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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Enforcement action: county court proceedings: charging orders: establishing title to a property


Before a court will place a charge on a judgment debtor’s property, you must prove that the judgment debtor has a beneficial interest in it. The best and most acceptable way to do this is to produce a copy extract from the Land Registry Portal giving a precise description of the property to be attached and naming the judgment debtor as an owner. All land in England and Wales is now subject to compulsory registration.

More details on the portal, and how to obtain access, can be found on the Land and Mapping Information page.


To search for property registered on the Land Register using the address of the property it is important to have the correct postcode.

In some cases, for example in rural areas, you may need more details so that the property can be located.

Property registered

Where the property is registered, the Land Registry will send you an ‘Office copy of register entries’ showing a full description and details of ‘proprietors’ which you can produce as evidence of ownership. If the judgment debtor’s name is included in part B: ‘Proprietorship Register’, they have a beneficial interest in the property, which can be charged. Existing charges will be listed in part C; ‘Charges Register’ and existing cautions and restrictions in part B.

It is important to take note of these because:

  • you will have to name the other chargors in your application
  • charges, cautions and restrictions are satisfied in chronological order.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

Property unregistered

If a property is unregistered and therefore not viewable on the portal, you need to submit a ‘SIM Search’ (Search of the Index Map). There is a charge for SIM searching.

If you get a ‘nil’ result while searching, the portal should give you the option to submit a SIM search electronically.

The charges for SIM searching where:

  • no, or no more than five, registered Titles are disclosed is £4
  • more than five registered Titles are disclosed:
    • for the first five Titles is £4
    • for every ten, or up to ten, Titles after the first five is £2.

All charges are dealt with centrally.

Search successful

If the judgment debtor’s name is shown against the address of the property, you can continue with your application for a charging order.

Search unsuccessful

If the search is unsuccessful, seek advice from the EIS Bradford CCP Technical Team.