Plotting your sale

Legal Posted 28/02/20
The importance of a plan and clear instructions when selling plots of land.

All firms of solicitors will receive the call from their client to say that they want to sell part of their land or garden.

Smaller plots are very often to be sold to a neighbour who purely wants additional garden land. Sometimes, it is a farmer or land owner wishing to sell portions of land and keep back the main areas for their own continued use.

The sale of parts, or plots of land need not be a problem, so long as the seller understands what he needs to provide and consider, before instructing a solicitor to draw up the Transfer for the sale.

Sellers will regularly arrive at their solicitors office, armed with plans and copies of title, waving their arms around with instructions as to where “this piece” and “that piece” of land is to be divided up. A finger down the page of a plan with verbal instructions as to where the dividing line is to be, is often all that is given as an indication for the division of land.

If anyone is considering embarking on dividing up land or title that they own, to assist with easing the sale along, please check the plans provided to the solicitor at the outset.

H M Land Registry are very precise as to what they like to see, or not to see, when looking at a plan detailing the sale of land or property.

The Land Registry do not want to see words on the plan to say “approximate area” or “draft outline”. The definition for the land being sold must be clear and concise.

The plan should ideally be drawn up by a professional person, who would be aware that it has to show the scale and the north point, to comply with the Land Registry’s exacting specifications. The boundary that is to be maintained by the new owners should also be noted. This is often an initial outlay that will pay back in dividends when the sale goes through smoothly.

The area being sold is usually outlined in red, with any rights of access, easements or points of reference noted in other colours.

A serious consideration for any seller is, if they have a mortgage secured on the title, has the lender given consent to the sale of that specific area.

As the lenders mortgage is over the whole of the registered title, it could diminish the value of the remaining land below the original mortgage value when a transfer for part only is requested. The lender will usually ask to see a copy of the plan showing the extent of the land being sold, for their own valuer to consider.

Most lenders will consent to the transfer of the part of land, so long as their conditions are met.

The conditions would usually be that at least some of the sale proceeds from the land are used to reduce the amount of outstanding mortgage.

Upon the completion of the sale, the lender will provide a release of their charge specifically over the area of land being sold. A copy of the professionally drawn plan will be provided to the lender so that they can sign or seal it for the avoidance of doubt to confirm the area being released from their security.

From a solicitors point of view, when preparing the Deed of Transfer for a part of land out of a larger area, it is useful to know if there are any shared access roads, paths or driveways.

The plan would detail these areas with a designated colour, for reference in the Transfer Deed to grant the rights to the new buyers, usually subject to contributing towards the cost for maintenance and upkeep in a fair proportion.

If there are going to be shared service connections these would need to be referred to in the Transfer. There is nothing worse than falling out with neighbours due to the absence of an easement for service connections, rights of way, or access which have been forgotten when thinking about the transaction, which could have so easily been taken into account when instructing a solicitor to proceed.

When considering selling part of a garden or land, the terms for the sale should be considered carefully, for example who is to erect the dividing fence.

Sometimes the seller needs the fence to be a specific height and type, for example a stock proof fence is the usual specification when dividing farmland, but a chain link or lapped wooden fence would suffice for a garden division.

All rights of way to and from the land, which may be sold for the purpose of building a house on it, should be clearly defined, with consideration of shared maintenance and upkeep having been taken into account.

You will see that the sale of part of any land is not difficult, when the instructions from the seller and information provided at the outset of the transaction is available.


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