“Registration gap” ruling in High Court

October 12, 2016

A High Court judge has ruled that a notice to quit served on a tenant farmer was invalid because the new owners of the land served it before their purchase had been properly registered. The case is a test of the legal implications of the so-called “registration gap”, which is the time taken between the completion of a property transaction and its entry on the Land Registry.

The case concerns the sale of a small plot of land that took place in Ashton-with-Stodday, near Lancaster, on 19 June 2013 between Stodday Land Ltd and Ripway Holdings. Although the transaction completed in June, Ripway’s purchase wasn’t processed by the Land Registry until 16 July.

Even so, on 1 July Ripway served a tenant who farmed some of their land with a notice to quit, even though the land hadn’t yet been registered to them.

The farmer challenged the notice saying it was “not good in law”.

In a ruling at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Norris agreed, because at the time of serving the notice, Ripway wasn’t the registered owner of the land.

William Hanbury from Exchange Chambers acted for Stodday and Ripway.  He was instructed by Atkinson & Firth.