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How to find out ownership details of property and land

The aim of registering title to land is to create and maintain a register of landowners whose title is guaranteed by the state - basically making the transfer and mortgaging of land easier.

Land & Property Services (LPS) holds three separate registries

  • Land Registry, which maintains a record of map based registrations in Northern Ireland and guarantees legal title
  • Registry of Deeds, a system of registering documents which relate to unregistered land
  • Statutory Charges Register, a system which allows buyers to check if a property is affected by certain statutory restrictions

The benefits of registering property or land are

  • you can look at the register and/or title plan of a property you own
  • you can find out who owns a specific property
  • you can discover the extent of a property
  • you can identify and approach the owner of an unoccupied property you are interested in buying
  • you can contact the landlord of a property you lease or rent

Land Registry

Land Registry does not merely provide a mechanical registration system; it actually guarantees the validity of the legal title.  

Each title has its own unique number known as the Folio Number, which:

  • describes the property
  • records who owns the property
  • gives details of encumbrances such as mortgages or rights that may affect the property adversely

The Land Registry also produces a title plan, showing the location and extent of the land or property’s legal boundary. The plan does not normally show who owns the boundary features.

When is registration compulsory?

When there is a sale of property, within Northern Ireland the title must be registered in the Land Registry.

When is registration not compulsory?

  • transactions where no money consideration is paid such as gifts, Assents, etcetera
  • mortgages and Charging Orders
  • leases for a term not exceeding 21 years
  • exchanges or partitions of land, provided there is no monetary consideration
  • surrenders of leases

Advantages of registering land

  • legal title is guaranteed
  • an accurate plan of the extent of ownership is created
  • an up-to-date public record of ownership is created
  • rights of way are clearly identified
  • covenants and mortgages are recorded
  • risk of fraud is greatly reduced
  • simple forms replace complicated deeds
  • repeated examination of title deeds is unnecessary
  • disputes can be resolved more easily

For more information on the Land Registry, including how to search it and what search fees apply, please use the link below:

Registry of Deeds (ROD)

The system of registering document of unregistered land is known as the Registry of Deeds. This is for land which has not been registered in the Land Registry.

Under this system, a document which is a summary of the original deed is lodged and retained by LPS. The original deed is returned to the person who lodged it. The Registry of Deeds system does not guarantee that any document is valid or has any legal effect.

The compulsory first registration programme will ultimately lead to the phasing out of the Registry of Deeds.

For more information on the Registry of Deeds, including how to search it and what search fees apply, please use the link below:

Statutory Charges Register

This Registry provides purchasers of land with an easy method of checking whether a property is affected by certain statutory restrictions. These restrictions are generally created by or in favour of government departments or local authorities and include Clearance Orders and Preservation Orders.

For more information on the Statutory Charges Register, including how to search it and what search fees apply, please use the link below:

Search the registers and fees

Please use the link below to find out how to search the various registers and how much this will cost.

More useful links