Registration

There are registers for interests in goods and intangible assets such as patents and company shares but here we are only interested in interests in land. First question is always whether the land is registered or not. Unregistered land is diminishing with compulsory registration though it will be a long time before all land is registered. If land is unregistered, first question is whether compulsory registration has been triggered by LRA 2002 s4. On first registration the priority of competing interests in the land will be determined by ss 11 & 12 and schedule 1. The law of Property Act ss 198 &199 outline the effect on notice of registering land or failing to register it. If land is unregistered and compulsory registration is not triggered the priority of competing interests will be determined by either nemo dat or bona fide purchase but subject to effect of Land Charges Act 1972 (even though this act deals with the registration of certain kinds of interests in land, remember that it only applies to unregistered land and not if the transaction triggers compulsory registration) In Midland Bank Trust Co v Green a father granted his son the right to purchase his farm. This Option To Purchase was validly created, but the son did not register it (he should have used a class C(iv) land charge). Later the father and son fell out, and the father sold the farm to his wife for £500, a fraction of what it was worth. It was clear that she knew the about the earlier option in favour of the son, and that the sale was intended solely to thwart the son's rights. The land charges act makes registration of a land charge equivalent to notice of that charge. By necessary implication, if a charge that must be registered is not registered, the owner of the charge is prevented from enforcing it against certain categories of person who take a later interest in the estate. In the case of class C(iv), an interest in that class is unenforceable against a `purchaser of the legal estate for value' if it is not registered. The House of Lords held in favour of the wife stressing that `purchaser for value' had its ordinary, contract law meaning. It was not for the court to enquire into whether the consideration was adequate or not. If land is registered the priority of competing interests will be determined by ss 28-30 of the LRA 2002 sections 29 & 30 providing protection for purchasers, not the defence of bona fide purchase.If a registered interest is acquired for valuable consideration, it takes priority over competing interests unless they are protected. What are the main methods of protection? A notice, a trust, occupations, settlement, a restriction or marriage (spouses in the matrimonial home). What is the difference between registration and entry of a notice? While they both affect priority of interest, a notice is an entry in the register in respect of the burden of an interest affecting a registered estate or charge. Registration is where an estate in land, a rentcharge, a franchise or a profit a prendre in gross is entered into a register of title kept by the registrar. How would you protect an interest under a trust? By making an agreement whereby one party (the trustee) agrees to hold ownership of a piece of real property for the benefit of another party (the beneficiary). What are the consequences of entering a notice or restriction without reasonable cause? S.77, LRA 2002 establishes a right of action for breach of statutory duty against anyone who applies for a notice or restriction without reasonable cause. The right is in favour of any person who suffers damage as a consequence. Answers provided by Sections 27, 32, 33, 40 and 77 of the LRA 2002.

The case Williams & Glyn s Bank v Boland is a House of Lords judgment in English property law on overriding interest and concerns land registered under LRA 1925. A husband and wife were tenants in common of a matrimonial home as they had both contributed to the purchase price. However, only the husband's name appeared on the documents at the Land Registry. The husband mortgaged the property without the knowledge of the wife. The bank did not enquire as to whether the wife had any interest in the property. When the mortgage was defaulted, the bank brought proceedings and was granted possession of the property. The court of appeal held that that the wife was in actual occupation under s 70(1)(g) of the 1925 Land Registration Act and that therefore she had an overriding interest in the property. The bank appealed, but the House of Lords dismissed it.emphasising that the 1925 Land Registration Act should be interpreted in plain English and that the wife had actual occupation because she was physically present in the matrimonial home, with all rights that occupiers had, including the right to exclude all others except those having similar rights. It was held that even though the wife s interest was only an equitable one capable of being overreached and therefore a minor interest within s 3(xv) of the 1925 Act, it was also capable of being an overriding interest if it was protected by actual occupation ... Under the LRA 2002 act the proprietary rights of a person in actual occupation may be an overriding interest binding a purchaser of registered land, unless inquiry is made of that person and the rights are not disclosed or the occupation is not reasonably discoverable Is notice ever relevant under the 2002 Act? According to schedule 3 relating to actual occupation, yes it can be. While registration can defeat pre-existing interests, it does not stop new interests from arising on or post registration. For example, if you contribute to the purchase of a house in another persons name, the fact that the other person registers the house in their name wouldn t prevent a resulting trust from arising in your favour. In Lloyd v Dugdale Mr Dugdale made two different claims to an interest in land. These were (1) actual occupation and (2) constructive trust (proprietary estoppel). They both failed, (1) because while JAD (Mr Dugdale¶s company) itself was in actual occupation of the unit, and occupation may be shared unlike the single and exclusive notion of possession, it was in actual occupation as Dugdale¶s licensee, no joint occupation (and JAD can not be said to be a representative of Dugdale). (2) failed because to impose a constructive trust on the claimants would be to do so on the basis of very slender materials¶. The judge commented that Dugdale could have asserted his rights in respect of the unit (claimed by him, not JAD) before the transfer to Lloyd by virtue of proprietary estoppel. Dugdale also would still have been able to assert his rights against the claimants if either he, rather than JAD, had been in actual occupation of the Unit, or he had continued to receive rent from JAD until the sale to the claimants was completed. How would a competition between two equitable interests in registered land be resolved? Would it matter whether they were protected or not? Would the court have the power to postpone the older interest to the newer interest? Halifax v Curry Popeck went some way to answering this... In the absence of an intervening disposition of the registered estate for valuable consideration , the normal rule for competing equities applies, namely the first in time prevails. A transaction riddled with fraud is not for valuable consideration. Fraud, as they say, unravels all.

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