IF YOU have bought land, leased land for more than seven years, or had land transferred to in the last 28 years, then your ownership of the land will be registered with the Land Registry.

This is because registration of land - following certain transactions - has been compulsory since December 1990, and is now governed by the Land Registration Act 2002.

According to the Land Registry, more than 85 per cent of land in England and Wales is registered.

Much of the remaining unregistered land includes large estates owned by the Crown or Church.

There are also many houses and farms still in family ownership which might not be registered until someone moves on.

But, there are also lots of pockets of unregistered land.

This might be because ownership of this land has not been claimed by anyone, or it might be because errors have been made when adjoining land has been registered.

This can be a particular problem with fields in rural areas, or in towns where there are yards and lanes between properties which appear not to be registered to anyone.

If you believe that you own land which has not been registered, your title is potentially less secure.

A neighbour might try to claim that the land belongs to them, particularly if they have used it or fenced it off.

These are known as “adverse possession” claims and are easier to defend if the land is already registered.

Even if you are not looking to sell unregistered land in the near future, it is possible to apply for voluntary registration, to ensure that your title is in order before you come to sell.

Registration also helps the Land Registry to fight property fraud, which we have covered in a previous article.

If you think your land is unregistered, your solicitor can check for you and advise you about first registration.