Unilateral notice in property law – what is it and when does it apply ? - PropertyBlawg

Unilateral notice in property law – what is it and when does it apply ?

by evolvedlegal on July 19, 2012

A unilateral notice can be most commonly found in the charges register of the property if it is registered. This notice is a charge used to register any interest which a third party may have in a particular property or estate, and notify the other party of its existence. A third party to a property is defined as any person other than the owner. This may include banks, loan companies, credit cards and other private individuals.

The Implications of a Unilateral Notice

However, unilateral notices have a very minimal effect; this is because the unilateral charge on the charges register protects only the most important interest in any property which is ranked by the most important being first registered as a notice.

Thus, it is determined by the date at which the notice is registered. For example, if a notice is entered one day prior to another notice, this first notice has priority, regardless of any value or monetary difference between the two interests.

It is important to note that although a unilateral interest flags up the existence of the third party interest, it does not mean that this interest is either valid or still in existence.

When unilateral notices are registered, the land registry does not have any method of acquiring any form of consent from the proprietor, there is no system of checking the validity of the claim either, thus these notices do not have any control measures. Therefore, any individual could place a unilateral notice on any charges register of an estate.

Removal of a Unilateral Notice

Although these notices are relatively easy to enter on the charges register by an individual, these unilateral notices are also simple to remove. The removal of a unilateral notice from the charges register of a property can be done by either cancellation or removal. The only difference between removal and cancellation is the person who applies and which form is used by the individual.

Cancellation of a unilateral notice is when the owner of the estate of which the unilateral charge is registered against applies to the Land Registry for the notice to be cancelled. This is a completely free process and can be done through the use of the form UN4 to apply for cancellation. When the Land Registry receives the UN4 form, it notifies the individual who is making the claim. This beneficiary is then given fifteen working days to respond to the application, if they would like to object to it. If there is no response within the cancellation period, the notice is cancelled. If there is an objection for removal of the notice, and the parties are unable to reach a mutual agreement, the Adjudicator of the Land Registry is referred for these cases.

In contract to cancellation, removal is only able to be done by the beneficiary of the notice. This is also free to do and has to be applied for through the Land Registry with the form UN2.

It seems that any individual is able to register a unilateral notice against any property. However, the effect of the notice is minimal in practise. If an individual wishes, the unilateral notice can be either cancelled by the proprietor of the property, or removed by the beneficial owner. Further information relating to unilateral notices can be found in the Land registry practice guide 19 (October 2005).

For more information or help on these types of technical notices and the implications of them, property solicitors can assist. Darlingtons Solicitors, who authored this post,  provide specialist advice on all aspects of property law, whether lease law, extending a lease or conveyancing services generally.

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