For several reasons, when a property has the benefit of a separate parking space, not located on the grounds of the home, it will be registered under a different title number. For example, it may be that a previous owner of the home acquired the parking space from another land owner after the home was originally purchased. Alternatively, it may be because one has a different tenure from the other (such as a freehold parking space and a leasehold home/flat and vice versa). It may even be that the space was only ever transferred via an oral agreement and not registered at HM Land Registry.
As your conveyancer we want to ensure that we investigate the title to the property you are buying. We do this to guarantee the title is all in order and also that you will be transferred all the land you believe you are buying. It is for this reason that we send you a copy of the title plan and, if applicable, lease plan. This is a chance for you to check the plan carefully and if needs be, to notify us if there is a parking space not located on the plan.
Do not assume we will know about a separate parking space – it is not always evident from the information given to us by the seller’s conveyancer or agents. Thus, as with any discrepancy on the plan, we urge buyers to notify us of any inconsistencies with the property when we send them the plan to check.
On several recent transactions it has transpired the seller of the property has been using the separate parking space as their own in the genuine belief they bought the space with their home. However, it transpired upon further investigation, that the seller did not own the space because, for whatever reason, the legal title was never transferred to them at the time of their purchase.
This causes delays because the seller’s conveyancer then has to try to locate any previous owner registered at the Land Registry as the proprietor of the parking space. Once they do locate them the title will then have to be transferred to the seller before the seller can finalise their sale to the current buyer. I am sure you can imagine there can be all sorts of issues in locating the previous owner and getting an agreement to transfer the parking space. There may even be difficulty in enforcing an oral agreement for transferring a parking space as sometimes happens between neighbours.
You may think it would be simple to just say ‘forget about the space’, but proceeding without the parking space could have an impact on the value of the property and also affect your mortgage application if the valuation was based on the property benefitting from the space.
In order to prevent this happening restrictions can be placed on the separate titles (property/space) to ensure they remain linked and do not get transferred without each other. Additionally, as mentioned above, there is the importance of checking the plans carefully and ensuring your conveyancer is aware of everything you believe you are buying.
For more information, or if you are concerned you may be affected by this issue, please do get in touch with our Property Team by email to email@example.com, or on 01752 246000 (Plymouth office) / 01548 857000 (Kingsbridge office).