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Land Certificate

A land certificate was an official certificate issued by the Land Registry. The document was intended to prove who owns a property within England or Wales. It could also relate to the ownership of a piece of land.
If a mortgage or other charge was placed on a property, i.e. a secured personal loan or similar product, the land certificate would be replaced by a charge certificate. This would highlight the fact that another party had an interest in that property or land relating to the loan taken out to purchase it. The charge certificate would be sent to the lender rather than the person owning the land or property.
However, today, the Land Registry doesn’t use either of these certificates anymore. The Land Registration Act 2002 rendered them obsolete. Today, land titles can be sought by owners to prove they have legal ownership of the property or land in question.
If an owner already possesses a land certificate that they were issued prior to the Land Registration Act 2002 being brought in, they can keep it, but it is no longer recognised as such under the law.
Anyone wanting to know whether a property or piece of land is registered can contact HM Land Registry to find out more. The Land Registry has information on approximately 83% of property and land throughout England and Wales. Even if you find an old land certificate, it will be dated by many years and may no longer be accurate. Therefore, getting a copy of the title register held by HM Land Registry is the best place to begin when sourcing up-to-date information.




Land Registry

HM Land Registry is a government organisation that registers all ownership details relating to land and property throughout England and Wales. It maintains the Land Register, which keeps titles relating to land and property in England and Wales. Each title shows who has ownership of a specific piece of land or a property.
Whenever a piece of land or property is bought or sold, details of the changes must be relayed to HM Land Registry. This can now be done online by following the steps on the official website. For example, someone selling a property they hold ownership of must tell Land Registry when they relinquish that property to someone else. The details of the new owner would then be relayed to the Land Registry, so the property or land information can be updated in the register.
While the owner of a parcel of land or a property will be noted on the register, any other party with a vested interest in that land or property will also be included. If you purchase a property with the aid of a mortgage, for example, the lender’s details will also be added to the register. This occurs because the lender would have an interest in recouping their money if you were to fall behind with your mortgage and the property was repossessed and sold. The same applies if a secured loan was put in place.
Once a mortgage is completed, the details of the lender should be removed from the Land Register to reflect this. The lender should get in touch with HM Land Registry to ensure this is done.




Land Registry Fee

This is a fee payable to the Land Registry to allow them to register your information if you buy a property or change mortgage lenders. HM Land Registry provides an up to date list of fees on its website, covering all common applications relating to their services.
The fees are divided into two areas – Scale 1 fees and Scale 2 fees. Scale 1 relates to the first registration of a new property, along with other registry requirements such as leases and surrenders. Scale 2 relates to transfers of estates or charges that have already been registered. It also covers various other applications such as transfers where money is not a consideration.
Fees are provided on a sliding scale in each case, with more expensive land or properties incurring a higher fee for registration or changes to details. If you voluntarily register a new property for the first time, there is a reduced charge for doing so. If you apply online using their portal, it is cheaper to do so in several circumstances (although not in all).
Some applications to the Land Registry do not incur a fee. A full and up to date list of these examples is given on their official site. You can also read through examples of various applications, so you can see where your own fits into the mix. All charges on the website relate to applications made within England and Wales. There are also various links to other information about the Land Registry and the services it provides for a fee.




Leasehold

Some properties are bought and sold on a leasehold basis. When this occurs, it means the property is bought, but the land on which it stands is not part of the purchase. The land is owned by the landlord, and therefore the property owner will typically pay ground rent or a service fee to the landlord to reflect the leasehold status. The amount paid in these fees can vary hugely between properties, depending on who the landowner is.
If you are looking to buy a property and you find a leasehold you like, it is important to find out what the length of the lease is. There are many possibilities here, but the shorter the lease is, the harder it can be to get a mortgage for the property. Oftentimes, leases run for 90 or more years though, perhaps even for several hundred years in some cases.
Flats are often sold on a leasehold basis, because several flats are built on the same land. Since flats are organised on floors above one another, the leasehold status makes sense in this case. While housing developers did go through a stage of building new houses on a leasehold basis, this will now be banned by the government.
While flats are commonly available on a leasehold basis, it is important to consider what this means for you as a flat owner. You must adhere to all rules laid down as part of the lease. For example, you may not be able to keep pets in the property. Always read these rules carefully prior to putting in an offer for such a property, especially regarding the length of time remaining on the lease.

