Overriding Interests – How Relevant Are They Today?

What is an Overriding interest?

Overriding interests are interests that are not registered at the Land Registry, but which still bind a party who acquires the land that is subject to the interest.

Recently (2106), the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) (FTT) held that the buyer of a registered freehold title took the land subject to an unregistered lease over part of the garden. The lease operated as an overriding interest under Schedule 3 to the Land Registration Act 2002, even though the fence that cut off the area was hidden behind some plants. The lease took effect as an overriding interest, even though the fenced off area to which it related was hidden behind a fuchsia!

We always remind clients we do not inspect the property and when they are armed with a copy of the plan we supply to them, they should walk the boundaries checking to ensure it matches the plan.  If they do not match, report it to us immediately!!

In this particular case, whilst the buyer had visited the property on three occasions before buying it, she had not walked the boundaries to ensure they did match the plan.  The FTT concluded that if she had checked the boundaries she would have seen the actual fence by moving the fuchsias’ branches.  Had she done so, she would have realised someone was in occupation of the land behind the bushes.  The Tenant’s lease over the garden triangle beyond the fuchsia was therefore binding and had to be registered.

While this case involves no new law, it is a useful reminder of the principles relating to overriding interest s protected by occupation, including the extra requirements that apply where the interest is to override a transfer of the registered title.

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