Certification of Title – LR Form 3
In appropriate cases, applications for first registration of a conveyance or assignment on sale, where the consideration is less than €1,000,000, may be the subject of a modified First Registration procedure. In these cases, a solicitor investigates the title and certifies it using LR Form 3. Where a Form 3 is accepted the Land Registry does not investigate the title.
- The Certificate in Form 3 application: Form 3 is the prescribed form of the certificate by a solicitor where the purchase money or compensation does not exceed €1,000,000 under Rule 19(3) of the Land Registration Rules 2012 [S.I. 483 of 2012].
- Attitude of the Land Registry: If a solicitor investigates a title and certifies it, the Land Registry will not investigate it. The Land Registry will accept a properly executed certificate.
- Certify in Person: The certifying solicitor must be the investigating solicitor, in person. The certificate should only be furnished where the practitioner can absolutely vouch for the title of the applicant. Certificates in Form 3 must be made and signed by the individual solicitor who investigated the title and not by or in the name of the firm. The Form 3 procedure is not appropriate if the solicitor who makes the Form 3 has a beneficial interest in the property.
- Mapping Requirements: The application map must comply with Land Registry Mapping Regulations. Particular case should be taken to ensure that the application property is wholly within the bounds of the descriptions, measurements and maps contained in or endorsed on the relevant documents of title. Also, to ensure by way of Land Registry mapping search under Rule 160 (1)(b) of the Land Registration Rules 2012 or by inspection of the relevant Land Registry Digital Map that the property marked on the application map comprises unregistered land [this can be done online through www.landdirect.ie].
- Burdens: Practitioners should not forget to set out fully the burdens to be registered at paragraph 8. This is a common omission. The solicitor must set out in paragraph 8 of the Form 3, the burdens which by virtue of Section 69 of the Registration of Title Act (as extended) appear from his/her investigation of the title affect the interest, except those burdens which affect without registration by virtue of Section 72 of the Registration of Title Act, as extended.
- No Delay: The Certificate in Form 3 should be lodged for registration without delay. Ideally the certificate of the solicitor with the deed of conveyance or assignment should be lodged within one month of execution. In the case of a delay in doing so, it may be necessary for the Land Registry to call for a fresh certificate or even call on the applicant to furnish the title documents for inspection e.g. if the delay is more than 2 years. If the certificate and deed are more than 5 years old, a full application for first registration in Form 1 or Form 2 under Rules 14 and 15 or 16 will be necessary.
- Title Based on Possession: Rule 19(3) procedure is not appropriate where the vendor’s title is based on possession. In the case of an application for registration based on a solicitor’s certificate under Rule 19(3) &19(4) the Authority may accept that the application is not based on possession if the solicitor makes a declaration to the Authority to that effect i.e. self-certification. See Paragraph 8 of the Form 3.
- No Contradictions in the Deed: A Conveyance or Assignment must not have contradictions within the document. If the title is recited, it must be consistent with the interest and property assigned or conveyed.
- Grantees Prior Interest: Difficulties arise if a grantee already has an interest in the property and he/she is now acquiring a superior interest to merge with that he/she has. The Land Registry will insist on full title to the prior interest if an absolute title is sought. The grantee takes as a constructive trustee for those entitled to the prior interest. Professor Wylie deals with this point in his book “Irish Land Law” at Chapter 9.063.
- Attested Copy of Leases: An attested copy of a Lease or of a Fee Farm Grant should be lodged where appropriate.
- Searches: are not required by the Land Registry. However, the purchaser’s solicitor should make searches in the Registry of Deeds, Judgments Office and Companies Office (where appropriate) against not only the vendor and his/her predecessors but also against the purchaser up to and including the date of the certificate. Such search should be made against the purchaser because he/she may well have dealt with the property prior to lodgement of the application for first registration or he/she may have suffered a judgment to be registered as a judgment mortgage against his/her interest. The practitioner should ensure that he/she has clear title on first registration in accordance with his certificate.