Usually the Land Registry definitively states who owns a particular property. The majority of Land in the UK has been registered, though there is still land that is unregistered. Other interests in land can also be registered such as mortgages and leases.
All properties have both a legal and equitable ownership. It is possible to have the legal ownership in one persons name and the equitable interest in another name. The legal interest being whose a name is registered as the owner. The equitable ownership being a reflection of the monetary value of the property. These ownerships reflect the 2 different legal systems that existed in England and Wales prior to 1875;the Common Law Court and the Courts of Equity
The common law was often harsh and was based on if the legal requirement had been complied with. In equity, a judge determines what is fair and just. So for instance where all the requirements for a legal mortgage have not been met, then an equitable mortgage may be found.
Some issues that normally arise in Property Law are associated with:
- Who owns the property. A beneficial interest in property can be obtained by not merely being by named on the title, but also by making contributions to the purchase price, the mortgage payments or even by carrying out substantive works on the property.
- The extent of the land. Neighbours arguing that a part of their land has been encroached upon.
- Rights associated with the land and the way they come about. Such as the right to walk along a path on another’s land.
- The agreement between a Landlord and Tenants and rights associated with the lease.