This section is from the book "Dart's Treatise On The Law And Practice Relating To Vendors And Purchasers Of Real Estate", by J. Henry Dart . Also available from Amazon: A treatise on the law and practice relating to vendors and purchasers of real estate.
Court Rolls and local registers.
Searches in local deeds registries.
Instruments not affected by local deeds registries.
(f) Wright v. Morton, (1887) 12 A. C. at p. 376 ; 56 L. J. Ch. 873. (g) S. C. (h) R. v. Registrar of Leeds for
Middlesex, (1888) 21 Q. B. D. 555 ; 56 L. J. Q. B. 657 ; 57 ib. 577.
(i) Sug. 14th ed. 732.
(j) Scriven, 6th ed. 461.
Where land situated in the counties of York, London, or Middlesex has teen put upon the register under the provisions of the Land Registry Act, 1862, or the Land Transfer Acts, 1875 and 1897, and while it remains thereon, the local registries are to cease to he applicable, except as to estates and interests excepted from the effect of registration under a possessory or qualified title, or to an unregistered reversion on a registered leasehold title, or to dealings with incumbrances created before registration (k). But, in the case of the latter, on registration under the L. T. Eules, 1903, the charge, under rule 176, ceases to be subject to the jurisdiction of any local deeds registry. And as regards land in Middlesex, any instrument made after the 30th July, 1900, and capable of registration under the Land Charges, etc. Act, 1888, or the Land Charges Act, 19C0, is exempted from the operation of the Middlesex Registry Act, 1708 (/). Since March, 1892, the business of the Middlesex Registry has been transferred to the Land Registry (m), and an official search may now be obtained under the Land Registry (Middlesex Deeds) Rules, 1892 (n). The parts of Middlesex, Surrey, Essex and Kent, which formerly constituted the Metropolitan district, now form the geographical county of London (o).
Local registries need not be searched where land registered under the L. T. Acts.
Unless the financial position of the vendor is sufficiently known, it is proper to search in the Bankruptcy Court (p). Under the Bkey. Act of 1883, any payment or delivery to the bankrupt, and any conveyance or assignment, and any contract, dealing or transaction, by or with the bankrupt for valuable consideration is not invalidated, provided that the same takes place before the date of the receiving order, and that the person dealing with the bankrupt had not at the time notice of any available act of bankruptcy previously committed (q), even though the transaction itself is an act of bankruptcy (r). The search should, in strictness, be for twelve years, but a five years' search is commonly deemed sufficient. Moreover, as no facilities have been given for obtaining an official search in bankruptcy, it is very common to make the search in Perry's Gazette, so far as it goes, and to bring the search up to date at the Bankruptcy Court. The receiving orders are now printed and indexed.
(k) L. T. Act, 1875,s.127,amended by L. T. Act, 1897, schedule I. As to the searches necessary on a purchase of registered land, see inf. Ch. XXII.
(l) The Land Charges Act, 1900, e. 4.
(m) The Land Registry (Middlesex Deeds) Act, 1891, s. 1.
(n) (1892) W.N. O. &R. 4.
(o) Local Government Act, 1S88, s. 40 (2).
(p) Cooper v. Stephenson, (1852) 16 Jur. 424; 21 L. J. Q. B. 292.
Notice of an act of bankruptcy would seem to be immaterial, if three months have elapsed without a bankruptcy petition having been presented (s). The search, when made, should extend to compositions or schemes of arrangement approved by the Court under s. 3 of the Bkcy. Act, 1890.
Notice of, when immaterial.
By the Deeds of Arrangement Act, 1887, all deeds of arrangement made after 1887, being instruments made in respect of the affairs of a debtor for the benefit of his creditors generally (otherwise than in pursuance of the law for the time being in force relating to bankruptcy), are rendered void unless registered within seven days after the execution thereof at the Bills of Sale Department of the Central Office ; and by the Land Charges, etc. Act, 1888, s. 9, every deed of arrangement, whether made before or after the passing of the Act, is rendered void as against any person who, after 1888, becomes a purchaser for value of any land affected thereby, unless and until the deed is registered in the Land Registry. As deeds of arrangement do not require re-registration, the search must be carried back until the time when the person searched against became entitled.
Deeds of arrangement.
The Judgments Act, 1855, s. 12, established a new register of life annuities and rent-charges not created by will or marriage settlement, and rendered them ineffectual as against purchasers unless and until registered in the Land
(q) See this discussed, sup. p. 861 et seq.
(r) Shears v. Goddard, 1896, 1 Q. B. 406 ; 65 L. J. Q. B. 344.
(s) Bkcy. Act, 1883, s. 6.
Registry (u). It is conceived that the enactment would not be held to apply in the case of a rent-charge for life reserved to a vendor as the consideration, or as part of the consideration, for the sale of property. The recent statutory provisions as to judgments and Crown debts do not extend to annuities. It has been held that, by analogy to the clauses in the Begistry Acts which had been decided not to render unregistered conveyances void as against subsequent purchasers who had notice of them, unregistered annuities were valid against subsequent incumbrancers who took with notice of them, and against the trustee in bankruptcy of the grantor (v). Strictly, a search should be made against the vendor from the time he could have charged the land, and against his predecessor in title unless twelve years have elapsed since the last purchase for value, but unless there are special circumstances, the search is usually confined to the last five years.
Where the land has been settled, or has belonged to married women, it may be proper, in special cases, to search for inrolled deeds and acknowledgments under the Fines and Recoveries Act, 1833, in fact it is now common to search against a tenant in tail from the time he attained twenty-one for disentailing assurances, whether the estate was in possession or remainder, for it frequently happens that a tenant in tail in remainder creates a base fee and mortgages his interest.
Disentailing deeds and acknowledgments by married women.
From the above it will appear that an official certificate should be obtained of search at the Land Registry against a beneficial owner for annuities, lis pendens, writs and orders for five years past, and also for deeds of arrangement and land charges from the commencement of the Register under the Act of 1888, also against him in bankruptcy for five years unless his financial position is sufficiently known. Also of search against a trustee or mortgagee for lis pendens for five years past.
The usual searches.
(u) An official search can be obtained.
(v) Greaves v. Tofield, (1880) 14 Ch. D. 563 ; 50 L. J. Ch. 118.