Conversion of Title

  1. General
  2. Application for conversion of title under Rule 32 of the Land Registration Rules 2012
  3. Application for conversion of title under Rule 33 of the Land Registration Rules 2012
  4. Conversion of title under section 50(3)(a) of the Registration of Title Act 1964
  5. Conversion of title under section 50(3)(b) of the Registration of Title Act 1964
  6. Other applications for conversion of title of property registered under the Land Purchase Acts
  7. Conversion of Possessory Title into Absolute Freehold or Good Leasehold of property not purchased under the Land Purchase Acts
  8. Conversion of Title of part of Lands on a Folio
  9. Conversion of qualified title

1. General

Property purchased by tenant farmers under the Land Purchase Acts was compulsorily registerable on the freehold register by virtue of section 23 of the Registration of Title Act 1891.

The Land Commission vested the property in the tenant farmer by means of a conveyance, vesting order or fiated purchase agreement. Application for registration was made by the Land Commission.

The prior title of the tenant farmer was not investigated and so the freehold was vested in the ostensible tenant as a graft on his previous tenancy or other interest. To give effect thereto s/he was registered under section 29 of the 1891 Act ” subject to equities” in order to preserve the interest of any other person who had a title or right to the property.

Under section 35 of the Registration of Title Act 1964, ownership of property that was subject to equities on the 1st January 1967 is deemed to be a “possessory” title. Under the 1964 Act a note that the title is possessory is now entered on the register instead of the note that the title was subject to equities. However, the effect of the notes is the same. Section 38 of the Registration of Title Act 1964 refers.

The register is conclusive evidence of the title of the owner from the date of the vesting order, conveyance or fiated agreement under the Land Purchase Acts, but is not conclusive as to the pre-registration title to the tenancy.

There are three classes of title which relate to freehold, namely absolute, possessory, and qualified. Applications for conversion of title are provided for in section 50 of the Registration of Title Act 1964 and Rules 32 to 39 of the Land Registration Rules 2012, and are usually applications to convert possessory titles to absolute. However, provision is also made for conversion of “qualified” titles.

2. Application for conversion of registered title of property purchased under the Land Purchase Acts where the title registered is possessory or deemed to be possessory and the ownership of the land has been registered for 30 years (Rule 32, 2012 Rules)

Such applications shall be processed in the Dealing Section. The Settling Officer should check the imaged folio to ensure that, if the paper folio was in ancient form, that there are no instruments noted opposite the equity note. It should also be verified that the equity note or possessory title arises from a vesting under the Land Purchase Acts. Generally, any Instruments that are noted opposite the equity note or the title possessory note, should be inspected and a direction sought, if necessary.

The Title Type for the relevant property should be amended in ITRIS under the Part 1 Manage Property tab. The entry of the conversion of title shall be entered on Part 2 of the folio. It should be selected from the drop down list in the Manage Part 2 tab. The date of registration of the conversion of title is the date of settling.

In no case is a Purchase Agreement, rental or other document pertaining to the pre-registration Land Commission proceedings to be requisitioned from the Land Commission Records Branch of the Department of Agriculture Food and Marine.

The Settling Officer in examining the case shall pay particular attention to the registered entries on the folio.

These may disclose a claim adverse to the title of the applicant.

Lites Pendentes, Cautions, Inhibitions and Instruments, noted opposite the equity note are particularly relevant in this regard.

Where an adverse claim is disclosed or where there are pre-registration documents of title such as wills or deeds lodged, the Settling Officer may obtain a direction from the Divisional Manager. Copy Land Commission documents such as Fair Rent Orders or Purchase Agreements are not to be regarded as documents of title for this purpose.

In the case of some property purchased under the Land Purchase Acts a note of the possessory title has prior to 1967 been entered instead of an equity note. This was generally done where the property was vested prior to the Local Registration of Title Act, 1891, and no registration under that Act was applied for by the purchaser. The Land Commission or the Commissioners of Public Works subsequently procured registration by furnishing a certificate specifying the occupant under Rule 224 of the Land Registration Rules 1959 [S.I. No. 96 of 1959].

Such a note may be treated in the same manner as the former equity note.

