The Property Registration Authority and Assents
12 February 2021
From time to time, as you sit opposite Johnny client, who is shouting at you, telling you – “You are mad expensive” and “You are not getting paid” – for your perfectly fine and complicate work – you might ask “Why?” “What’s it all about?”
Other times, you might ask life’s important questions, like, “Is there life out there?”, “Will Eastenders ever have a happy ending?” or more importantly “Why don’t the Land Registry query the assents that I send into them?”.
I can help with none of the above apart from the Land Registry one.
From time to time you will come across situations in a will where the fall of the property assets don’t suit the beneficiaries and they want to swap around the benefits. You will be familiar with deeds of family arrangements where, parties transfer assets or parts of assets between them. Essentially what these parties are doing are swapping beneficial interests between them. So in a situation where a house and farm have fallen four ways, but the siblings agree that beneficiary A will get the house and beneficiary B gets the farm and C and D get something else, then, the parties enter into a deed of family arrangement and swish these interests around.
Deeds of family arrangement must be in writing, are normally stampable and submitted to e-stamping in the normal course. However, the Land Registry don’t get to see this. They only get to see the gliding swan of your Form 35 and Form 36 (assent and application forms). They don’t get to see all the webbed feet work of your lovely and complicated deed of family arrangement under the water. In fact you should not send in deeds of family arrangement.
So a will might say “my house goes to Mary and my farm goes to John” but the assent that you submit to the Land Registry might say “All the farm to Stephen”. Have ever wondered why the Land Registry don’t query the mismatch between the will and the assent? I’m sure you know. But, in case it is not exactly tripping off the brian, the answer lies in section 61(3) of the Registration of Title Act 1964 which states:-
(3) (a) An application for registration made by a person who claims to be by law entitled to the land of a deceased registered full owner, accompanied by an assent or transfer by the personal representative in the prescribed form, shall authorise the Authority to register such person as owner of the land.
(c) It shall not be the duty of the Authority, nor shall it be entitled, to call for any information as to why any assent or transfer is or was made and it shall be bound to assume that the personal representative is or was acting in relation to the application, assent or transfer correctly and within its powers.
So, essentially the PRAI do not look behind an assent and application.
Therefore, what is to prevent a Per Rep from writing anything that suits them into an assent? If the PRAI are not going to query it, then, it’s a free for all, and my Per Rep client can assent property willy nilly?
Well the answer to that question is next week.
Yes, a cliff-hanger
Queue Eastenders drums.