Do you own the mines and minerals under your farm?
In this article, Diane Barnes, a solicitor specialising in agricuture, discusses legislation relating to mines and minerals under farms.
Thousands of landowners are currently receiving letters from the Land Registry informing them that someone is claiming ownership of the mines and minerals under their land.
Typically, this is being made by successors in title to the Lord of the Manor, who for varying historical reasons, have retained ownership of the mineral rights.
Submission of an application to register ownership of mineral rights does not mean that they are intending to exercise the rights. As a result of a change in the law, unless they register the mineral rights now, they may lose them.
Until October 2013, manorial rights (rights historically held by the Lord of the Manor, including mineral rights and sporting rights) were overriding interests. This meant that a landowner could own their land subject to someone else owning the manorial rights even if they did not know about it.
As a result in change of legislation, manorial rights have now lost their overriding staus against future buyers. Therefore an owner of mineral rights etc must have them noted at the Land Registry in order to bind future purchasers of the land. Otherwise, buyers will buy the land free of any conflicting ownership and the Lord of the Manor's rights may be lost.
If you receive a notice from the Land Registry, you should seek legal advice immediately, to determine whether the applicant is entitled to claim ownership of the minerals. Ownership of the minerals rights to the applicant may be registered automatically after a certain period, unless you raise valid objections.
About the author
Senior Associate Diane specialises in agricultural land and property sales.
Published: Tuesday 22nd April 2014