3. Applications for Conversion of Registered Title of Property Purchased under the Land Purchase Acts where the title registered is possessory or deemed to be possessory and the applicant claims as or through a registered transferee for value who was registered 12 years prior to the date of the application (Rule 33 – 2012 Rules)

Such applications shall be processed in the Dealing Section. The Settling Officer shall associate the Instrument under which the transfer for value was registered. The Settling Officer also should check the imaged folio to ensure that, if the paper folio was in ancient form, that there are no instruments noted opposite the equity note. It should also be verified that the equity note or possessory title arises from a vesting under the Land Purchase Acts. Generally, any Instruments that are noted opposite the equity note or the title possessory note, should be inspected and a direction sought, if necessary.

The Settling Officer, in examining the case, shall pay particular attention to the registered entries on the folio. These may disclose a claim adverse to the title of the applicant. Lites Pendentes, Cautions, Inhibitions and Instruments noted opposite the former equity note/title possessory note are particularly relevant in this regard. A recital in the registered transfer for value of a deed or deeds which have not been lodged should be disregarded, unless the recitals disclose matters which appear inconsistent with the right of the Vendor in the said deed to convey the property with absolute title. Where an adverse claim is disclosed or in cases where there are pre-registration documents of title such as deeds or Wills lodged, the Settling Officer in the Dealing Section should obtain a direction from the Divisional Manager. Copy Land Commission documents such as Fair Rent Orders or Purchase Agreements are not to be regarded as documents of title for this purpose.

It is to be noted that valuable considerations for the purpose of the Rule include money, money’s worth and marriage. An onerous covenant may be valuable consideration (See Colreavy -v Colreavy 1940 I.R.p.71).
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4. Conversion of Registered Title of Property purchased under the Land Purchase Acts where the title registered is possessory or deemed to be possessory and the ownership of the land has been registered for 30 years (section 50(3)(a) of the 1964 Act)

In cases where the ownership of property purchased under the Land Purchase Acts has been registered for 30 years and the title registered is possessory or deemed to be possessory, then on lodgement of a transfer, charge for securing repayment of money by the registered owner or his personal representative, or transmission on death of such owner, the Settling Officer, subject to inspecting any Instrument which is noted opposite the equity note/title possessory, and ascertaining the effect (if any) of same, if satisfied, shall then settle the appropriate entry or entries for the transfer, charge or transmission and for the conversion of the title. In cases where a doubt arises the matter is to be referred to the Divisional Manager.

In no case is a Purchase Agreement rental or other document pertaining to the pre-registration Land Commission proceedings to be requisitioned from the Land Commission Records Branch of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine.

The Settling Officer, in examining the case, shall pay particular attention to the registered entries on the folio. These may disclose a claim adverse to the title of the applicant. Lites Pendentes, Cautions, Inhibitions, and Instruments, noted opposite the former equity note are particularly relevant in this regard. Where an adverse claim is disclosed, the Settling Officer is to complete the transfer, charge or transmission without converting the title. In case of doubt he shall submit the case to the Divisional Manager.

Section 50(3)(a) of the Act is to be regarded as applying whether or not the subject matter of the dealing is a partial estate or interest or is a part only of the folio property.

5. Conversion of Registered Title of Property purchased under the Land Purchase Acts where the title registered is possessory or deemed to be possessory and there is a transfer for value which has been registered for 12 years (section 50(3)(b) of the 1964 Act)

In cases where there is a transfer for value registered for more than 12 years, of property purchased under the Land Purchase Acts and the title registered is possessory or deemed to be possessory, then on lodgement of a transfer for valuable consideration or a charge for securing the repayment of money by the registered owner or his personal representative, subject as follows, the possessory title may be converted to absolute.

The Settling Officer shall examine the entries on the folio and where it appears that an entry on the folio was occasioned by a transfer for valuable consideration registered over 12 years, s/he shall inspect the Instrument to verify if it comes within the Section. The Settling Officer should also pay particular attention to the registered entries on the folio. These may disclose a claim adverse to the title of the applicant. Lites Pendentes, Cautions, Inhibitions and Instruments, noted opposite the title possessory note are particularly relevant in this regard. A recital in the registered transfer for value of a deed or deeds which have not been lodged should be disregarded unless the recital discloses matters which appear inconsistent with the right of the vendor in the said deed to convey the property with absolute title. Where an adverse claim is disclosed, the Settling Officer is to complete the transfer or charge without converting the title.

