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What are the potential dangers of 'overriding interests' affecting my property?

View profile for Tom Bell
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Although a registered title at the Land Registry should be a clear record of all rights and other matters affecting land, there continue to be other adverse interests which may affect property. These are known as ‘overriding interests’ and could impact on an owner or purchaser’s proposed use of the land and its value.  

The principle of “Buyer Beware” means that a purchase of land is subject to any existing matters affecting that property. It is therefore vital when purchasing property to fully ascertain what existing interests might exist by carrying out searches, inspecting the land, raising enquiries, and reviewing the seller’s title. There are, however, certain rights that may still affect the property despite them not being revealed by these checks.

The Land Registration Act 2002 sought to reduce the number of overriding interests and restrict them. However, despite these changes, overriding interests continue to be a potential issue for landowners.

Certain historic rights including manorial rights and chancel repair liabilities lost their overriding status on 12 October 2013, however, these did not automatically come to an end but could potentially still exist. There are various overriding interests but landowners may be particularly concerned about leases granted for a term not exceeding seven years, certain Legal Easements, public rights including footpaths that might not be formally recorded on the Council’s definitive map, or rights to mines and minerals.

I would therefore recommend registering any land that you own that is currently unregistered and ensure that full due diligence checks are carried out when purchasing property.

Tom Bell is a senior associate at mfg Solicitors. If readers would like to get in touch, they can email Tom through or by calling 01905 610410.

This article has previously been posted in The Farmer [part of The Shropshire Star].