Use the Lexology Navigator tool to compare the answers in this article with those from other jurisdictions.

Rights and registration

Rights

What types of holding right over real estate are acknowledged by law in your jurisdiction?

The two primary legal interests for the purpose of ‘good marketable title’ in Ireland are freehold and leasehold (with an unexpired term of at least 70 years).  

Are rights to land and buildings on the land legally separable?

Yes. For example, a developer of a multi-unit development will typically retain ownership of the freehold interest in the land on which the building is erected and grant long leasehold interests to buyers of the individual units within the building.

Which parties may hold and exercise rights over real estate? Are there restrictions on foreign ownership of property?

Private individuals, incorporated entities and statutory bodies may hold and exercise rights over real estate.

Subject to satisfactory anti-money laundering documentation being provided and UN and EU sanctions lists, there is no restriction on foreign ownership.

How are rights, encumbrances and other interests over real estate prioritised?

Priority is established on the basis of the date of registration of the relevant right, encumbrance or other interest in the Irish Property Registration Authority. 

Registration

Must real estate rights, interests and transactions be registered in your jurisdiction? What are the legal effects of registration?

Where rights are capable of registration they must be registered with the Irish Property Registration Authority (PRA). The PRA comprises two systems of registration: the Registry of Deeds and the Land Registry. The Registry of Deeds simply registers the existence of the relevant document; while the Land Registry system is more modern and its accuracy is guaranteed by the state. Any real estate sold for value must now be lodged for registration in the Land Registry.

The effect of registration is to give the holder of the interest priority to any subsequently registered interests.

What are the procedural and documentary requirements for entry into the national real estate register(s)? Can registration be completed electronically?

Documentation must be lodged with the PRA and meet the following criteria:

  • submitted (generally) in a prescribed form;
  • validly executed; and
  • contain a ‘stamp certificate’ evidencing that stamp duty has been paid to the Irish Revenue Commissioners.

Hard copies of documentation must be lodged with the PRA together with a fee and the relevant Property Registration Authority form (which is publicly available). Electronic registration is currently limited to discharges of some encumbrances.

What information is recorded in the national real estate register(s) and to what extent is such information publicly available?

The Registry of Deeds records:

  • the name of the parties to the relevant document; and
  • the legal description of the property.

A ‘memorial’ providing a summary of the terms of a registered deed is publicly available for a fee of €20.

The Land Registry records:

  • the description of the property;
  • the owner of the interest in the property;
  • the nature of the interest held (eg, freehold or leasehold);
  • any encumbrances (or ‘burdens’); and
  • a map identifying the property.

 A folio providing these details is available online for a fee of €5.

Is there a state guarantee of title?

Not for the Registry of Deeds. A state guarantee of title is available for the Land Registry, but the accuracy of the boundaries on the registry map is not guaranteed.

Click here to view the full article.