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Where Are You?

It is difficult to remember to inform every one of your new address when you move house, but the importance of updating Land Registry entries has been highlighted by the Court of Appeal in a recent decision.

In Oldham MBC v Tanna the Council wanted to serve a planning notice on Mr Tanna relating to an unoccupied and run down former nursing home that he owned. The Court of Appeal succinctly highlighted the importance of the notice – “If validly served the notice paved the way for Oldham to demolish the property and to recover the cost of doing so from Mr Tanna.” The Council’s planning officer made admirable attempts to serve the notice on Mr Tanna at the former nursing home, at the address that Mr Tanna had given on the Land Registry entries for the property and at another address that the Council’s credit control department had for him, but Mr Tanna did not receive the notices as he had moved house. The officer didn’t know that another Council department had been communicating with Mr Tanna by email. Had he enquired, then the notice could have been served by email. The Court had to decide whether the officer should have made enquiries of all of the Council’s departments.

The Court of Appeal in this case was concerned with service of a particular type of notice but found that in the absence of a statutory requirement to the contrary, the general rule is that the obligation of the person serving the notice goes no further than to search the Land Registry proprietorship register for the property. It is the responsibility of the registered proprietor to keep his address up to date, although if the person serving the notice has been given a more up to date address then the notice should be served at that address also.

This case highlights the sometimes severe consequences of forgetting to inform the Land Registry of a new address.

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