Preparing Plans for Land Registry Applications: A Brief Summary

Preparing registration documents is not an easy task. The process can be particularly difficult for un-registered properties that haven’t changed hands in many years.

Deed plans are an essential element of buying and selling land and it is essential to have good quality deed plans. Pre-registration of deeds resolves issues regarding land in the registered title.

Land must be correctly identified on an ordnance survey map and needs to adhere to a number of guidelines. If land is not identified on an ordnance survey map, an application can be rejected or cancelled shortly afterwards.

2. Why must good quality plans be produced?

Pre-registration deeds and plans help resolve issues with boundaries and define extent of land in the registered title. There are a number of reasons that guideline compliant plans are required, including:

  • Helping resolve future problems
  • Making HM Land Registry applications process quicker

Normally, a verbal description is sufficient, however it is good to provide a map along with land rights. The HM Land Registry helps identify the location and extent of search as well as the deed inducing registration on the OS map.

3. I have a specific application type or situation. How do I go about this?

Advice can be offered to prepare plans for specific applications. Plan guidelines are the same as other applications, just with some variations.

4. I am applying to add land to the register for the first time. How do I do this?

A first registration is the first-time land is added to the register. This detail must be identified on an OS map. Although a verbal description is sometimes sufficient, it is normally insufficient for extra features such as:

  • Rear gardens
  • Separate outbuildings

If a plan is found to be sufficient, an additional plan may need to be created. Additionally, updates to an existing plan needs to be signed by all parties.

5. How do I produce a plan for transfers and leases as part of a registered estate?

A transfer or lease requires an accompanying plan indicating the land being transferred or leased. If an estate plan already exists, the transfer and lease plan should be based on the current version of the plan. Verbal description is not sufficient here. It only might be sufficient when the land is indicated clearly on the title plan. More information can be found at the pages Developing estates: registration services (PG41) and Use of verbal descriptions. Transferred or leased land should be clearly indicated using colour referencing and signed by the seller or landlord. If this is a company, this must be signed by a company officer. The final plan should allow HM Land Registry to identify the land on an OS map. See Return and Rejection of applications for registration (PG49)

6. How do I prepare a plan for an unusual extent of land?

Unusual extents of land include airspace and sub-soil, both on a freehold and leasehold basis. Such land can be registered independently or as part of another structure such as an office block. The registration and title plan shows a description in the deed for specific inclusions and exclusions. The land in question should be clearly indicated on an OS map showing the depth and height. Height can be defined using ordnance survey datum which is a national reference for heights.

7. How do I use verbal descriptions in plans?

Some plans don’t allow registration via verbal description. Such plans include open plan frontages or old developments with access ways and outbuildings. However, maps with sufficient OS detail may be accepted on first registration. Clear reference must be made to the part of the map indicated. For example, if an area of land is indicated but only part of it referred to, a verbal description would be insufficient.

8. When would completion of the title plan be an alternative to raising a requisition?

The first stage of the process is preparing a title plan. It may be the case that the extent is different to the deeds and the reasons this may occur include:

  • Land already registered under a different owner
  • Land is not comprised in the sellers or landlords title

Applicants can respond to these observations via letter.

9. How do I prepare plans for HM Registry Applications?

Plans must be prepared for HM Registry applications. This is in order to provide a clear understanding of land extent and easements applied against. This doesn’t include when an old deed plan indicates land in a registration application. If the plan doesn’t correctly identify the land, an additional plan may be requested.

The following information is required for registration:

  • Floor level, if applicable
  • Road name
  • Locality
  • Town
  • Administrative area
  • Postcode

The deed must include an accurate plan and description of the property. This must relate to the properties condition and must not be contradictory. It is not always appropriate to carry forward from a previous description. This is particularly the case for land that has been sold off. The property must be clearly indicated on the plan. This is particularly important for electronic submissions. Scale is important to indicate the area of land.

9.1. What can I use as a base plan?

For deeds, the most commonly accepted base plan is an ordnance survey map. A copy of an approved estate layout plan can also be used. Nevertheless, any plan that is drawn to scale and following certain guidelines should be ok for inclusion in a deed. Hand drawn sketches must not be used.

9.2. How do I obtain maps from Ordnance Survey?

We understand that it can be difficult to provide a high quality plan for registration. However, doing so can result in a quicker registration when the application is lodged. It also benefits the buyer as it provides the most up to date survey of the property. HM Land Registry do not provide maps directly. Instead, they must be purchased from an Ordnance Survey partner which can be found here.

9.3. How do I use existing plans?

Often, plans are received that were intended for a different use. For example, architectural drawings or engineering plans. Although they look impressive, they often do not comply with the guidelines required. Additionally, they do not provide a reliable and accurate depiction of title or land. Location plans and road maps are usually drawn at a scale too small to show an accurate extent.

9.4. How do I make reference to old deed plans?

When registering for the first time, often reference needs to be made to earlier deeds in the chain. The registration can be completed successfully as long as the extent of the OS map is clear. Also, the deed must not be in repute. However, when referencing old deeds, special attention should be given to sold off areas. It is also important to determine whether any easements are still applicable. If land isn’t clearly identified in the deed, an additional plan may be required. This additional plan doesn’t have to be signed. It simply has to be attached to the application form.

9.5. How do I submit plans that have been reduced in scale?

A plan used in a deed or copy can only be accepted if a bar scale has been included. It must also comply with the following:

  • Original scale has been deleted
  • Actual scale has been worked out and displayed, replacing the original

Overall, the reduced plan must be clear and easy to understand.

9.6. How do I deal with plans based on an official title plan copy?

Plans based on an official copy will not normally be rejected. This is regardless of whether they were submitted in paper or digital format. This is providing:

  • Distortion has not occurred as a result of the document being submitted by the electronic transmission process

9.7. What are the rules regarding photocopied plans?

Often, plans contained in deeds are photocopies of photocopies. Each time a copy is made, further details are lost. When using photocopies, the extent must be clearly indicated with no distortion from photocopying.

9.8. How do I create a plan printed from a PDF?

HM Land Registry is receiving a lot of applications of plans not to the correct scale. This may be because they are being produced as a PDF. Resultantly, the document might not be at the correct scale. In order to prevent this, ensure that maps are displayed at the correct scale in a PDF.

10. How do I use the electronic document registration service?

Plans that have been created using the requirements stated here can be scanned and submitted via the electronic document registration service.

Any scanned images need to be of a similar standard as the paper version. They must include enough detail so land and easements can be clearly identified.

The following recommendations help produce a clear, high quality image:

  • Scan the plan in full colour
  • Use a resolution of not less than 200dpi and not more than 600dpi

A plan of a single extent must not exceed two scanned pages. Each page must not be larger than A3. Sufficient detail must be retained, allowing the reconstruction of a single page plan. When the extent overlaps two sections, an additional scanned copy should be provided. It is useful to do this at a reduced scale, showing the full extent on one page.

Are you an individual who requires a licensing plan for a piece of land?

We can create licensing plans for local councils and individuals. These can be produced in a range of formats. If required, we are happy to make changes to plans, if this is required after completion. Contact us to find out more.

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