Guidance

Overseas Companies free dataset: data specification

Published 17 March 2016

1. Overview

This dataset is a list of freehold or leasehold title registrations, covering England and Wales, where the registered legal owner is a company incorporated outside of the UK (ie an overseas company).

Titles registered by private individuals, UK companies with an overseas address and charities are excluded for data protection and fraud prevention purposes.

2. Specification scope

2.1 Inclusions and exclusions

We register legal estates, or ownership, and legal interests (legal rights or restrictions). Overseas Companies data describes registered legal estates relating to land or property where the registered legal owner is a company that is incorporated outside of the UK (ie an overseas company).

The data includes titles registered by the following owner types:

  • corporate bodies
  • limited companies
  • public limited companies
  • unlimited companies
  • limited liability partnerships

The dataset excludes titles registered by the following owner types:

  • private individuals
  • UK companies with an overseas address
  • charities

If an excluded owner type is the sole owner, all the details (eg address, name and correspondence address, tenure, title) will be excluded from the dataset.

If a registered title is owned by both included and excluded owner types, the excluded owner details will be removed from the name, proprietorship and correspondence address columns.

Example

When a property is owned by a limited company and private individuals, we will supply the details of the property address, tenure, title and the name and correspondence address for the limited company, but will remove all reference to the private individuals. An indicator will be displayed to highlight there are other proprietors.

Email addresses and British Forces Post Office addresses have been removed from the correspondence address records. These are considered private and personal.

2.2 Relationship to other HM Land Registry data products

The dataset is aligned in content, download and usage options with our Commercial and Corporate Ownership data which contains more than 3.2 million records of titles registered to a UK commercial organisation or corporate body.

3. Data product identification

3.1 Purpose

HM Land Registry is mandated to record the country of incorporation for all titles registered by non-UK registered companies.

4. Data content and structure

4.1 Table 1: class diagram

Overseas Companies
Title_Number
Tenure
Property_Address
Price_Paid
District
County
Region
Postcode
Proprietor_Name_1
Company_Registration_No_1
Proprietorship_1
Country_Incorporated_1
Proprietor_1_Address_1
Proprietor_1_Address_2
Proprietor_1_Address_3
Proprietor_Name_2
Company_Registration_No_2
Proprietorship_2
Country_Incorporated_2
Proprietor_2_Address_1
Proprietor_2_Address_2
Proprietor_2_Address_3
Proprietor_Name_3
Company_Registration_No_3
Proprietorship_3
Country_Incorporated_3
Proprietor_3_Address_1
Proprietor_3_Address_2
Proprietor_3_Address_3
Proprietor_Name_4
Company_Registration_No_4
Proprietorship_4
Company Registration No. (4)
Country_Incorporated_4
Proprietor_4_Address_1
Proprietor_4_Address_2
Proprietor_4_Address_3
Date_Proprietor_Added
Additional_Proprietor_Indicator
Multiple_Address_Indicator

