Every local authority in England and Wales is required to hold a local land charge register, with the exception of county councils.
A Local Land Charge is an obligation or restriction on a property within the authority’s area that is enforceable. These obligations can include tree preservation order, listed buildings, planning permissions, enforcement notices etc. These can affect both residential and non-residential properties, including land.
These enforcements must be registered in the Local Land Charges Register to record obligations that affect properties within a local authority’s administrative area; the records are usually kept in either paper or electronic format. Prices can vary considerably, leading to an inconsistent customer service that varies depending on postcode.
HM Land Registry is working in partnership with local authorities in England and Wales to standardise and migrate local land charges register information to one accessible central register as part of a phased approach. Anyone can access the Local Land Charges and get instant online search results using the search for local land charges service, and business customers can access it through their portals account. The search results provide details of entries related to the property or land within the searched area.
Since its launch, HM Land Registry’s national Local Land Charges Register is continuing to grow. In April the City of Lincoln joined the service. Kieron Manning, Assistant Director of Planning at City of Lincoln Council said: “We have today migrated our local land charges service to the national register. This will make buying a property in Lincoln quicker and simpler for all. The register allows users to search information online instantly, providing the user with a consistent service across the country.”
Now, Swansea has become the first of 22 Welsh local authorities to move its local land charges information to the Land Registry’s digital register to speed up the conveyancing process. The agency said that Swansea was ‘paving the way for the remaining Welsh local authorities to join the register, making local land charges information instantly accessible, speeding up the conveyancing process and making home buying easier and less stressful for the people of Swansea’.
According to the Gazette, following the legislation that came into force in April 2021, the Welsh Government aligned its local land charge service fees with that of England.
HM Land Registry announced that with the addition of Swansea and other councils which have registered recently including Solihull, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Harborough, the number of local authorities to register is brought to 39.