First Registration of Title

Anyone who owns property and land in Ireland should be aware of the importance of the first registration of title. It’s an area of Irish property law that is backed by the government and can often be essential in terms of settling any disputes.


With a government guarantee in prospect, it’s something that every landowner needs to consider. In some cases, the process is voluntary, but it can be compulsory in certain instances.


Explanation of first registration of title

First registration of title has two explanations in law. In one case, it involves transferring the registration of land between two authorities. The former Registry of Deeds system is non-map based while the Land Registry is based on maps.


This is, therefore, a legal procedure under property law which carries out the transfer of title from the Registry of Deeds to the Land Registry. Both are similar organisations, but there are certain benefits to carrying out the transfer. A first registration at the Land Registry for new purchases can also be covered by the First Registration of Title process.


In summary, the first registration of title relates to the time when land or property is registered with the Land Registry. Before the process has been successfully carried out, the property or land is considered to be unregistered under Irish law, providing this is the first time that it has been registered.


If the property or land has yet to be transferred from the Registry of Deeds, it will remain under that system until it has been switched to the Land Registry.


Compulsory registration and voluntary registration

There are certain instances where first registration is compulsory. This is where the process can get a little complex as the terms will differ between regions of Ireland. A table is available, but a solicitor with experience in this area of property law can provide definitive information.


For example, in respect of leasehold land, registration is compulsory in Carlow, Meath and Laois for transactions from January 1st 1970. In Dublin and Cork, this date is moved forward to June 1st 2011.


In other parts of the country, the dates for when a first registration of title becomes compulsory under property law will range between these two parameters. Dates for certain other regions will range between January 1st 1970 and June 1st 2011.


In some cases, the process will be voluntary and not all land and property owners will take up the option. This is a matter for the individual, but it may be beneficial to carry out the transfer between the Registry of Deeds and the Land Registry. Your solicitor will be able to provide you with further information, but here are some key points to consider.


Benefits of registration

While land and property owners around Ireland may see first registration of title as an unnecessary process, there are two clear benefits to carrying it out:


  • Efficiency
  • Clarity


The Irish Land Registry is widely recognised as one of the best of its kind in Europe. The system is fully digitised with no paper documents, so everything is fully recorded without any danger of important information being lost.


It is far more effective than the Registry of Deeds system and that leads us to the second point. The Land Registry is the best system in place in terms of identifying who owns which piece of property and land in Ireland. Digitisation is important here as is the use of maps – a process that isn’t in place under the Registry of Deeds.


The newer system provides conclusive evidence of ownership of any land or property in Ireland and that’s why it is of great benefit to the respective owners. In the event of any dispute over ownership or rights, the Land Registry will provide that conclusive information, while the Registry of Deeds may be subject to far more grey areas.


Remember, the new system is backed by the government, and there is a guarantee in prospect in terms of ownership. This is why a first registration of title is so important, but how does the individual carry out the process?


Find out more about first registration of title

While the official government website has a series of online forms, this can be one of the more complicated areas of Irish property law. Questions to ask include whether or not it is compulsory to transfer the registration from the Registry of Deeds to the Land Registry.


Every region in the country has different legal requirements in this respect. While they are outlined in full on government information portals, it takes time to work through the details. Having established the point, it’s now down to the individual to move the process forward.


A solicitor with experience in the field of first registration of title can save a considerable amount of time here. They will already be aware of the compulsory vs voluntary situation, and they will be able to advise on this point as soon as they are aware of the address of the property or land in question.


McGinley Solicitors LLP have been dealing in complex areas of property law since 1988. That gives us 35 years of experience in detailed issues such as first registration of title, and we are in a position to pass on our expert advice.


We can confirm whether or not the registration is compulsory and we can carry out the paperwork from start to finish. If an appointment in person is necessary, we have three offices across Dublin and Donegal where we can finalise matters.


In the first instance, why not give us a call or simply fill in the brief online form? We will get straight back to you and will outline the process needed when applying for first registration of title.

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