Home > Official Copies > What is the Difference between an Official Copy of the Register and a Register View?

This is a question I am often asked. When it comes to obtaining a copy of the register of title for a particular property the Land Registry offer two options; the Official Copy of the Register of Title or the Register View. The general public can be forgiven for confusing the two; they look very similar and appear on the face of it to contain the same information.

Even some conveyancers are sometimes confused. There are crucial differences however that are important to understand.

What is a Register View and What are the Drawbacks?

The Register View is nothing more than a snapshot of the register as it appears at the time of the order. It can be obtained by Land Registry Portal account holders but can also be downloaded by the general public using the Land Registry’s Property Search service. The Register View is presented “as is”, with no warranty by the Land Registry as to its accuracy. What does this mean to the purchaser of a Register View?

The Land Registry’s register occasionally contains errors resulting from a mistake by the Land Registry. Also, the register for a particular property is updated following a transaction affecting the land, but it is not usually updated immediately. For example, when a conveyancer completes a purchase for his client, he will need to wait for the deeds to be received from the seller’s conveyancer but making an application to register his client’s purchase. Upon receipt of the (postal) application the Land Registry will not necessarily complete it immediately. In fact, it could be several weeks before it is completed. This is known as the “registration gap”.

If a register view is obtained it will not alert the purchaser to any pending applications, so for example a property might have been sold or mortgaged weeks prior to a Register View being obtained but if the register hasn’t been updated the purchaser of the Register View will be completely unaware. If the register contains errors and the purchaser of a Register View suffers loss as a result he will have no claim against the Land Registry.

As a result of the of these points it is unsafe for a purchaser (or a seller) to rely on a Register View therefore a purchaser’s conveyancer should, and almost always will, insist on receiving an Official Copy of the Register at the seller’s expense.

At the time of writing it is not possible for a member of the general public, not being a Land Registry Portal account holder, to obtain an Official Copy of the Register of Title for a property electronically.

What is an Official Copy and What are the Advantages?

The Land Registry maintains an electronic record of all the information contained in respect of registered land in England & Wales. This register replaces paper title deeds for registered land and is the definitive evidence of land ownership. An Official Copy of the Register of Title is guaranteed by Land Registry to be accurate at the time it is produced. It is admissible in Court as evidence of the content of the register to the same extent as the original. If there are any errors, a person who suffers a loss as a result will be entitled (subject to conditions naturally) to compensation from the Land Registry.

If an application to amend the register is pending with the Land Registry the purchaser of an Official Copy will be alerted and will be given the opportunity to either obtain the current version or be sent an updated version once the application is completed. Even where the application has not yet been received by the Land Registry, providing the applicant has carried out a priority search the purchaser of the official copy will be notified that an application may be about to be lodged.

A conveyancer acting for a purchaser should be happy to accept an Official Copy of the Register of Title produced within the last 6 months as evidence of the contents of the register.

Ordering an Official Copy of the Register of Title

Members of the general public may make a postal application for an Official Copy by completing form OC1 and sending a cheque for the Land Registry’s fee. The Official Copy will be delivered via the post in paper form. Alternatively, we can supply an electronic Official Copy using our Land Registry Portal account, typically within 24 hours of an electronic order being placed. To use our service and Order Land Registry Documents Online, click this link.

The Land Registry Documents Team

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