 



Life Assurance

Life assurance is a form of insurance that provides a payout when the policyholder dies. Such policies can be created to run alongside your mortgage. It means that if you die, the policy will pay out enough money to clear or pay off part of the outstanding mortgage debt.
Life assurance often gets mixed up with life insurance, yet the two do have differences. Insurance is designed to provide a payment upon death if the policy is still active. Policies can provide a set amount for the duration of the policy or be agreed on a decreasing basis. This means that as the mortgage drops (usually the loan the insurance is designed to cover), the insurance payout would drop in line with it.
If you choose life assurance instead, it means you will be covered until the day you die. Even if you pass on aged 92 and your mortgage is long since paid off, the life assurance would pay out and be added to your estate to be divided between the people named in your will.
Life assurance does, therefore, offer more benefits than insurance would. It is guaranteed to generate a payout upon death, whenever that may be. This does mean you will be paying monthly fees for that privilege, of course. If you simply want to make sure a payout would be triggered to cover the mortgage in the event of your death, a life insurance policy may be better for you. It is wise to seek advice on the matter before making your selection.

 



Listed Building

A listed building is one that is recognised and listed as being of special historical or architectural interest. Listed status means the building cannot be knocked down or altered in any way unless the owner has previously received local government consent to do so.
Listed status across England and Wales falls into three categories. These cover Grade I, Grade II*, and Grade II listed buildings. Grade I is the rarest, with only around 2.5% of all listed buildings making this grade. Most listed buildings fall into the Grade II listed area, while only a few (around 5.5% of the total) are recognised as Grade II*. (A similar system operates in Scotland, although here the buildings are listed in Category A, Category B, and Category C.)
The term ‘listed building’ is somewhat misleading in some cases. Most people assume it is only buildings that can be listed. However, the official definition of a building states that a ‘structure or erection’ can qualify. For example, a bridge dating from the 1600s could well be listed.
If you are thinking of buying a listed building that falls into any of the above grades, you should consider whether it would make things more complex as an owner. Very often, it does, as there are things you would not be able to do without seeking prior permission. Even then, you may find certain things would be approved only if you did them in a certain way. Listed building consent would need to be sought before doing anything inside or outside the property.

 



Loan to Value (LTV)

Loan to value is often expressed by the letters LTV. It describes the cost of the mortgage as a percentage of the value of the property it is attached to. For instance, if you took out a mortgage worth £80,000 and your property was valued at £100,000, your loan to value percentage would be calculated at 80%. The percentage should always be less than 100%, since most lenders will not consider lending the full value of a property.
The loan to value percentage can vary markedly depending on how much you can put towards the cost of the property. Many first-time buyers opt for a 95% LTV deal, opting to put forward a 5% deposit and to get a 95% mortgage. However, the more you can put down, the better the deals are.
For instance, lenders typically offer better interest rates for lower LTV values. Some deals are only available to those who can meet the terms for a 75% LTV or even a 60% LTV, for example. A 60% loan to value deal would require the buyer to put forward a deposit worth 40% of the property value. The remaining 60% would then be covered by the mortgage.
Most buyers will have an idea of the percentage of the property value they can meet by way of a deposit. This could come from savings or from the sale of their existing property. They can then take the time to see which deals from which lenders are the best ones on the market. Lower interest rates are typical of lower LTV values; for example, lower rates are usually seen for a 60% LTV deal compared with a 95% LTV deal.

 



Local Authority Search

When a would-be buyer is considering purchasing a property, their solicitor should undertake a series of searches to find out more about the property. One of these is a local authority search. The search is split into two portions. The first one is known as a LLC1 search and looks at whether there are any restrictions placed upon the property or the land it sits on by the local authority. For example, if the building is listed, it would show up in this search.
The second portion is known as CON29. This covers any local authority plans to make changes to local roads, rail, or other nearby structures. For instance, if the local council was planning to build a new road along the rear of the garden at the property, it should be flagged as part of the local authority search. Other elements are covered by this portion of the search too. For example, if the property stands on contaminated land, this would be noted during the search.
As such, the local authority search is a very important piece of the puzzle to get into place if you want to be sure there are no issues (and no future issues) with the property you intend to buy. Even something as simple as a tree standing outside the boundary of your property could have a profound effect. That tree may look lovely now, but if it has a tree protection order placed on it by the local authority, it cannot be cut down, even if it eventually causes problems for your property. It could reduce daylight coming into your home, for example.

 

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