Property not registered with HM Land Registry after 16 months?

Property not registered with HM Land Registry after 16 months?

10:57 AM, 20th February 2023, About A year ago 13

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Looking for some post-completion help, please. We are new to property investing and we purchased two buy-to-let properties within a month of each other, using the same conveyancing solicitor. The first property we were able to refinance 6 months after works were completed without a hitch.

The second property is a different story. It is now 16 months after completion. We also bought this property using cash, we decided to remortgage as the works were now complete. On doing so, we were informed that the property had not actually been registered in our names with HM Land Registry.

We contacted our solicitor to check if this was correct and were informed that it is. You can imagine our surprise after such a long time had passed. They said that they “were awaiting documents both of which have been requested by the Land Registry in response to our application to register your purchase. These documents are not something we are able to provide ourselves and must be produced by the vendor’s lawyers.” We were also informed that the seller’s solicitors are not answering any of their telephone call or emails. Additionally, they are having to wait an appropriate amount of time and try different avenues to make contact before reporting them to an official body.

On further investigation with HM Land Registry, informed us “it can be seen that an application to transfer the property at (property address) was actually received on the 17 November 2021, having been lodged by (our solicitor’s name). Unfortunately, as we had not received a full response to requisitions which were raised with the lodging solicitors, the application was in fact cancelled, following warnings, on the 16 March 2022.”

We would like to know if what our solicitor is saying is actually accurate, or have they been negligent in not registering our property within an appropriate amount of time. What are the next steps for us?



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Ted Wainhouse

11:54 AM, 20th February 2023, About A year ago

cant answer your question but share the pain. I am still waiting for the title to be registered since june 2021. like you I paid cash and then applied for a mortgage at a great rate but offer has since expired . my problem was a combination of delays by Land Registry and solicitors.


12:06 PM, 20th February 2023, About A year ago

Don't relax but your situation is not fatal.
It seems from your query that the 'lodging' solicitor is at fault. That is your solicitor? Ask them that blunt question? Why have they not completed your registration? If something from the papers due from the sellers was not there, why did they 'complete'?
Tell them that, failing a satisfactory response within 7 days, you will refer the file to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Their details will be on the solicitors Terms of Business issued to you at the start of your transaction.
That will gee them up.
The thought of being beaten up by the SRA (who like to make a meal of things) and sent to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SRA) should terrify any solicitor thinking of his next professional indemnity premium, leave aside public criticism and a penalty?
Finally, if your current solicitor/client relationship fails, instruct another one asap.

Aliz Kurtossy

14:16 PM, 20th February 2023, About A year ago

Has the property been ever registered in electronic file on land reg as otherwise first registration can be very slow. We had similar bought house for cash in march 2021 and only been able to refinance in Jul 2022 as it was first registration and took ages for original deeds etc to be collected and transferred electronically. Our solicitor requested land reg to expedite registration faster due to financial implication and refinance pending. Keep pushing your solicitor

Judith Wordsworth

17:02 PM, 20th February 2023, About A year ago

Find it hard to believe that you haven't chased this sooner or queried not receiving HMLR notification that the transfer had gone through.

1. "These documents are not something we are able to provide ourselves and must be produced by the vendor’s lawyers.” Why did your solicitor then even attempt to complete if they were not in possession of the documents that they knew they would need to register the property. If they did complete on the seller's solicitors "undertaking to provide" these documents then an official complaint should be raised with your solicitors for not having obtained them and a formal complaint to the SRA.

2. Has your solicitor put a restriction against the property at the Land Registry? If not do it. As you do not own the property, and are in effect squatting, the owners (the sellers) could in theory sell the property to someone else.

3. Do you know who the seller's solicitors are?

4. Are they still trading? Been suspended or struck off? Ring the SRA and ask

5. Is you solicitor a high street conveyancer or an online conveyancer?

Judith Wordsworth

17:05 PM, 20th February 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Ted Wainhouse at 20/02/2023 - 11:54
Until it is confirmed you are the legal owner why try and get a mortgage? Just asking.
Since March 2020 HMLR have had delays which haven't been helped by the redundancies of the previous 2-3 years.

Katherine Whitaker

22:27 PM, 20th February 2023, About A year ago

The land registry is a disgrace, we purchased a new build and completed Jan 2021 and still do not have our deeds. Our application was cancelled with the land registry blaming our solicitor for not sending documents. I put an official complaint in and still they are unable to say when our application will be completed. Basically we have gone to the bottom of the pile again.


6:26 AM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago

You would be surprised how often this happens. HMLR have a ridiculous backlog since covid (along with a string of redundancies of their most experienced staff). They raise requisitions (I suspect) just to get the file off their desk and make it look like they're doing something. They often cancel applications after requisitions have not been replied to although I know of many occasions an application has been cancelled and no requisition has been received. When you also have a selling solicitor who has closed/archived their file and/or needs to get further information from their client who has no incentive to deal with the matter it can lead to extremely long delays. Rest assured, however, that as long as your application is pending at HMLR your rights are protected.

Old Mrs Landlord

10:57 AM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Debris at 21/02/2023 - 06:26
The original poster states the application is no longer pending but was cancelled last year.

Ian Narbeth

11:57 AM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago

Pamela your solicitors should have reacted and resubmitted. If the vendor transferred “with full title guarantee” the vendor has a duty to assist. Your solicitors should press for action and threaten legal proceedings. In the meantime they should register a notice against the title. If you have a mortgage the lenders are also at risk.
Make a nuisance of yourself with your lawyers. They are paid to do conveyancing which means getting you registered.

Taylor Lisa

19:02 PM, 21st February 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Blodwyn at 20/02/2023 - 12:06Firstly, neither the SRA or SDT deal with this type of complaint. It would be the legal ombudsman, and even then only once the firm's internal complaints procedure has been followed.

From what you have said the error/delay is with the seller's solicitor. Not all documents are handed over before completion as the money needs to change hands first, therefore your solicitor would always complete without the documents.Anyone with even a shred of conveyancing knowledge would know this.

Ask your solicitor for a copy of the requisition so you can see whats missing and instruct them to register a unilateral notice against the seller's title in the meantime whilst the query is resolved.

PS Land Registry currently have a 2/3 year backlog of delayed applications due to covid and the extremely busy market following lockdown so 16 months is about average to be honest.

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