Registering your land
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How and when to register your land with the Rural Payments Agency or Land Registry.
There are 2 types of land registers - the Rural Land Register (RLR) and Land Registry. Land Registry is a governmental department that records all land and property ownership, boundaries between different owners and legalities if there is a change to ownership, including records of sales and mortgages of registered land. It guarantees titles to registered estates and interests in land. It also oversees the Home Information Packs, early completions and training resources and qualifications.
The RLR is managed by the Rural Payments Agency and is not connected to Land Registry. It only registers land that is farmed or has some environmental value that is relevant to land-based subsidy schemes. The RLR also has different rules about what constitutes a boundary. You can use an authorised agricultural agent or intermediary to register your land on your behalf.
This guide discusses the RLR and Land Registry, and why you or your agent should register your land with each. It also deals with various environmental and farming payment schemes, such as the Single Payment Scheme (SPS).
Officially known under the Land Registration Act 2002 as Her Majesty’s Land Registry, Land Registry was established in 1862. Land Registry is responsible for publicly recording interests in registered land in England and Wales and reports to the Ministry of Justice. It is now an executive agency.
Registering your land with Land Registry has a number of benefits, including:
- only having to register your land with Land Registry once, and voluntary registration - cost varies according to scale (eg £30 for land worth up to £50,000 and £525 for land worth over £1 million) and you will receive a 25 per cent discount if you are a first-time registrant
- all of your land and property being registered together with Land Registry - it will stay in one central place
- dealing with the legality and rights of the land and providing you with a state guarantee of ownership - this guarantee does not apply to tenant farmers
- protecting your land from encroachment
- helping you to identify all of your landholdings, simplify your title(s) and computerise your records - so management is easier
- providing easy access to landowner details when selling your land or if someone should make a claim on the property
Most buyers will expect land to be registered with Land Registry before purchasing.
If you or your agent has lost your ownership deeds or has difficulties proving your title, you may still be able to register your land.
Registering your land with Land Registry can give you greater certainty and security about what you own, particularly in the event of land disputes. Once you register your land, you have the title to it guaranteed by the state, making buying and selling easier.
The Rural Land Register
The Rural Land Register (RLR) is run by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), and is a database of digital maps that show agricultural, woodland and marginal land on which subsidy payments are based. It also records freehold and leasehold properties where the lease has been approved for a term of over seven years. The RLR collects different information about the land from Land Registry and the method by which the maps are produced is also different from Land Registry. The RLR also measures land boundaries.
The RLR was developed to modernise and simplify land-based schemes. It also meets EU regulations that require the use of an electronic geographic information system.
If your land is already registered with Land Registry, you or your agent still needs to register it with the RLR. You only need to register the land that you carry out agricultural activities on with the RPA. Therefore, if you want to claim for the SPS, Environmental Stewardship schemes, or the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) (from 1 April 2008 only), you need to register your land with the RLR. This needs to be done whenever anything changes with your existing registered land.
If you are a landlord with a tenant or grazier, the land can only be registered once on the RLR. However, under some circumstances it is possible for two people to claim under two different schemes on te same area of land.
Payment schemes and the Rural Land Register
You or your agent must register your land on the RLR in order to qualify for most payment schemes.
It is recommended that you register your land before applying for the SPS. However, you can still submit your SPS claim as long as you submit a map with your claim form. RLR maps are usually produced on a scale of 1:5,000 and are printed on A3 paper in colour. Each of your fields should appear in their entirety on a map.
If you don’t know the size of your land, you or your agent can submit an RLE1 form before your SPS claim. This will enable you to put the correct land size on your SPS claim form and to be paid the correct amount.
You can also see the guide on the SPS.
Only land that is recorded on the RLR can be entered into any of the three Environmental Stewardship schemes. For more information, see the guide on Environmental Stewardship: the basics.
All land must be registered with the RLR in order to qualify for the EWGS. For more information, see the guides on trees and woodland and on the Farm Environment Plan (FEP).
