It is unfortunate that the Land Registry’s longstanding default practice of automatically introducing a form A restriction on to a title if, at point of registration, a conveyancer historically forgot to indicate whether it was joint tenancy or tenancy in common (often by ticking the appropriate box on the transfer), has now come back to bite conveyancers.
That is because of the Registry’s enthusiasm to trouble itself with trusts that may or may not be relevant to the title. This conveyancing solicitor remembers when 25 years ago trusts were of no interest to the Registry, which, indeed, made it very plain this was the case. The restriction, of course, requires a court order if the subsequent transfer is not by two or more transferors.
An awful lot of trouble would be saved for the Land Registry and conveyancers if the present transfer is by the original two individuals who imposed the restriction. Then that should automatically override the form A restriction, which should be taken off simultaneously (unless there is a positive application to retain it?).
The current procedure to clear off a form A restriction which was innocently left on there by conveyancers whose businesses have closed or where an original transferor has moved on or cannot be traced is ridiculous. If an original transfer was by the original trustees, whether or not the trust was observed is a matter for those trustees and not the Registry to enquire after (sometimes many years have elapsed).
This causes current conveyancers to become something akin to Sherlock Holmes before they can give a certificate demanded by the Registry or obtain the completion of a form ST5 and lodge it.
Peter Mason-Apps, Mason-Apps Smallmans & Co, Maidenhead