Land Registry - Title Numbers
In May 2006 the Land Registry web site removed the facility for finding the Title Number of clients' property via the simple, free search that had been available since the introduction of the RX1 form.
The reasons for this change were variously attributed to:
* the many £2 refunds that had to be given given after customers buying details online found the selling prices of property were not included
* the fact that professional operators were data mining the site to sell on commercially valuable information
Until it was queried, the Land Registry had no official line about what we were now expected to do when submitting RX1 forms. However after consultations with their lawyers the position has now been rationalised (retrospectively) to say that to do the job properly we should be checking (a) that the clients are actually the proprietors of the property and (b) that the property is actually held as Joint Tenants and not already as Tenants in Common or by a Sole Proprietor.
Buying the Title Register for the property for £2 is the easiest way to get this information. It gives the Title Number, the names of the proprietors and if they are already Tenants in Common there will be an entry starting "Restriction: No disposition by a sole proprietor of the registered estate ... "
Alternatively you could register as a user of Land Registry Direct - this involves a long winded credit application and theoretically the requirement to spend at least £40 per month (although we are told that in practice this can waived). Users of Land Registry Direct do have the option of submitting RX1 forms online without needing client signatures but there are apparently some problems with this system which still needs to be sorted out.