Understanding Land Registry in Real Estate Transactions
The land registry is a public record of real and other types of rights relating to real estate. The existence and proper management of the land registry is extremely important in real estate transactions, as it allows anyone to easily check the ownership of a particular property. Registration of ownership in the land registry, however, does not mean that the registered person is actually the owner of a real estate. Likewise, in order to acquire the ownership of a property it is not sufficient to merely register as the owner in the land register.
Therefore, the "actual" legal status of the real estate is ultimately relevant for the real estate ownership, and that status may differ from the one recorded in the land registry.
However, ignoring the status of entries in the land registry can have serious consequences for the unregistered owner. This is because the Land Registries Act stipulates that when a person acting in good faith registers himself as the owner of the real estate, that person acquires ownership of the real estate even though the actual, unregistered owner has not disposed of his property.
What the term "acting in good faith" means is assessed by the court on a case-by-case basis. It has been observed that courts tend to favour the actual, unregistered owner, and demand that buyers of real estate carefully study all entries in the land registry regarding a real estate (and even inspect the contents of the documents that were the basis for the entries) as well as physically inspect the property in order to be considered as “acting in good faith”.
Although at first glance such requirements may be considered excessive, it should be noted that entries in the land registry are often false and that the strict application of the principle of trust in the land registry entries would have unfair consequences unregistered owners.
For this reason, potential buyers should exercise due diligence when purchasing real estate and consult a legal professional to review the contents of the land registry.

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