What does title mean?

What does title mean?

Title is the legal term that refers to your ownership of land or property.

There are four classes of title that you can hold over property. These classes are as follows:

  • Absolute - this is the highest and best form of ownership you can have over a property and the majority of properties are registered at the Land Registry to have this form of title.
  • Possessory - this is when you are in possession of the property but the title deeds (documents that show ownership of property) have either been lost or destroyed.
  • Qualified - is held over property when the title to the property has specific defects. For example, when it is identified that a transaction within the title was carried out in breach of trust. The qualified title granted would mean that the title of the property would be subject to interests of any beneficiaries to the trust in question.
  • Good leasehold - this only applies if you own a leasehold property. This form of title is provided in a situation where your solicitors arrange to register your Lease at the Land Registry, but the Landlord's title to the property (known as "freehold title") is unregistered and your solicitors do not have the title deeds to prove your Landlord's title. If such title deeds were given to the Land Registry, then you would be given absolute leasehold title.


How do you know which one of the above titles applies to your property?

If your property is registered at the Land Registry, then you will be able to check the class of title over the property by obtaining the Official Copy of the Register.


Upgrading Title

The registrar at the Land registry has the power to upgrade a title in the following circumstances: -

  • From possessory freehold title to absolute freehold title if he is satisfied as tot the title of the freehold estate;
  • From good leasehold title to absolute leasehold title if he is satisfied as to the superior title.
  • From possessory leasehold title: -
    • To good leasehold title, if he is satisfied as to the title to the leasehold estate.
    • To absolute leasehold title if he is satisfied both as to the title to the leasehold estate and as to the superior title.

The registrar cannot however, upgrade the title if there are any outstanding adverse claim under any estate, right or interest whose enforceability is reserved by the existing class of title. Any adverse claim must be resolved before the title can be upgraded.

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