The Learning & Resource Section

Land Charges

Land Charges

The Land Charges Register is only relevant where the title to land is unregistered. It only applies to equitable interests in unregistered land. It should not be confused with the Register of title. All interests which have been correctly registered are binding upon a purchaser and it provides that registration shall constitute actual notice to the whole world of that equitable interest. The only time a land charge may be void is if there are instances of fraud, estoppel or express agreement. Section 2 of the Land Charges At of 1972 sets out different classes of land charges:

  • Class A:

A right arising from an Act of Parliament to receive money from an estate owner on application by the person entitled

  • Class B:

A right arising from an Act of Parliament to receive money automatically from the estate owner

  • Class C (I)

A puisine mortgage

This is a legal mortgage that is not protected by documents relating to the estate

  • Class C (II)

This is an equitable charge acquired by a tenant for life or statutory owner under the Inheritance Tax Act of 1984

  • Class C (III)

This is an equitable charge where there is not security by documents that relate to the estate, they do not arise under a trust of land or a settlement or they are not included under any other class of land charges

  • Class C (IV)

Estate contracts

  • Class D (I)

Inland Revenue Charge

  • Class D (II)

Restrictive covenants

  • Class D (III)

Equitable Easements

  • Class E

Annuities created prior to January 1, 1926

  • Class F

The right of occupation as stated in the Family Law Act of 1996

How do you register a Land Charge?

Section 3(1) of the Land Charges Act 1972 states that a person who owns a registerable interest registers “against the name of the estate owner” (at the time the interest was created) of the legal estate out of which the interest is derived. The name of the owner should be the same as it appears on the title deeds or in the conveyance by which the estate has been conveyed. Having the land charged registered in the correct name serves as actual notice of its existence. Where a land charge is registered with an incorrect name, a subsequent interest may take priority. Thus, a land charge must be registered against a full and correct name (Diligent Finance v Alleyne [1972]). However, registration against a version of an owner’s name is effective and valid against anyone who searches the wrong name and against anyone who does not search at all. Searches must be done in all forms of a purchaser’s name ( Oak Cooperative v Blackburn [1968])

Searches of the Land Charges Register

As a result of s. 198 LPA 1925 all interests correctly registered are binding on the purchaser (they constitute ‘actual notice’). To ‘search’ you supply the Land Charges Registry with a list of names of the past owners of the land, if possible going back to 1925. This should be done between when the contract of sale is made and the actual conveyance. You have an obligation to search all possible names. A purchaser may search the Register personally, but an official search offers greater protection. If the Land Registry makes a mistake, an official search certificate is conclusive regardless. Meaning, the purchaser can rely on the certificate and take priority even if land charges were not disclosed on the certificate.

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