Housing – guidance

Sell bona vacantia land using a mortgagee's power of sale (BVC6)

Notify the Treasury Solicitor of a sale by a mortgagee of bona vacantia land.

Overview

The Bona Vacantia division (BVD) of the Government Legal Department deals with land and buildings that belonged to a dissolved company and now belong to the Crown.

If a mortgagee of bona vacantia property has a legal power of sale, BVD will not usually object to the sale of the property.

BVD does not need to be told about a sale in advance.

BVD only need to be contacted when there is a surplus from the proceeds of the sale which belongs to the Crown and which should be sent to BVD.

BVD’s role is not to assist with a sale by a mortgagee where the Crown has no obvious financial interest. In particular BVD should not be made a party to any proceedings for possession of the land prior to exercising a power of sale.

Notify the Treasury Solicitor of a sale by a mortgagee

Complete the following:

  1. check that BVD is the correct office by reading BVC1 on jurisdiction
  2. write to BVD at

Bona Vacantia - Companies

Government Legal Department
PO Box 70165

London
WC1A 9HG

Please use this email address for all enquiries relating to the non cash assets of dissolved companies (eg, land, shares, intellectual property, chattels, etc).

You must include:

  • the name, company number and last registered office of the company that owned the land. You can get this information from Companies House
  • official copy entries and a title plan from the Land Registry for the land subject to the mortgage. You can get this information from the Land Registry
  • a copy of the mortgage deed and a copy of the transfer under which your power of sale was exercised
  • a completion statement showing the gross proceeds of sale, costs of sale deducted, mortgage balance repaid and the net proceeds of sale

Please answer all of these questions and send all the documents requested as BVD will not normally be able to progress your case without all of this information.

Please send your application either by post/DX or email but not both. Please do not send multiple copies.

What happens next

BVD will check that the evidence you have provided shows that the dissolved company owned the land. If they are not satisfied with the evidence provided they may ask you to make further enquiries.

If BVD agree that the land was bona vacantia and are content with your completion statement they will provide instructions about where to send any surplus.

BVD will always expect that the sale of the land was not at an undervalue and that the mortgagee acted in good faith. If the land was sold at an undervalue BVD may take legal proceedings to protect the Crown’s position.

If you do tell BVD about land before a sale BVD may decide to disclaim the Crown’s interest in the land including without prior notice to you.