The Property Registration Authority
The Property Registration Authority (PRA) is the State organisation responsible for the registration of property transactions in Ireland. Our role is to provide a system of registration of title (ownership) to land, which is comprehensive and readily accessible.
The Property Registration Authority (PRA) was established on 4 November 2006 under the provisions of the Registration of Deeds and Title Act 2006.
The Authority is a statutory body whose members are representative of the main users and consumers of property registration services. The PRA replaced the Registrar of Deeds and Titles as the “registering authority” in relation to property registration in Ireland. Liz Pope is the Chief Executive of the Authority.
The main functions of the PRA are to manage and control the Land Registry and the Registry of Deeds and to promote and extend the registration of ownership of land. The PRA also operates the Ground Rents Purchase Scheme under the Landlord and Tenant Acts.
The Land Registry was established in 1892 to provide a comprehensive and secure system of land registration. When title or ownership is registered in the Land Registry the deeds are filed in the Registry and all relevant particulars concerning the property and its ownership are entered on folios which form the registers maintained in the Land Registry. In conjunction with folios the Land Registry also maintains Land Registry maps. Both folios and maps are maintained in electronic form.
The core business of the Land Registry involves examining legal documents and related maps submitted as applications for registration, interpreting the legal effect of such documents and recording their legal impact on the registers and maps. Since the Irish land register is a public record, any person may inspect the folios and maps, on payment of the prescribed fees.
The title shown on the folio is guaranteed by the State which is bound to indemnify any person who suffers loss through a mistake made by the Land Registry. A purchaser therefore can accept the folio as evidence of title without having to read the relevant deeds.
The Property Registration Authority administers a scheme under which owners of leasehold property can purchase their Ground Rent and enlarge their interest into a freehold. (A leasehold interest is for a fixed term of years and subject to a rent whereas freehold has the capacity to last forever.)
The Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents)(No 2) Act 1978 which came into operation on 1st July 1978 provided a new method for the purchase of ground rents on dwellinghouses. Under the 1967 Act the purchase was a matter for the parties themselves to arrange and any difficulty or dispute arising was referable to the County Registrar, whose award was appealable to the Circuit Court. The purchaser was liable for the landlord’s costs of the transaction. The approach adopted by the 1978 (No 2) Act is, that for a prescribed fee, the Property Registration Authority undertake to do the legal work of completion of the purchase of the fee simple and the Property Registration Authority was entrusted with the administration of the new scheme instead of the County Registrar.
The Property Registration Authority (PRA) is empowered to vest the fee simple in tenants of dwellinghouses, provided an application is duly made in accordance with Part III of the Act. The fee simple is vested by way of a vesting certificate which operates as a conveyance of the fee simple and of any intermediate interests, free from encumbrances. Since the scheme was introduced in 1978, over 80,000 applicants have availed of the service and have acquired a freehold title to their property.
Registry of Deeds
The Registry of Deeds was established in 1707 to provide a system of voluntary registration for deeds and conveyances affecting land and to give priority to registered deeds over unregistered registerable deeds. There is no statutory requirement to register a document but failure to do so may result in a loss of priority. The effect of registration is generally to govern priorities between documents dealing with the same piece of land. The Registry of Deeds currently operates under the provisions of part 3 of the Registration of Deeds and Title Act 2006 and the Registration of Deeds Rules 2008 which came into effect on 1 May 2008.
The primary function of the Registry of Deeds is to provide a system of recording the existence of deeds and conveyances affecting unregistered property. When a Deed is lodged in the Registry of Deeds it must be accompanied by the relevant ROD Application Form (as prescribed by the Registration of Deeds Rules 2008). This ROD Application Form replaced the Memorial which is a summary of the relevant details of the original Deed. It should be noted that the Registry of Deeds does not guarantee the effectiveness of a Deed nor does it interpret a Deed, but only records the existence of the Deed.
The ROD Application Form contains the date of the deed, details of the parties to the deed and a description of the property affected by the deed. Each application is given a serial number in order of the date and time of lodgement and the priority given to registered documents is based on the serial number allocated. When the application is completed, the original Deed is not filed in the Registry but is returned to the lodging party. Maps are not held as part of the registration record. The ROD Application Form (formerly the Memorial) is filed as a record in the Registry of Deeds.
As the Register of Deeds is a public Register any person may, on payment of the prescribed fee, carry out a Search to discover the existence of deeds affecting a piece of property filed there. However, a search in the Registry of Deeds will disclose only whether documents have been executed dealing with the land in question – to discover the effect of these documents, the documents themselves (which are not retained by the Registry of Deeds) will have to be examined. The Registry of Deeds cannot carry out Genealogical research but customers can consult our records which date from 1708.
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