Manorial rights were formally an ‘overriding interest’ in land until the law in this area was changed by the Land Registration Act 2002. This meant that these rights continued to affect property even if they were not shown on the title register. However, as of 13 October 2013, the ‘overriding status’ of these rights were removed. The Government’s intention with the Land Registration Act 2002 was to ensure that all matters affecting property are apparent from inspection of its title register. Therefore, owners of Manorial Rights now need to register their interest against the title to a property, usually by way of a Unilateral Notice (or a caution against first registration of unregistered land). Such a notice protects the rights from having lost their “overriding status”. Such notices can still be registered against property titles, unless the property in question has been sold since 13 October 2013. It is not possible to register such an interest against any property sold after this date.

Manorial rights are rights that the lord of the manor could exercise over ‘copyhold’ land. (Copyhold land was a form of ownership of land within a manor, subject to the superior title of the lord of the manor.) These rights include sporting rights (such as hunting), market and fair rights and the ownership of the minerals within the land. When copyhold land was converted into freehold land, these rights were reserved to the lord of the manor.

In respect of the legal position for mines and minerals, the lord of the manor still owns the minerals beneath the ground, however they would require the land owner’s permission to enter the land in order to mine for these minerals. This is also the position with many north east properties where the title to the property simply states that the mines and minerals are excluded from the title to the property. In this instance the mines and minerals are most likely owned by the Coal Authority, although they would require your consent to enter your property to mine for any minerals.

With regard to market and fair rights, these confer an exclusive jurisdiction in which fairs and markets can be held. This does not, however, allow the lord of the manor to hold a market on your property where even where such rights have been registered.

With regard to sporting rights, as with mines and minerals, the lord of the manor would require access to your property in order to exercise these rights, however, such rights cannot be lawfully exercised within a residential area.

Consequently, if you are purchasing a property and there is a Unilateral Notice registered in respect of Manorial Rights, it would be incredibly difficult and highly unlikely that these rights could actually be exercised over the property. There is no evidence to suggest that such a notice will have any effect on the saleability or value of a property. We have also recently acted in the purchase of a property with such a notice registered against the property and our client’s lender was happy to proceed once we had fully explained the legal consequences to them.

For more information relating to the above please contact Liam Bradshaw on 0191 261 0096 or by email at liam.bradshaw@markswattsmorse.co.uk.