It’s land deeds, not words, that count

Did you know that you can inspect and print the deeds to your farm online? Well you can and it only costs €5.

And not only that you can get a brand new official certified copy of the title to your farm with the latest digital Ordnance Survey Map attached showing your farm for only €40.  And if you are thinking of buying land you can look up and order copies of the title and maps for that land also.

It can all be done on the Landdirect.ie website operated by the Property Registration Authority.

Now you won’t actually see your ‘deeds’ as such. What you will see is the land register for your farm called a ‘folio’ with an associated Land Registry  map.

What then is a Folio? The land in each county in Ireland is subdivided into ‘Folios’ for each individual ownership. Every property registered has a unique distinguishing number called the folio number and you can find your folio number through online inspection of the Land Registry map.

The Land Registry map on Landdirect.ie can be inspected free of charge.

Each folio is divided into three parts.

Part one of a folio provides a description of the property the ownership of which is registered, with a reference to the plan on the Land Registry map of the land affected. In the case of agricultural land, the description will identify the relevant townland and barony in which the property is located together with the area (if known).  It will contain a description of any part of the property, which is transferred and will also contain a reference to any rights of way or wayleaves that are attached to and benefit the land. These will be also marked on the Land Registry map. It will contain a note as the inclusion of mines and minerals in, or their exclusion from the property, and a note as the non conclusiveness or otherwise of the boundaries and extent of the land.

Part two of a folio describes the owner of a folio, ie name and description of the registered owner and his/her address in the State.  It will indicate in the case of freehold agricultural land whether the title is absolute or qualified or possessory. The title to agricultural freehold land is usually Absolute, titles Qualified or Possessory indicate that other persons may have an interest in the land.  Part 11 will also indicate if there are any restrictions registered affecting the owner’s right to deal with the land.

Part three of a folio contains the matters with effect or ‘burden’ the land, which must, in order to affect a purchaser of registered land, be registered. They include interests such as mortgages, leases, rights of way and so on.

It is important when inspecting the Land Registry Map to read the map in conjunction with the relevant Folio and to understand the significance of the various legends and symbols appearing on the map.

The boundaries of agricultural freehold land will appear outlined in red. Rights of way and way-leaves appear coloured yellow. Areas affected by turbary rights are colored in brown and pipelines are indicated by a thin blue line.

The Land Registry map is not usually conclusive as to boundaries or extent and a note to that effect generally appears on the register. All this means is that in the case of a boundary dispute evidence other than the folio or registry map is admissible to determine the correct boundary and extent of the land.

To finish on a note of caution. What is detailed above is a very basic guide to the land registry folio and title map. Do not deal with your land without taking legal advice. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. At the same time there is nothing too wrong about knowing a little about the basics.

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John Deeney is a barrister and former Deputy Registrar of Titles in the Property Registration Authority. He now provides Land Registration Consultancy Services.

Next week he will have a column on: “My Land Registry map has left out a field of my farm. What can I do?”