This article is going to explain the basics of the office copies and why they are so important. Here at Bond Adams solicitors, we work on your transactions with care. The best way for us to do this is to write a report on title for you to understand your property before buying it.
What is an office copy?
Anyone buying or selling land or property, or taking out a mortgage, must apply to the Land Registry in order to process their purchase. Once processed, it will be registered with a title number. With this title number you will be able to see all things bound to the property as well as a plan showing what land is owned by you.
It is important to know what the land consists of as there could be areas which you may have assumed would be part of the land you are buying, however if not shown on the title plan, it is likely that someone else has ownership of that land (commonly a neighbour).
In addition, the body of the office copies summarises who is in ownership of the property, the local council catchment area the property resides in and explains terms bound by the owners of the land. These terms are described as rights granted, rights reserved and restrictive covenants. These will be explained bellow.
Rights granted are rights that other people may have over the property you are buying. As this is written in the office copies, this is not something that can be disputed. One of the most common ways a right can be granted is to give a right of way to another person. This is used commonly when there is a path which gives access to two or more properties. An example would be a path that leads to the garden of 2 houses. In such a case, a right of way would be given to an owner of one property whilst the other owner has the burden of them using that part of the property that is owned by themselves.
Reservation of rights is a clause from the buyer party that the seller or in the case of a lease, the landlord reserves the right to any number of things. An often-seen example would be that the landlord may reserve the right to enter the property to carry out certain repairs or maintenance. In cases of a lease, it is common that landlords would want to reserve the right to enter the property to inspect that the property is in good working order.
Restrictive covenants can arguably be the most important type of term that can be on the office copies. They restrict a purchaser from doing many things and these covenants would always be bound by the terms of the land throughout time. These can be in many forms, for example there could be covenants that restrict building on the property. Covenants relating to commercial leases could include not selling alcohol or no music during specific hours in the day. This can be of vital importance as they can restrict future plans of a property, for you as a purchaser.
Therefore, we at Bond Adams Solicitors, take good care and due diligence on reporting on such title documents. Whilst inspecting a property, it may be useful to look through these reports and see whether there are things which are restricted in the office copies. If you are looking to purchase the property and a breach has been made to it would be you compensating for that breach after you’ve exchanged contracts and not the person who sold the property to you.
If you or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced Property law team at Bond Adams LLP Solicitors. You can contact us on 0116 285 8080 or email us at email@example.com.