Have you received a B133 Notice from the Land Registry?
If not yet, then you may do so in the next few days or weeks as the deadline for registration is 13th October 2013.
Many property owners are currently receiving B133 Notices from the Land Registry to say the Church Commissioners are claiming that they own the mineral rights in their property.
We know that many clients of Tallents across the country have received ‘B133’ letters informing them that an application has been made for registration of a notice on their property titles that the mineral rights are separately owned by the Church.
What is behind the B133 Notices?
It seems that the Church Commissioners have set about proving ownership of their mineral rights following a change in the law. They are not trying to claim ownership of something that doesn’t belong to them, they are just ensuring that what they do own is properly registered so that they don’t lose it.
When the land registration system was set up it was recognised that certain property rights could not always be identified from the old title deeds. These are called Overriding Interests and among them were rights which were retained by lords of the manor, including ownership of mineral rights.
The Land Registry rules therefore provided that transfers of land were to take effect subject to various third-party rights, even if these were not set out in the Title Document. A buyer would be affected by them even if he didn’t know about them. As the idea of title registration was that buyers would be able to see exactly what affected a property title, it has long been considered that the concept of unidentified overriding interests went against the whole purpose of Land Registration.
The law was changed and owners of certain property rights now have until the 12 October 2013 to apply for registration of them, otherwise they may be lost. It seems that the Church Commissioners and some large estates have decided to ensure that they do not lose any rights that they may have, and are therefore taking steps to apply for registration of these rights.
What should I do if I receive a B133 Notice?
Homeowners will often be unaware that anyone else might own any minerals in their land, so getting a formal notice through the post will be an unwelcome surprise. Steps can be taken to dispute claims, but it is worth considering the following before taking any action.
Will registration of the B133 Notice have any effect on my home?
It is unlikely that the registration of a note on the title register relating to the ownership of minerals will have any effect on the value or saleability of a dwelling. All such a note will do is formally note those rights which exist already. Nor should homeowners worry about someone suddenly turning up and sinking a mineshaft through their property. In most parts of the country there isn’t much worth mining, and both coal and oil are nationalised commodities.
Homeowners’ titles may already include a note that mines and minerals were specifically retained by an earlier document. If there is a note to the effect that the land was ‘formerly copyhold of the Manor of Anywhere’ then minerals could still belong to the lord of the manor, but in such cases the Land Registry doesn’t consider it necessary to register any further note about their ownership.
Owners can ask the owner of the mineral rights if they would be willing to sell them, so that they re-attach to the ownership of the surface. There is no reason why this should not be done, but it could be very expensive.
Please do not throw away the B133 Notice letter as a scam or junk mail. You may need to object to the contents and you should at least keep the formal notification with your property documents.