4.2 Table 2: Overseas Companies Table Structure

Field Name Data Type Mandatory? Description
Title number String Yes Number which uniquely identifies a registered title to land or a caution against first registration
Tenure String No Freehold or Leasehold
Property Address String No The unformatted address on the register
Price Paid String No The sale price stated on the transfer deed
District String No District name. Name of an administrative district created since local government reorganisation 1974. Administrative district also covers the London boroughs, unitary authorities and (for HMLand Registry’s purposes) the Isles Of Scilly Parishes
County String No County. Name of current County in England and Wales.
Region String No Region name. Name of a geographic region which comprises one or more current counties, former counties or unitary authorities or any combination of these. On HQ instructions, the names and extents of the regions are the economic planning regions used by various bodies. N.B. region names allocated by the Office for National Statistics differ in some instances from names in this field.
Postcode String No Postcode. Code which is a combination of up to 7 letters and numbers (plus one embedded blank), which defines different levels of geographic units. It is part of a coding system created and used by the post office across the UK, to facilitate the mail service.
Proprietor name (1) String No Non-Private Individual Name. Name of a company, corporate body, local authority or other organisation or establishment other than that of a private individual.
Company Registration No. (1) String No Company Registration Number. Number which is a unique identifier assigned to a company when it is registered at Companies’ House. Although the name of the company may change, the company registration number will remain the same.
Proprietorship (1) String No Name category description. Text which describes the category in which a name falls.
Country Incorporated (1) String No The name of the country where the company/territory is incorporated.
Proprietor (1) address (1) String No Register address string. Text which is the address (including the postcode) either of a property or a registered proprietor, in the form in which it appears as the property description on the register. The text will include any commas but exclude any final punctuation marks (e.g. full stops) and any Index of Proprietors Names (IOPN) delimiters.
Proprietor (1) address (2) String No Register address string. Text which is the address (including the postcode) either of a property or a registered proprietor, in the form in which it appears as the property description on the register. The text will include any commas but exclude any final punctuation marks (e.g. full stops) and any IOPN delimiters.
Proprietor (1) address (3) String No Register address string. Text which is the address (including the postcode) either of a property or a registered proprietor, in the form in which it appears as the property description on the register. The text will include any commas but exclude any final punctuation marks (e.g. full stops) and any IOPN delimiters.
Proprietor name (2) String No Non-Private Individual Name. Name of a company, corporate body, local authority or other organisation or establishment other than that of a private individual.
Company Registration No. (2) String No Company Registration Number. Number which is a unique identifier assigned to a company when it is registered at Companies’ House. Although the name of the company may change, the company registration number will remain the same.
Proprietorship 2 String No Name category description. Text which describes the category in which a name falls.
Country Incorporated (2) String No The name of the country where the company/territory is incorporated.
Proprietor (2) address (1) String No Register address string. Text which is the address (including the postcode) either of a property or a registered proprietor, in the form in which it appears as the property description on the register. The text will include any commas but exclude any final punctuation marks (e.g. full stops) and any IOPN delimiters.
Proprietor (2) address (2) String No Register address string. Text which is the address (including the postcode) either of a property or a registered proprietor, in the form in which it appears as the property description on the register. The text will include any commas but exclude any final punctuation marks (e.g. full stops) and any IOPN delimiters.
Proprietor (2) address (3) String No Register address string. Text which is the address (including the postcode) either of a property or a registered proprietor, in the form in which it appears as the property description on the register. The text will include any commas but exclude any final punctuation marks (e.g. full stops) and any IOPN delimiters.
Proprietor name (3) String No Non-Private Individual Name. Name of a company, corporate body, local authority or other organisation or establishment other than that of a private individual.
Company Registration No. (3) String No Company Registration Number. Number which is a unique identifier assigned to a company when it is registered at Companies’ House. Although the name of the company may change, the company registration number will remain the same.
Proprietorship 3 String No Name category description. Text which describes the category in which a name falls.
Country Incorporated (3) String No The name of the country where the company/territory is incorporated.
Proprietor (3) address (1) String No Register address string. Text which is the address (including the postcode) either of a property or a registered proprietor, in the form in which it appears as the property description on the register. The text will include any commas but exclude any final punctuation marks (e.g. full stops) and any IOPN delimiters.
Proprietor (3) address (2) String No Register address string. Text which is the address (including the postcode) either of a property or a registered proprietor, in the form in which it appears as the property description on the register. The text will include any commas but exclude any final punctuation marks (e.g. full stops) and any IOPN delimiters.
Proprietor (3) address (3) String No Register address string. Text which is the address (including the postcode) either of a property or a registered proprietor, in the form in which it appears as the property description on the register. The text will include any commas but exclude any final punctuation marks (e.g. full stops) and any IOPN delimiters.
Proprietor name (4) String No Non- Private Individual Name. Name of a company, corporate body, local authority or other organisation or establishment other than that of a private individual.
Company Registration No. (4) String No Company Registration Number. Number which is a unique identifier assigned to a company when it is registered at Companies’ House. Although the name of the company may change, the company registration number will remain the same.
Proprietorship 4 String No Name category description. Text which describes the category in which a name falls.
Country Incorporated (4) String No The name of the country where the company/territory is incorporated.
Proprietor (4) address (1) String No Register address string. Text which is the address (including the postcode) either of a property or a registered proprietor, in the form in which it appears as the property description on the register. The text will include any commas but exclude any final punctuation marks (e.g. full stops) and any IOPN delimiters.
Proprietor (4) address (2) String No Register address string. Text which is the address (including the postcode) either of a property or a registered proprietor, in the form in which it appears as the property description on the register. The text will include any commas but exclude any final punctuation marks (e.g. full stops) and any IOPN delimiters.
Proprietor (4) address (3) String No Register address string. Text which is the address (including the postcode) either of a property or a registered proprietor, in the form in which it appears as the property description on the register. The text will include any commas but exclude any final punctuation marks (e.g. full stops) and any IOPN delimiters.
Date Proprietor added Date Yes The date a proprietor was added to the register
Additional Proprietor Indicator Character No Indicates if there are other proprietors on the register which are not overseas companies
Multiple Address Indicator Character No Indicates the title has more than one address.

