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Your property and the Duke of Devonshire

Property and land-owners throughout Cumbria have been receiving notifications from the Land Registry that a third party (for example the Church Commissioners for England or the Duke of Devonshire) is registering ownership of the mines and minerals under their land. So what is their interest in our homes and businesses and why are we receiving these notifications now? Solicitor Diane Barnes explains.

Many landowners are currently being surprised by notices from the Land Registry informing them that someone is claiming ownership of the mines and minerals under their land.

Typically, these claims are 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 mineral rights does not necessarily mean that they are intending to exercise the rights, although they could do so.  As a result of a change in the law, unless they register the mineral rights now, they may lose them.

At present, manorial rights (rights historically held by the Lord of the Manor, including mineral rights and sporting rights) are overriding interests.  This means that a landowner may own their land subject to someone else owning the manorial rights even if they are not registered on the title to the land at the Land Registry. 

However, under the Land Registration Act 2002, manorial rights are to lose their overriding status after 12th October 2013.  Therefore an owner of mineral rights now must have them noted at the Land Registry by then in order to bind future purchasers of the land, or have them protected by way of a caution against first registration in respect of unregistered land.  Otherwise, the rights may be lost.

Understandably, receiving such one of these notices from the Land Registry can be upsetting and confusing for land and property owners. If you receive a notice, 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.  Diane can be contacted on 01228 552222 or by email to dkb@burnetts.co.uk

About the author

Diane Barnes profile photo

Diane Barnes

Senior Associate Diane specialises in agricultural land and property sales.

Published: Monday 1st July 2013
Categorised: Agribusiness, Commercial Property, Residential Conveyancing

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