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Land Registry Notice

QUESTION: I want to sell my land quickly but cannot do so because a third party has registered a notice at the Land Registry against my title. What should I do?

If your land is registered, anyone who claims to have an interest in it can apply to the Land Registry to enter a notice against your title. The entry of such a notice will usually put off potential buyers.

You can apply to the Land Registry to cancel the notice but this process is very slow. If you need to sell the land quickly, a more effective option is to make an application to the court.

If, at the first hearing, you can demonstrate to the court that the person who registered the notice has no valid interest in the land, then the court will order them to remove the notice.

You will also normally get an order requiring them to pay your legal costs, together with damages to compensate you for any financial loss suffered as a result of the sale of the land being delayed by the entry of the notice.

However, if the notice was registered by a limited company without any assets, it is unlikely that you will ever receive payment of the costs and damages from the company.

In a recent case (Anderson Antiques v Anderson Wharf, 24.05.07), it was ruled that a director of a company that wrongfully registers a notice can, in certain circumstances, be made to pay costs and damages to the landowner out of his own pocket. The judge decided it was fair and just to make the director personally liable because his company was a single-purpose vehicle with just one director and shareholder.

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