Section 50(3)(b) of the Act is to be regarded as applying whether or not the subject matter of the dealing is a partial estate or interest or is a part only of the folio property. The Settling Officer is not to put section 50(3)(c) into operation except on the direction of the Divisional Manager.

6. Other applications for Conversion of Registered Title of Property purchased under the Land Purchase Acts

Such applications shall be set up in the Dealing Sections and passed to an Examiner of Title for attention.

In dealing with applications for conversion of title pursuant to Rule 35 of Land registration Rules 2012, the exercise of discretion is encouraged to convert titles without further enquiry , or without requesting pre-registration Land Commission or other title documents where:

  1. The equity/possessory note is more than 20 years old
  2. The area of the property is less than 5 hectares and is in a rural area
  3. The value of the property does not appear to be significant
  4. An affidavit has been submitted as per the rules and does not disclose any interests or notice parties
  5. No subsisting interests pre-dating first registration are noted on the register

In the event that the application does not meet the criteria set out above, the following practice applies.

Any Instrument, which is noted opposite the possessory title note and any Instrument referred to in the application are to be associated.

An application which does not include all the documents of title listed in the Schedule of Documents is not to be set up and should be rejected for lodgement of the omitted documents.

An application under Rule 35 of the Land Registration Rules 2012, shall be made in LR Form 11 or Form 12 and LR Form 16 of the Land Registration Rules 2012 and should be accompanied by copies of the Land Commission pre-registration documents. If copies of the pre-registration Land Commission documents are not enclosed and more than 30 years have elapsed since first registration, careful consideration should be given before requisitioning same. In suitable cases conversion might proceed without such documentation.

If the title commences with a 1931 Land Act list showing a yearly tenancy , enquiries should be made concerning when and how such tenancy commenced as follows :-” is it known………….and who was in occupation at that time and since”. If the 1931 list shows a sole judicial tenant it is not necessary to call for a copy of the Tenancy Agreement or Order but we should ask who was then in occupation and since. Where the title commences with an exchange agreement the title to the exchanged plot must be shown.

Where the application is in respect of part only of a folio being a parcel or additional plot we should also call for a full investigation of the title to the parent holding if registered less than 30 years with a view to converting the title to the entire folio.

On receipt of an application the Examiner shall direct all the necessary searches and issue all the rulings subject to which s/he is prepared to convert the title, except in the occasional case in which preliminary rulings are necessary.

Rulings on Title and directions for searches should issue following examination of the title presented. Occasionally, preliminary rulings may be necessary. If the service or publication of notices is necessary, the rulings (if any) shall state that the conversion of the title is subject to the result of the service or publication of such notice.

Regarding searches: Rule 35 requires searches covering a period of 30 years prior to the date of lodgement of the application, or from the date of a disposition of the tenancy made note less than 15 years prior to the date of the application.

However, in applications for conversion where the property has been registered for 25 years or longer searches should generally not be requisitioned. The position may be different in cases where the application discloses pre registration acts that may be subsisting. Where registered property was acquired from the Land Commission in exchange for property registered with absolute title or is registered for more than 30 years (section 50(3)(a) of the Registration of Title Act 1964) and the acquired property has been registered with possessory title subject to the burdens carried over by virtue of the exchange, on an application being made for conversion of title in such cases (having ascertained that the first registered owner is registered in his/her correct capacity) conversion is to be carried out without enquiry unless it appears on the face of the application or folios that some burden or like entry does not appear on the register which should in fact appear. See Rule 26(2) of the Land Registration Rules 2012.

Where registered property has been given by the Land Commission in exchange for a registered holding no search should be made subsequent to the date of vesting of the registered holding.

Where a person entered into a purchase agreement with the Land Commission it should be assumed that such person had no interest in the property prior to the date of the purchase agreement unless the application discloses otherwise.

Accordingly in such cases where the title commences with a purchase agreement in respect of registered land, no searches generally need be made against the tenant(s).

Where it is averred in an application that the right of a person to a total or partial interest in property has been statute barred more than 12 years (i.e. the person is out of possession for 24 years) prior to the date of the application and that such person has been out of the jurisdiction of the State for more than 20 years prior to the date of the application, no notice should be served on such person or the persons entitled to his/her assets unless other averments or circumstances cast a reasonable doubt on the averment that the right is Statute Barred.

On the conversion of the title no person is to be registered as owner unless he is in possession of the property or the person in possession consents to his registration.

