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Public Access To Land Registry

Question: I have heard that anyone can get a copy of the mortgage of my house or lease of my business premises from the Land Registry, but this cannot be right can it?

A title property at the Land Registry will describe the property, identify the owner and list any charges, such as mortgages, and any restrictions. Often these are too lengthy to list, so the title will refer to the transfer or deed documents which imposed them.

Such transfers have always been available for public inspection. Where the property is leasehold, the title will refer to specific leases by dates and parties. Where a property is mortgaged, the register will refer to the date of the charges.

Leases and charges were not accessible before the Land Registration Act 2003 came into force on 13 October 2003. Since then, any document newly recorded on a registration at the Land Registry has been available for £4 a document.

However, the owner or any other party to a document can apply to the land Registry for the document to be exempted from inspection if it ‘would cause substantial unwarranted distress to an individual or be prejudicial to the commercial interests of the applicant’.

Since October 13, the public disclosure scheme applies to all titles and documents referred to, including any registered before 13 October 2003. If you want to keep a document confidential, apply urgently to the Land Registry to request that the document be exempted. However, most documents do not give details of the sums borrowed, so you can be reassured your finances are not open to public scrutiny.

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