When we are dealing with property transactions on behalf of clients purchasing or selling their properties we will deal with the title to their properties. The title to the property will have to be registered in one of these two separate systems for recording transactions to property in Ireland:
- The registration of title system (Land Registry) which provides a state guaranteed title to property or
- The registration of deeds system (Registry of Deeds) which records the priority of the registered deeds and conveyances
What is a Property Title?
A title is the evidence of ownership of a property and a deed is a document in writing which affects property. Since 2012 all title is now compulsorily registered in the Land Registry system. This means that if you are purchasing a property with Registry of Deeds title your solicitor must convert the Title to Land Registry Title. This will often involve a lot of additional work in ensuring that all documentary requirements that will allow for this First Registration to take place. As your conveyancing solicitors when giving our initial fixed fee low cost conveyancing quotation we will also be dealing with first registrations. In the case of first registrations where we can be dealing with often quite complex issues surrounding these first registrations we generally do so no additional cost to our clients.
Both systems of property title are under the control and management of the Property Registration Authority. The Property Registration Authority (PRA) is an independent statutory body set up under the Registration of Deeds and Title Act 2006.
The land Registry: Registration of Title
When title or ownership is registered in the Land Registry all relevant details concerning the property and its ownership are entered on documents known as Folios. These form the registers maintained in the Land Registry and they are accessible now online by virtue of the www.prai.ie.
Property that is registered at the Land Registry is known as registered land as every transaction on a property is registered on a folio. The folio is guaranteed by the State to be a confirmed record of the title to the property to which it refers.
A folio is a document which describes:
- the property registered and refers to a plan on the Registry filed plan or maps
- the name and address of the registered owner(s)
- any burdens, for example, Lis Pendens (litigation pending), rights of way or charges (mortgages) affecting the property.
When your conveyancing solicitor is checking ownership of a property that has land registry title they look at the up to-date folio and filed plan that is obtained from the Property Registration Authority Land Registry section.
The Land Registry also maintains maps for the plans of property described in the registers. The Land Registry filed plan (map) identifies property, not boundaries. The Register is therefore not conclusive as to boundaries. Any dispute as to boundaries must be resolved by the relevant parties. In the event that they cannot reach agreement it is a matter for the individual's solicitors and their expert mapping witnesses such as a retained engineer or architect. If the issue cannot be resolved by us as your solicitors then ultimately that matter may have to be resolved by the courts.
When you don’t know the folio number but you know the name of the registered owner
If you are looking for the details of the folio number for a property you can now log into the Map Searching feature of the Property Registration Authority website and you can do a search based on the location on the map and you will be able to see if any particular property is registered or not as the case maybe. In this case you can obtain the relevant folio number by applying for a map search (you must be able to identify and outline the property on the map).
If the property is not registered in the Land Registry it may have been dealt with by the Registry of Deeds (see below).
Registry of Deeds - Registration of Deeds system
The Registry of Deeds was established in 1708 for the purpose of registering and filing Memorials (or summaries) of deeds or conveyances of land affecting unregistered land.
When a deed is lodged in the Registry of Deeds it is not filed there permanently. It is returned to the party who lodged it for registration. Instead a Memorial or summary of the deed is filed. The Memorial gives the date, the names and descriptions of all parties and all witnesses to the deed and a description of the property affected by the deed. Deeds which are recorded in the Registry of Deeds have a legal priority over unrecorded deeds and other deeds recorded later in time. As the memorial is on public record at the Registry of Deeds, anyone can inspect the document and see who owns the property. The new signed deed becomes the latest deed showing the ownership of the property, adding to the chain of deeds that goes back to when the property was first purchased or leased to an individual or company.
Because a memorial summarising the change of ownership or mortgage is kept by the Registry of Deeds, you can obtain a copy of the memorial to replace a lost or misplaced deed. This is because the memorial is secondary evidence of the contents of the deed. A memorial does not have the same legal effect as a deed but provides secondary evidence of the contents of the deed. Each memorial has a record number and you can find this by doing a search on your name at the Registry of Deeds. A certified copy can be obtained from the Registry of Deeds.
It should be noted that the Registration of title in the Registry of Deeds is no longer necessary and all new title registrations now take place in the Land Registry Section of the Property Registration Authority. This does in no way mean that the Registry of Deeds office is now obsolete. There are vast amounts of property that still have Registry of Deeds unregistered title and it will be many years before all title is registered in the Land Registry.
Any person may inspect the memorials held in the Registry of Deeds. A purchaser of unregistered land must read the actual deeds to examine the title to the property. When we are acting as your conveyancing solicitors in relation to the purchase or the sale of a property with Registry of Deeds title we must ensure that there is a proper chain of title to commence with what is known as the root of title. We ensure that there is good marketable title and we will advise you as our clients of the position in relation to the position regarding the title to your property or the property you have engaged us as your conveyancing solicitors to deal the purchase of this property.