By Richard Connolly, Process Lead at HM Land Registry Registration Services
At-a-glance guide for conveyancers to help with lease extension applications where the existing lease is being surrendered and a new lease granted
HM Land Registry (HMLR) has published a handy new checklist for use when handling lease extension applications that take effect as surrender and regrants.
It comes as part of a wide-ranging and determined effort to drive down the number of requests for information (requisitions) the organisation has to send, which cause delays in the registration process and mean extra work for conveyancers.
During the course of a lease there can be times when the landlord and tenant want to change one or more aspects of what was originally agreed. Where such variations mean the existing lease cannot simply be extended by deed – for example, land is added or removed, or the term extended or reduced – that lease is deemed to have been surrendered and a completely new one created. This is a surrender and regrant application and follows the usual requirements for registering a dispositionary first lease.
HMLR received 35,000 surrender and regrant applications in 2021/22 – an average of 138 a day – and around 70% of these required at least one requisition.
Recognising that this can be a complex and often misunderstood area of land registration, it has devised and published a checklist – attached to Practice Guide 28 as a supplement – to help. The checklist pulls together the key elements to consider into a single at-a-glance reference, with helpful links to further information across relevant Practice Guides.
The checklist focuses on the four key areas that give rise to the most requisitions:
- the application form AP1;
- prescribed clauses;
- documents lodged or missing; and
- incumbrances on the landlord’s title.
Applications are often lodged incorrectly as an update to an existing register. As they are surrender and regrants, in each a new register is created, which means applications must be submitted as dispositionary first leases by choosing ‘Lease Extension’ in the portal. (If using third-party software [Business Gateway] and unsure how to do this, customers should contact their software supplier.)
As well as this, common issues that lead HMLR to raise a requisition include, but are not limited to:
- a title referred to in a deed has not been entered in panel 2 of the form AP1;
- incumbrances such as restrictions on the landlord’s title have not been dealt with;
- the term has been extended, but no deed of substituted security has been lodged or a deed of substituted security is lodged that has not been approved by HMLR’s Commercial Arrangements Section; and
- an address for service of the proprietor of the land or charge is required.
HM Land Registry anticipates that, in most cases, a simple checklist will help eliminate many such errors and omissions, speeding up the registration process to provide a more efficient, consistent and accurate service for all of its customers. Improving the quality of applications will, it says, help achieve these aims while better protecting the integrity of the register.