Events Triggering First Registration

Events Triggering First Registration
Events Triggering First Registration
Quick Summary of Events Triggering First Registration

Events triggering first registration refer to the circumstances or occurrences that prompt the initial registration of land or property with a land registry or similar authority.

First registration serves to establish a formal record of ownership, interests, and rights associated with land or property, providing clarity, security, and transparency in land transactions and dealings. It helps prevent disputes, fraud, and conflicting claims by creating a publicly accessible register of titles and interests in land.

What is the dictionary definition of Events Triggering First Registration?
Dictionary Definition of Events Triggering First Registration

If a piece of land is in a compulsory registration area (now the whole of England and Wales) and is unregistered (see unregistered land), then the proprietor has an obligation to register the land when certain events occur. The number of such events has increased over the years, but it now includes:

  • Purchase of a Freehold estate for value, or assignment by gift, or transfer by the personal representative of a deceased owner, or by court order
  • As above for Leases of more than seven years
  • The grant of a Lease of any length that takes effect more than three months after the grant
  • The creation of a first Legal mortgage over the land

It has always been possible to register voluntarily, and since the land registration act (2002) gives increased protection against adverse possession to registered land, there is now at least one incentive to do so.

Full Definition Of Events Triggering First Registration

First registration is a crucial aspect of land law in the United Kingdom, marking the transition from unregistered to registered land. The Land Registration Act 2002, supplemented by the Land Registration Rules 2003, governs the principles and processes of land registration. Understanding the events that trigger first registration is essential for legal practitioners, property owners, and potential buyers. This overview explores the circumstances under which first registration is required, the process involved, and the implications for property owners.


Historically, land in England and Wales was largely unregistered, with ownership and interests being proved through a chain of title deeds. The introduction of compulsory registration aimed to simplify and secure land transactions. The Land Registration Act 1925 first introduced the concept, but the Land Registration Act 2002 provides the current framework. The Act stipulates specific events that mandate first registration, ensuring that land ownership is clear, transparent, and accessible.

Events Triggering First Registration

First registration can be triggered by several events, broadly categorised into dispositions, inheritances, and compulsory actions by the Land Registry. Here are the primary events that require registration:

Transfers on Sale

When unregistered land is sold, the transfer of ownership necessitates first registration. This includes freehold and leasehold estates. The buyer must apply for registration within two months of the transfer.

Grants of Leases

Leases granted for more than seven years must be registered. Additionally, the lease grant taking effect more than three months after the date of the grant, regardless of its length, also triggers first registration.

Transfers by Assent

Upon the death of a property owner, if unregistered land is transferred to a beneficiary through an assent by personal representatives, first registration is required.

Transfers by Gift or in Exchange

Gifting or exchanging unregistered land also triggers the need for first registration. This ensures that the new owner’s interest is recorded.


Creating a first legal mortgage on unregistered land requires registration of the title. This protects the lender’s interest and ensures clarity in ownership.

Partition of Land

When unregistered land is partitioned between co-owners, new titles must be registered.

Court Orders

Certain court orders affecting land ownership or interests, such as orders for sale or partition, can trigger first registration.

Voluntary Registration

Although not a mandatory trigger, landowners can voluntarily apply for the first registration of their unregistered land, gaining the benefits of a registered title.

Process of First Registration

The first registration process involves several steps and submitting specific documentation to the Land Registry. Here’s an outline of the key stages:

Application Submission

The application for first registration is made using Form FR1, accompanied by Form DL (Document List) and any other relevant forms, such as Form AP1 for applications involving assent, gift, or exchange.

Supporting Documents

The application must include a scale plan of the property, an epitome of title showing at least 15 years of ownership, and the original or certified copies of all title deeds and documents evidencing ownership and interests.

Examination by the Land Registry

The Land Registry examines the submitted documents to confirm the applicant’s title and check for any existing interests or encumbrances. This may involve correspondence with the applicant for additional information or clarification.

Issuance of Title

Upon satisfactory examination, the Land Registry issues a title number and creates a register for the property. The register includes the property’s description, ownership details, and any charges or interests affecting the land.

Implications of First Registration

First registration has significant implications for property owners, potential buyers, and the broader property market. These include:

Security of Title

Registered titles are guaranteed by the state, providing greater security and reducing the risk of disputes over ownership.

Simplification of Transactions

Registered titles facilitate easier and quicker property transactions, as ownership and interests are documented.


The land register is a public document promoting transparency and confidence in the property market.

Protection Against Fraud

Registration helps protect against fraud, as changes in ownership or interests must be recorded in the register, creating an official record.

Legal Clarity

Registration clarifies legal rights and obligations, reducing the potential for legal disputes over land.

Challenges and Considerations

While first registration brings numerous benefits, it also presents challenges and considerations for property owners and legal practitioners.

Complexity of Application

The application process can be complex, requiring detailed documentation and a thorough understanding of land law.

Historical Title Issues

Proving title for unregistered land, especially if records are incomplete or lost, can be challenging.


The costs associated with first registration, including legal fees and Land Registry fees, can be significant.

Potential Delays

Delays in the registration process can occur, particularly if the Land Registry requires additional information or if there are disputes over title.


First registration is a fundamental aspect of land law in the UK, aimed at enhancing the security, clarity, and efficiency of land ownership and transactions. Understanding the events that trigger first registration and the associated processes is crucial for legal practitioners, property owners, and potential buyers. Despite the challenges, the benefits of a registered title—such as increased security, transparency, and ease of transaction—underscore the importance of this legal requirement. As the landscape of land law continues to evolve, the principles and practices surrounding first registration will remain a cornerstone of property law in the UK.

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This site contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. Persuing this glossary does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

This glossary post was last updated: 12th June 2024.

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