Land Registry on-line Services

As part of its ongoing drive to increase the range of electronic services, Land Registry has now increased the number of services which are available to lenders via its online systems. These include:

  • Priority Checker – for lenders who are Land Registry Data Synchronisation customers, this will provide a monthly alert to detail their legal charges which do not have first priority on the register. In this way, a lender will be able to take action to address any priority issues at an early stage.
  • Charge and Discharge confirmation – For those lenders who are not Data Synchronisation customers, the Land Registry will provide a monthly report of all their new charges which have been registered in the past month. This will include details of the priority position of those charges on the register.
  • Customer Retention analysis – analysing remortgage trends for previous customers
  • Cash/Mortgage Indicator – which is designed to assist lenders in measurement of trends in unfinanced sale transactions when compared with financed sale transactions.

The Land Registry has also made enhancements to existing online Portal services:

  • The Land Registry has increased the size of documents which can be delivered electronically to 10MB, which will prove particularly useful when requesting larger Transfers and Leases.
  • The Land Registry has introduced the facility to upload a plan to the Portal to enable the Land Registry to carry out a search of the Index Map.
  • Official Search of Part with priority (OS2 searches). Although it has been possible to carry out electronic  priority searches in respect of the whole of the land in a tile (the OS1 Search) for some time, the Land Registry has now introduced the facility to enable customers to upload a plan to support an electronic search of part of the land in a particular title. The search results are then delivered electronically, rather than by post.

Can a right to park a single car in a parking space be an easement?

This is a query which often arises in the context of residential leasehold sales, particularly for those new build developments in areas where parking is at a premium. In a one word summary the answer is yes.

The case of Kettel v Bloomfold Ltd [2012] EWHC 1422 (Ch) considered the question of whether a lessee of a flat had an easement of a car parking space granted in the Lease. Where a Lease provides for such a right, there is a concern that the right will not constitute an easement, due to the fact that the beneficiary could be argued to be occupying the parking space exclusively. In this case, the landlord intended to develop the site of the parking space, and had offered the lessee an alternative space in exchange; whilst the tenant argued that the specific parking space formed part of the demise. The case has provided clearer guidance in relation to a number of issues, and the court found that:

  • The wording of the lease demised the premises, but granted rights in respect of the parking space. The lessee’s covenants related to the premises itself and not to the parking space. As the Lease did not provide for the tenant to have sole use of the parking area (but merely rights to use it for a limited purpose), the space was not included within the demise.
  • The Judge found that although the lessee had exclusive use for a particular purpose, the landlord retained valuable rights (e.g. to resurface the space, install pipes etc.). This was inconsistent with the idea that the grant of rights had ousted the landlord’s use and control of the area, and the right was therefore capable of being an easement.
  • The court was not prepared to imply provisions giving the landlord a right to move the parking spaces. The court also found that where an express right had been granted in the Lease, such right would take priority to generic reservations of rights – such as the right to rebuild on other land. The landlord was therefore unable to build on the land comprising the parking space and could not (without express agreement) move the parking spaces to another site.