How can plans comply with Land Registry requirements?

Despite the “general boundaries rule” (which makes Land Registry title plans all but useless for resolving boundary disputes), the Land Registry has, relatively recently, tightened up its requirements for plans identifying property being sold. Gone – thankfully – are the days what the seller’s solicitor would mark up a small scale extract from the Ordnance Map in freehand with a thick felt-tip pen to identify the boundaries of the “house in the garden” or other property being sold off.

Land Registry requirements – a summary

Where a plan is required for any new deed or for any application lodged at Land Registry, it must:

  • be drawn to and show its actual scale;
  • show its orientation (for example, a north point);
  • use preferred scales of 1/1250 – 1/500 for urban properties;
  • use preferred scales of 1/2500 for rural properties (fields and farms etc);
  • not be based on a scale of imperial measurement (for example 16 feet to 1 inch);
  • not be reduced in size
  • not be marked or referred to as being for identification only;
  • not show statements of disclaimer used under Property Misdescriptions Act 1991;
  • show sufficient detail to be identified on the Ordnance Survey map;
  • show its general location by showing roads, road junctions or other landmarks;
  • show the land of the property including any garage or garden ground;
  • show buildings in their correct (or intended) position;
  • show access drives or pathways if they form part of property boundaries;
  • show the land and property clearly (for example by edging, colouring or hatching);
  • have edgings of a thickness that do not obscure any other detail;
  • show separate parts by suitable plan markings (house, parking space, dustbin space);
  • identify different floor levels (where appropriate);
  • show intricate boundaries with a larger scale or inset plan;
  • show measurements in metric units only, to two decimal places;
  • show undefined boundaries accurately and where necessary, by reference to measurements;
  • show measurements that correspond, so far as possible, to scaled measurements.

Fuller information is available from the Land Registry’s Practice Guide 40

If a plan is non-compliant, it will be rejected, which can leave the buyer in all sorts of problems.

Strictly, the Land Registry does not offer an approvals service. However, if you ask nicely, they will usually comment – without commitment – as to whether a plan appears to be compliant or whether an element has been omitted

If you are dealing with land and need a plan, the best way to get one is not to try to do one yourself – however high quality squared paper you use – but to instruct a Chartered Land Surveyor to prepare a plan that is suitable for your precise purpose

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