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Mind your manor(s)! Other people may have rights over your home. #lawthoughts

Once upon a time……In the early 20th century lords of the manor in England and Wales were able to retain certain rights when land became freehold. That is ownership of real property, land and all immovable structures attached to such land. These rights are known as Manorial Rights and include but not limited to the following:

  • Rights to the ownership to mines or minerals within the land.
  • Sporting rights – such as hunting.
  • Rights to hold fairs and markets.

The mines and minerals within the land, which the lord of the manor had ownership of, would require the land owner’s permission to enter the land in order to mine for these minerals. As with sporting rights the lord of the manor would require access to your property in order to exercise these rights, however, such rights cannot be lawfully exercised within a residential area.

In respect of fairs and markets this relates to the jurisdiction in which fairs and markets can be held. Rest assured this does not mean the lord of the manor is permitted to hold a market or fair on your property even where such rights have been registered.

Manorial Rights were formally an ‘overriding interest’ in land which meant that even if these rights were not noted on the title register they continued to affect the property. Prospective purchasers could very well purchase a property with Manorial Rights and not even know they were in existence.

So what has changed?

On 13 October 2013 the overriding status of Manorial Rights were removed by the Land Registration Act 2002. This change was to ensure that all matters affecting property were transparent from inspection of its title register. Prior to 13 October 2013 the race was on for owners of Manorial Rights to register their interest against the title to a property.

Manorial rights which have been registered are usually noted on the title register by way of a Unilateral Notice. This protects Manorial Rights from losing their overriding status. If a property has been sold since 13 October 2013 it is no longer possible to register such an interest against the property after this date.

Caveat Emptor

Buyer beware! When purchasing a property your solicitor should inform you if there is a Unilateral Notice registered in respect of Manorial Rights. Ultimately, it is highly unlikely that these rights could in reality be exercised over the property.

For more information relating to the above please contact the commercial property team at Lyons Davidson on 0117 904 6000.