In applications where first registration was effected less than 5 years before the issue of the Rulings, a judgment search should be directed against any person or persons who were entitled to the property during the period commencing 5 years before the issue of the rulings and ending at the date of first registration. In cases where first registration of the property was effected more than 5 years prior to the date of application no judgment search should be directed.

In appropriate cases, in-house searches may be carried out in lieu of directing searches by the Solicitor.

Some Purchase Agreements have restrictive conditions embedded on them e.g. a condition prohibiting the building of a second dwellinghouse except with the consent of the Land Commission. In converting the title in such a case, the condition is to be ignored unless the condition is incorporated in the fiat endorsed on the Agreement.

On conversion of the title, Probate and Letters of Administration are to be returned. Certificates of Death and other evidence in verification of the title and all deeds and documents on title are to be retained unless a deed or document relates to property not the subject matter of the application in which case copies of such deeds or document should be retained. The necessary endorsement as provided by section 95 of the Act under Rule 154 of the Rules on any deed which is being returned.

All retained documents are to be filed on the application Instrument.

7. Conversion of Possessory Title into Absolute Freehold or Good Leasehold title where the property has not been purchased under the Land Purchase Acts

Such applications should be passed to the Examiners’ Cross Functional Team for attention.
These possessory titles are registered in First Registration applications. An applicant proves s/he is in possession of a freehold or a leasehold, but is unable to prove a title as would merit registration with absolute freehold or good leasehold.

Section 50(2) (a) of the Registration of Title Act 1964 and Rule 37(1) of the Land Registration Rules 2012 provides that an application for registration of a transfer for valuable consideration or other disposition for value (such as a charge for the repayment of money advanced) of such property registered with a possessory title shall be accompanied by all the documents of or relating to the title (including contracts, abstracts, counsel’s opinions, requisitions and replies) in the applicant’s possession or under his/her control, together with an affidavit of discovery in LR Form 14 of the Land Registration Rules 2012.

Such affidavit should set out the grounds on which the application for conversion of title is being brought. Section 50(2)(b) provides that the Authority may refuse or postpone the registration until all the required documentation has been submitted to the Registry. Where a transfer for value or other disposition for value is lodged affecting property which has not been purchased under the Land Purchase Acts and is registered with a possessory title, care is to be taken in the Dealing Section, not to register such transfer or other disposition for value, but rather to pass same to the Examiners’ Cross Functional Team.

Section 50(2)(c) of the Registration of Title Act 1964 and Rule 37(2) & (3) of the Land Registration Rules 2012 provides for the conversion of non Land Purchase Act registered possessory titles where the land has been registered for 15 years with a possessory title. The application will be grounded on affidavit in LR Form 15 of the Land Registration Rules 2012.

Again, such cases will be lodged with an application for registration of a transfer for valuable consideration or other disposition for value, and must be accompanied with all the documents relating to the title in the applicant’s possession. Such cases are to be set up in the Dealing Section and passed to the Examiners’ Cross Functional Team.

8. Conversion of title of part of lands on a folio

Where some lands on a folio qualify for automatic conversion to an absolute title under Parts 4 & 5 of this direction and other lands do not, the conversion of the title to absolute of any lands that qualify is to be effected, notwithstanding that there are other lands that do not so qualify.

9. Conversion of qualified title

Such applications should be passed to the Examiners’ Cross Functional Team for attention. Rule 39 refers to applications to convert qualified title:

‘An application to convert a qualified title into an absolute or good leasehold title shall be made in writing and shall be accompanied by evidence of the title of the registered owner to the estate or interest excepted in the register from the effect of registration or any such other evidence as the applicant relies on in proof that the estate or interest so excepted has been extinguished or has otherwise ceased to affect the property. The application shall be in LR Form 14.’

There is no statutory provision made for conversion by lapse of time in the case of qualified title. Generally, it would always be necessary for the applicant to produce additional evidence of title to the Authority that would remedy the reason why a qualified title was granted in the first place. However, a qualified title arising under Section 33(5)(a) or Section 40(6)(a) is date specific, which may facilitate conversion in appropriate cases, when the appropriate period of time had run to constitute a conveyance as a good root. Section 50(1) of the Registration of Title Act 1964 does provide discretion to the Authority to convert qualified titles on its own initiative.

Fergus Hayden.
Deputy Registrar
Property Registration Authority
18 April 2013