The Property Registration Authority (PRA) says that the rejection rate for applications for first registration cases lodged with it in 2019 was 23%. In addition, a significant number of further cases required rulings or queries to be raised, and re-raised – several times – before the application could proceed towards completion.
According to Michael Clarke (Deputy Registrar of the PRA), applications for first registration lodged with the authority, where title is not certified and examination of the title is required, can sometimes take a considerable time to complete.
Adverse possession cases
This can be said, also, of applications under section 49 of the Registration of Title Act 1964 for adverse possession of registered land.
“The primary reason for this is the general low standard of applications lodged,” Mr Clarke said.
Reducing the arrears of first-registration casework is a key strategic goal in the PRA’s Integrity & Innovation Statement of Strategy 2019-2021, in support of its remit to extend title registration.
Following a re-structuring of the examination-of-title process, and the dedication of increased resources to the area, 2019 saw a 28% increase in the number of cases completed on foot of an examination of title. An additional increase is expected in 2020.
Change of practice
In 2020, the authority aims to improve overall processing times by changing its practice on the rejection of first registration and section 49 cases that are not in order for registration.
Rather than retain and query these applications, as previously, from 1 February 2020, these applications will, instead, be rejected upon initial examination.
Applications for first registration in Forms 1, 2 or 5; and section 49 applications in Form 6 of the Land Registration Rules 2012, will be given a full examination, and all rulings will be raised in the rejection letter.
There will be no loss of priority for solicitors’ clients, the PRA says, as the appropriate date of registration will be the date of settling, rather than the date of lodgement.
Upon re-lodgement, an application will only be rejected again if the rulings originally raised have not been satisfied, or if rulings arise in respect of deeds or documents not lodged with the original application.
Michael Clarke says this will help improve the expected processing time for first registration and section 49 applications, by:
Freeing up the significant staff resources currently dealing with arrears’ maintenance, and
The fact that the lodging solicitor will have all deeds and documents to hand when satisfying any rulings raised.
Many solicitors do not retain copies of documents lodged to the PRA, so the new practice means that having these documents returned to the solicitor will aid the process of satisfying rulings.
Full details of the change may be found at www.prai.ie. Also available on the website are instructional videos to assist in the preparation of Form 1 and Form 2 applications for the registration of documentary title.
To further aid practitioners in preparing applications, the following list sets out some of the most common errors in applications lodged:
- Affidavit in Form 1,2, 5 or 6 incorrectly drafted and/or jurat incomplete,
- Form 17 is not properly completed and/or is not signed by an individual solicitor,
- Fees not lodged or insufficient fees lodged,
- Revenue Stamp Certificate (documentary title) or CAT certificate (possession cases) not lodged,
- Searches not lodged,
- No application map lodged, or map lodged is not Land Registry compliant,
- Necessary deeds or documents required for registration have not been lodged, for example, original title deeds, deed of appointment of receiver, grant of administration,
- Deeds on title omitted/errors in deeds lodged,
- Supporting documents not lodged, for example, deed of appointment of receiver, and
- Insufficient detail provided in paragraph 2 (Form 5 or 6 possession cases).