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How could errors in your registered title affect the value of your property, and when can they be rectified? 

How important is rectification?

In some instances, mistakes on registered titles are only spotted years after registration applications are completed, perhaps when a property is next sold or re-mortgaged. Errors in the registration of charges, the rights or covenants registered on a title or an inaccurate title boundary could have significant ramifications for the value of the property and should be altered as soon as possible. 

Aside from property owners, mistakes will likely affect any lenders or mortgagees who require certainty in relation to secured property. In the context of a development site, certain forms of restriction entered on titles to individual plots may prevent certain dispositions (such as the grant of shared ownership leases) and delay sales as a consequence. 

Rectification by the Land Registry

Rectification is a specific type of alteration to a registered title. It does not relate to simply updating the register or amending administrative errors in documents submitted to the Land Registry, but it is used to correct mistakes recorded in the register which prejudicially affect the title of a registered proprietor. 

In the first instance, an application to the Land Registry should be made in order to determine whether rectification is appropriate. Following a successful application, a title register can be rectified by the Land Registry or pursuant to a court order obliging the Land Registry to affect such rectification. A compensation scheme is in place to indemnify anyone who suffers loss as a result of rectification of the register, a mistake in the register that was not rectified (but should have been), or a mistake in the register before it was rectified. 


Rectification by the court

Aside from errors in a title register, mistakes may also be made in the documents provided to the Land Registry, where the intentions of parties to a transaction or their understanding of an agreement are not accurately recorded. Here, registered titles will correctly reflect the documents submitted for registration but may not reflect the agreed position between parties, meaning an associated title entry will also be incorrect.

In these circumstances, a claim may be made to court for rectification of a registered title. Recently, the court has revised its approach to rectifying such errors following the judgment in Ralph v Ralph [2021] EWCA Civ 1106. The Court of Appeal ruled that both parties must hold a "continuing common intention" in respect of the matter to be rectified before the court will consider amending a title register and in addition such intention must have been communicated between them before the court will consider rectification.