Rural Payments Agency: how to register your land
In order to qualify for the various subsidy payment schemes, you will need to register your land with the RPA whenever anything changes with your existing registered land. An authorised agent can also register your land on your behalf.
To register your land with the RLR, you or your agent should contact the RPA Helpline on 0345 603 7777. Alternatively you can print the form from the RPA website. You will need your Single Business Identifier (SBI) when you call. The SBI is the number that identifies your ‘business’ and is provided by the RPA. If you don’t already have an SBI, you should contact the RPA to obtain one.
You or your agent will be asked specific questions about your land. These will be transferred to an RLE1 application form and sent to you or your agent - who can submit the form on your behalf. If you are unable to answer any of the questions, you or your agent can call the RPA Helpline on Tel 0345 603 7777.
The first time your land is registered, the RPA will send you a complete set of coloured A3 maps. After that, you will receive new maps for any additional land you register or updated maps for any land parcels that have changed.
Rural Land and Entitlements (RLE1) form
The RLE1 form is used to notify the RPA of entitlement or land transfers. It also allows you or your agent to register new land or make permanent boundary changes to your existing registered land.
For example, if you are intending to apply to the SPS, you will first have to register your land on the RLR. To do this, you or your agent needs to request form RLE1 by calling the RPA Customer Service Centre on Tel 0345 603 7777. Alternatively you can print the form from the RPA website.
If an agent is authorised by means of an agent/partnership authorisation form (SP9) or customer registration form (CReg01), they can submit a form on your behalf. Your transfer request may be rejected if your RLE1 form is signed by an agent who is not authorised to submit scheme documents on your behalf. If the agent is not already authorised, you will need to complete and send an SP9 with the RLE1.
To register your land, you or your agent should contact the RPA Helpline on Tel 0345 603 7777. You will need your SBI when you call. You’ll be asked specific questions about your land.
If you’re transferring entitlements or land, you will need the following information when you make your call:
- the SBI of the farmer transferring entitlements out of their business
- the number of land parcels being transferred
- the SBI of the farmer transferring entitlements into their business
- your RPA Personal Identifier (PI)
The SBI is for your business as a whole and the PI is a personal number for you. For example, if there is more than one person running the farm, then each of you will have a PI number that you will need to provide when you ring up.
When you receive your RLE1, it will most likely be pre-populated with the details you provided during your phone call. If you need help, you can call the RPA Helpline on Tel 0345 603 7777.
Registering your land: additional resources
Further information on registering your land is available in other guides on this website, and from a number of organisations.
The RPA is responsible for licences and schemes for growers as well as for running the SPS. For more information about SPS and how it can help your farming business, you can call the RPA Helpline on Tel 0345 603 7777.
You can also read the guide on the SPS.
Land Registry is the executive agency responsible for publicly recording interests in registered land in England and Wales and reports to the Ministry of Justice. You can call Land Registry (registering unregistered land) Advice Line on Tel 0800 432 0432.
One of the major roles of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is to help the farming industry operate as efficiently as possible. Defra administers European support policies that provide around £3 billion to UK agriculture. They also oversee a number of agencies that work with farmers, imports and exports of crops and implement pest and disease controls. You can call the Defra Helpline on Tel 08459 33 55 77.
In England, the Farm Advisory System advises farmers about cross compliance. For further information, call the Cross Compliance Helpline on Tel 0845 345 1302. Alternatively, find information on cross compliance requirement on the Cross Compliance website.
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) are one of the membership groups who represent the farmers and growers of England and Wales. It aims to promote successful and socially responsible agriculture and horticulture, while ensuring the long-term viability of rural communities.
As a farmer you are likely to come into contact with local authorities over a number of farming, land use, food standards and environmental regulations. Your local authority may also be able to provide further information or resources. Find contact details for your local authority through the Contacts Directory.
0345 603 7777
Land Registry (registering unregistered land) Advice Line
0800 432 0432