This blog post can help its readers in being able to learn about how they can find out if a property is owned by the council authorities or a private entity. Through the course of the following paragraphs, we will explore the different ways through which one can get details regarding the ownership of a property; depending on the information they currently have. We will also discuss how ownership documents can be retrieved officially from government records by paying a nominal fee. 

How To Find Out If A House Is Council Owned Or Private?

If you wish to find out if a house in England or Wales is owned by the council authorities or a private individual, you can get this information from the official website of the Land Registry. If you require details of property ownership in Scotland, you will need to visit the Registers for Scotland website and the Land and Property Services website in Northern Ireland.

The type of information that you can attain from the Land Registry regarding property or land ownership (even if you are not the owner), includes the following:

  • a Title Register will tell you who owns the property and if there are any rights of way
  • a Title Number will tell you the unique number assigned to a property
  • a Title Plan will tell you the location and boundaries of the property 

If you are interested in knowing about multiple owners of a property over the years, you can do so by requesting a historical title register. This will provide you with details of all the owners that the property has been passed down from since it was first constructed.

If you require original deeds of the property, you can request a copy from the Land Registry for a nominal fee.

To find this information, you will need to provide the complete address of the property; preferably along with a postal code. You will need to enter the required information in a search bar on the website to reach the most accurate results.

If you do not have the complete or correct address of the property regarding which you seek information, you will need to select a location from a digital map on the website to attain information regarding its ownership.

There has been an addition to the services being offered in this regard on the UK Government’s official website. You can simply type the postal code or street address of a property in a search bar on the GOV.UK website and for a negligible fee of £3, (payments can conveniently be made using a debit or credit card online) you will be provided with the following information:

  • name and details of the owner of the property
  • the amount that they paid to purchase it
  • details of any mortgage on the property

If you are searching for information regarding a specific property and its details are not available on public searches, you may need to consider hiring a Tracing Agent. These are private investigators who can gain access to information that is not easily accessible by common people. Their service fee is usually £35. 

However, these options will only apply if the property is registered (as is the case with 85% of properties in England). In the case of unregistered properties, you will need to ask around neighbours in the area or contact the local council office for any possible information that is available. 

If you are seeking to find out ownership details of properties with the aim to rent or purchase them, you may also need to conduct a quick comparison of renting or owning private property as compared to council housing. 

What Kind Of Information Can I Get To Find Out If A House Is Council Owned Or Private?

For instance, you can get a Property Summary which includes the following information:

  • complete postal address of the property
  • description of the property
  • the type of ownership currently held by the property 
  • details of any applicable ‘restrictive covenants’ or ‘easements’

Alternatively, you can apply for a Title Register. This will provide you with the following additional details as well:

  • title number and ownership details of the property
  • the amount for which the property was last sold for
  • details of any mortgage on the property

You can also search the index map on the Land Registry’s website to get detailed information about a property if you do not have the complete or correct address of its location.

How Can I Get Copies Of Property Deeds From Land Registry? 

If you need copies of the official documents regarding property ownership, you can download these documents from the Land Registry website for a nominal fee. If you need a copy of the Title Register, you can get one for £3 while an online copy of the Title Plan can be obtained for £2.50 (£3 with VAT),

If you want original copies of these documents (mostly obtained to present as proof of ownership in a court of law) you will be required to download and fill out the application for an official search and submit it at the following address:

HM Land Registry

Citizen Centre

PO Box 74

Gloucester

GL14 9BB

In this case, the fee will be £7 for each document and you can expect to receive copies through post after a week of making the payment.

Is Private Housing Better Than Council Housing?

Whether or not private housing is better than council housing depends on two factors; (a) the ability of an applicant to qualify for council housing and (b) whether or not they can afford private rent. 

Council houses are much lower in rent as compared to private property and the initial deposit amount is usually little to none. Private property on the other hand is available at market competitive rates.

Since council housing is intended for low-income households, there is an eligibility criterion regarding income and personal circumstances that council housing applicants need to meet. Private tenants on the other hand face no such assessment of their income and living conditions.

Council houses are known for their sturdy structures and spacious yet conservative designs. Private property on the other hand offers the latest design and layout, although they may not be as spacious as council property.

While it may be easier to rent or purchase a private property by offering larger deposit sums or market competitive payments, it is slightly more challenging to rent or purchase council property especially if the intended buyer/tenant does not meet the eligibility criteria to rent or purchase a council-owned property.

Conclusion:

The above discussion has highlighted different ways through which one can attain information regarding the ownership of a property. However, the amount of information available and its authenticity will primarily depend on whether or not the property is registered or not; with information regarding the former being easier to access as compared to the latter.

References:

Get information about property and land: Overview – GOV.UK

Search for land and property information – GOV.UK

How to Find Out Who Owns a Property | Land Registry Search