|Article - Property Law & Practice|
Property Law Changes in 2003
The Land Registration Act 2002 (LRA) and its
offspring, the Land Registration Rules 2003, which came into force on
October 13, have brought massive changes to Property Law.
The LRA is the biggest single legislative
change to property law since 1925, when solicitors retired in droves
rather than trying to work out how the new legislation would work. On the
whole, it worked very well and I have never noticed any groundswell of
opinion among clients or within the profession that change to the extent
we have now was necessary.
For those analogue people who prefer their
watches to have big and little hands, the LRA, which makes title deeds and
documents (land and charge certificates) completely obsolete, may be too
much to bear. We have been retaining pre-registration deeds for years
despite the protests from lenders that the cost of deed storage and
retrieval has grown. On more than one occasion, these old and obsolete
deeds have given answers to questions of title that land certificates did
not. Now the answers are going to be harder to find as time passes and
lenders do not retain any documents at all.
Do not be surprised if your solicitor sends
you old documents and tells you to keep them safely. Equally, do not be
surprised if the property you are buying is not progressing because there
are a number of unanswered issues that are not disclosed in the registered
title and the seller has lost the documents his solicitor asked him to
keep safely! But, if it's in the interests of e-conveyancing, it must be
good, mustn't it?
SDLT affects most land transactions that have
taken place since
Much of the required information, which
clients have to verify, is of interest to no-one but big brother, who will
be watching you even more closely.
The SDLT on a lease of 15 years at an annual
rate of £40,000 is now £5,500. Before December 1, the stamp duty on the
same lease was £940. But, if it's in the interests of e-conveyancing, it
must be good!
Solicitors would be retiring in droves if
their Equitable Life pensions were up to it...
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