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Accuracy Of Plans

QUESTION: I have been told that details of any new lease exceeding seven years must now be recorded with the Land Registry. I have also been asked to provide better plans than were in the original documentation. Why is this?

Since October 2003 you have been obliged as a tenant in common of a commercial or residential property to register the lease formally with the Land Registry and it is in your best interests to do so.

The Land Registration Act 2002 widened the requirements to register interests in land in England and Wales. The lowering of the qualifying period from twenty-one to seven years for new or existing leases, if assigned or sublet with seven or more years to run, is one of the new mechanisms to trigger registration.

There are proposals to reduce the threshold to three years in the future, and one can imagine that in time all leases will have to be registered.

The Land Registry requires an accurate scaled plan of the premises. You may find that unless the drawings are generated from recent CAD data and are held on a computer, they may be difficult to adapt. If so, the registry will reject them, delaying the registration process.

However, most plans will form a basis for generating more updated versions. The important point to remember is that any plan submitted must not only comply with the Land Registry’s stipulations, but must also reflect the details contained within the lease documentation regarding demise, rights of way and other easements.

Sometimes the action of preparing property plans can be prompt the consideration of details that might otherwise have been overlooked in the lease agreement.

Should you need to commission a lease plan from dimensions taken on site, you might consider combining this with a survey of usable space. This will provide figures for other purposes, such as valuation or space planning.

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