, or if you want to be sure they are correct, you should consult the Land Registry. You can search for property online by its address or map location. The cost is only 3 pounds for a basic search or 4 pounds plus other costs for a search of the index map.
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    Search by address. If the property you are looking at has an address, then the search is easy. You’ll need the:
    • Flat number
    • House number or name
    • Street name
    • Town
    • Post code
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    Do a map search. If you have an incomplete address or no address, you can do an online search using map and aerial imagery. Just use the map to zero in on the area of interest, then click "find properties" to see a list of properties in the area.
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    Ask for a search of the index map to double check if a property is registered. If your address search or map search do not reveal any title for a property, this does not necessarily mean the property is unregistered.[3] To be sure, you will want to do an index map search. Unlike address or self-guided map searches, an index map search provides results with the benefit of indemnity protections under the Land Registration Act of 2002.
    • Use form SIM to apply for an index map search.
    • Supply as much information as possible, including:
      • The local authority serving the property, to whom taxes are paid
      • Postal number or house name
      • Road name
      • Locality
      • Postal town name
      • Postcode
      • Ordnance survey map reference
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    Include a plan if the property does not have a postal description, or if there is doubt as to the extent of the property. The Ordnance Survey can help you locate a large scale Ordnance Survey map for your plan. The plan must:[4]
    • Be drawn to scale.
    • Be a copy of an extract from the Ordnance Survey map on the largest scale published (usually 1/1250 for urban properties and 1/2500 for rural properties).
    • Indicate scale and orientation.
    • Show the extent of the property by coloring or edging.
    • Show the position of the property in relation to nearby roads and other features.
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    Submit your index map search application online or via mail. You can check where to submit it here.
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    Remember that just because a property is not registered, does not mean it is not owned. Over 85% of property in England and Wales is now registered. However, even unregistered property is owned, though the ownership is not recorded.[5] As a last recourse, consider hiring an attorney or other expert in determining property ownership.

Method 3
Searching with the Land Register of Scotland

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    Perform an ownership search at the Registers of Scotland website. You can search by address or by uploading a plan. Scotland does not have a self-guided map search like that for England and Wales. You can find such a function at whoownsscotland.org.uk, but you will have to subscribe, starting at 5 pounds a month.
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    Search by postal address. Results will be returned within 2 business days. For this search to work, you will need the full postal address, including:[6]
    • Postal number
    • Road name
    • Town/City
    • County
    • Postal Code
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    Submit a plan showing the area to be searched. The map must be to scale and show nearby roads or other buildings.[7] The cost of such a search is 24 pounds, and a response will be forthcoming in 2-5 business days. For more information on the format of the plan, contact a Registers of Scotland Customer Service Center.
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    Try the Sasine Register if the land is unregistered. Before the establishment of the land title system in 1981, all property transfers were recorded in the Sasines.[8] You can consult the Sasines yourself in Edinburgh, or hire a record agent to perform the search for you.

Method 4
Using the Land Registry in Northern Ireland

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    Go to a Land and Property Services Customer Information Center. You will need to conduct your search in person with the help of the center staff. There are centers in Belfast, Ballymena, Omagh, and Craigavon. You can find full addresses at the Land and Property website.
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    Consult the land registry map with the help of center staff. You can find the property via address or by bringing a map showing nearby road names and landmarks. If the land is registered, you can view its file, including the current registered owner. The cost of such a search is 5 pounds. There are additional fees for obtaining a copy of the file or registry map.[9]
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    Search the registry of deeds if the property is not registered in the land registry. Records beginning in 1990 have been digitized and can show the property’s original deed. Center staff will help you with your search. To search the paper records before 1990, you will need the name of the previous owner. Try asking about in the locality to see if you can discover it.[10]

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Categories: Real Estate