During the latter months of 2013 some local residents received a notification from HM Land Registry that the Marquess of Salisbury had applied to enter a unilateral notice to register pre-existing ownership rights over their properties. Naturally, this caused fear, distress and anger amongst the residents.
It is my guess that the following 5 questions are amongst the most common concerns for people affected by these rights.
1) What exactly are Manorial Rights?
Manorial Rights are very old interests which belonged to a Lord of the Manor and, in some cases, were kept by the Lord even when his land was sold. The rights enable a Lord of the Manor to exercise sporting rights, rights to mines and minerals under the land, rights to hunt, shoot and fish, and rights to hold fairs and markets.
2) Why did we not know about them?
Prior to the Land Registration Act 2002, there were some interests which could affect (bind) an owner’s property that were very difficult to find out about. They were not visible on the property’s title register nor was there any readily-available information to check for their existence. Manorial Rights are an example of these and they were collectively known as ‘overriding interests’. Importantly, ‘overriding interests’ did not need to be registered in order to remain in existence.
3) Why have they suddenly come to light?
The Land Registration Act 2002 changed the law. It gave owners of ‘overriding interests’ (such as the Marquess of Salisbury) 11 years (until 13th October 2013) within which to register their interest with HM Land Registry. Failure to register the interest resulted in it being lost forever. So, the interests were registered with HM Land Registry, who in turn notified the owners of the affected properties (e.g. the local residents). HM Land Registry is likely to notify the Freehold owner of a property, not the Leasehold owner. If you only own the Leasehold of your property I suggest you contact the Freeholder to find out whether he / she / they have received any notification(s).
4) Will I be able to sell my property?
There is no reason why, as the owner of your property, you will not be able to sell as and when you wish. You may find that some potential buyers are put-off from buying your property once they become aware of the Manorial Rights. However, this could also be the case with a property in a flood-risk area, or where a Tree Preservation Order is in existence, for example. In my experience, buyers have different levels of cautiousness when it comes to making a purchase and it is very much down to the individual.
5) Can anything be done to remove them?
If you receive a notification from HM Land Registry the first thing you must do is read the Explanatory Notes (part of the notification) very carefully as these provide key information. You will normally have three options. You can:
1. Do nothing and leave the unilateral notice on the title register.
2. Contact the Beneficiary of the interest (details will be on HM Land Registry’s notice) and ask them to withdraw it.
3. Submit a form UN4 to HM Land Registry to apply to have the unilateral notice cancelled. We could do this on your behalf and also handle any subsequent communications on your behalf should you wish to pursue a rejected UN4 application
We would be happy to assist you by checking your title deeds or by submitting a form UN4 on your behalf. For more information, please contact Tim Wild on 01707 329333 or firstname.lastname@example.org