4.3 Table 3: tenure code list

Number Tenure Description
1 Freehold Freehold estates are held for an infinite duration
2 Leasehold Leasehold estates have a fixed or maximum duration. Under the Land Registration Act 2002, only leases granted for a term of more than seven years are compulsorily registerable and are included in this data.

4.4 Table 4: proprietor code list

Number Proprietorship Description
1 Limited Company or Public Limited Company A company where the liability for debts is limited either by guarantee or by reference to the number of shares issued. The majority of companies are limited.
2 Corporate Body An organisation that has its own legal rights and responsibilities
3 Unlimited Company An unlimited company is a company with unlimited liability for its debts
4 Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) An LLP is a corporate body and has legal identity separate from that of its members. It can hold property in its own right and has unlimited powers to deal with estates.

5. Data quality

During more than 150 years of land registration, improvements to working practice may have caused some inconsistencies in the data:

  • only completed register entries are included. No pending applications (ie applications still being processed at HM Land Registry) or historic owners are are included
  • HM Land Registry did not routinely record the country of incorporation in the register before January 1999
  • the information provided regarding owners may not always reflect the position on the Register, as we have had to remove private individuals, overseas companies and charities
  • the source data is from citizens and conveyancers supplied on registration deeds and documents. There can often be inconsistency in the way addresses and names are supplied to HM Land Registry
  • there may be spelling errors names of the owners. This could be due to input error or the way the names were presented at the time of registration
  • detailed address information is provided wherever possible
  • the postcode will be derived from the registered property description if one hasn’t been registered then the postcode will be blank
  • the Registered on date is the date the proprietor was registered. If there is more than one proprietor on the register it will be the date the latest proprietor was added. This could mean it is not necessarily when the overseas company was registered, but another proprietor on the register whose details cannot be revealed
  • if there is a Y in the Multiple Address Indicator, this will indicate there is a Property Schedule for the title and no A1 register entry address is available. Within the Property Schedule there will more than likely be one address and if you would like to find out more about these addresses you can purchase an official copy of the register
  • for Price Paid there will only be a limited number of the titles that have an amount stated. These figures have been derived from the monthly Property Price Information (PPI) information based on the latest application

6. Data capture information

An overseas corporation will become owner of a registered property when land is transferred to it or leased under a registerable lease. The transfer or lease must be completed by registration, or, if the land is unregistered it will trigger first registration of the land.

An application for registration must be made using prescribed forms; this will be form AP1 for registered land or form FR1 for first registration. The form requires the applicant to state the territory of incorporation of the corporation and, if it has a registered number in England and Wales, the registration number and prefix. Other HM Land Registry forms, for example, transfer form TR1, also require the applicant to state the territory of incorporation of the corporation and, if it has a registered number in England and Wales, the registration number and prefix. When we enter the corporation in the register, HM Land Registry practice is to enter the territory of incorporation and any registration number. This has been the case since 1997.

In some countries, a corporation is registered in a particular state or province. In this case HM Land Registry enters both the state or province and the country. For example: #MONTBLANC HOLDINGS LIMITED# (incorporated in British Columbia, Canada).

7. Data maintenance

During a month, the data can change and can also change more than once. The data that is published will only show the latest change made.

8. Data product delivery

8.1 Access the dataset

The Overseas Companies dataset is not released under the Open Government Licence. To download the data, you must provide some information about yourself and accept the terms and conditions.

We collect and hold personal and non-personal information, which may be validated, to identify who has requested the data. For more information about how we handle personal data, see our personal information charter.

If you need support to access the data, contact the Business Development Fulfilment Team for further guidance.

8.2 File structure

The data is provided as a CSV file.The format of each file will conform to the following:

  • the character used to delimit each field is a comma: ‘,’ (ASCII 44)
  • all fields will be enclosed within double-quote’s “ “ (ASCII 34)
  • when a field is NULL, it will be transmitted as no character between double quotes, i.e. ,” “,
  • date fields will be provided in the format DD-MM-YYYY For example the date; the fourteenth of December twenty thirteen would be represented as 14-12-2013
  • the file will use UTF-8 and ASCII encoding
  • steps will be taken to remove carriage return and line feeds from the data
  • the column heading name will be the first row of the file

The file names will be structured as below.

OV_<1><2><3>.csv

<1>File Type. FULL denotes Full monthly extract, COU denotes Monthly COU

<2>Year of file creation (format yyyy).

<3>Month of file creation (format MM).

The following are examples for the two types of file:

OV_FULL_2015_8.csv

OV_COU_2015_8.csv

9. Contact

Business Development Fulfilment Team