How to Find Out Who Owns a Property

Paul Parker

Written by: Paul Parker on 16th November 2022

Couple Looking At House Features With Estate Agents

Are you considering buying a property at online auction? Researching the current owner of a property could help you make a more informed decision about purchasing before placing your bids. Finding the current owner is easier than you may think, and having access to former purchase prices might help you to decide how much you’re willing to pay for it.

In this article, we’ll share reasons why you might want to do some research before taking part in one of our online property auctions, and how to find out who owns a property by address for free.

How can I find out who owns a property?

The simplest way to find out who owns a property in England and Wales is by accessing HM Land Registry online.

It holds information on most properties or land sold in England and Wales since 1993, and offers services at varying costs, starting from a free Title Summary search to a Flood Risk Indicator search (currently £10.80 including VAT). HM Land Registry can provide detailed information on properties ahead of auction start dates, to help you decide whether to put forward a bid.

If you’re searching for properties in Scotland, you’ll need to access the Scottish Land Registry, and for properties in Northern Ireland, check the country’s Land & Property Services. Fees will differ from HM Land Registry. 

Do I need to know who owns a property before bidding? 

It’s not a requirement to know who owns a property you’re interested in bidding on before taking part in an auction. However, any information found can prove to be useful when it comes to deciding where to set your maximum bid.

What information can I find out for free?

HM Land Registry offers a free service known as a Title Summary. It will give you the property’s address, its registry description, its tenure type and its last sold price. All you’ll need to access this information is the street name or postcode of the property, which you’ll be able to find in the property adverts displayed in our online auction catalogue.

Knowing how much the property last sold for - and how long the current owner has owned it for - can give you a good indication of how much you can expect it to sell for at auction, and its condition. And if you’re an investor looking for a rental property, tenure information can be particularly useful. 

Which information will I need to pay for?

If you want to find out about the owner specifically, you can pay a fee of £3 to access a Title Register. This service allows you to see the name of the land or property owner, any easements (third party rights) affecting the property, and mortgage information. Again, you’ll only need a postcode or street name to access this information, and you’ll be able to choose the address from a list provided.

Something especially useful for land purchases, or properties with unclear boundaries at face value, is a Title Plan. Available for a £3 fee, the Title Plan will show you the property or land’s boundaries, and information about its location.

The most expensive service offered by HM Land Registry is the Flood Risk Indicator. This report is incredibly useful for discovering how likely a property is to flood, which is something house insurance providers will take into account. If a property is located in a high flood-risk area, it’s worth considering insurance premiums following a purchase.

At Pugh, we always encourage buyers to conduct thorough research on properties before placing bids, as once the virtual gavel falls, you’re legally obligated to complete the purchase.

If you’re in search of a property to buy at online auction, take a look at the lots we have coming up for sale, or call us on 0345 505 1200 for more advice.

Paul Parker Paul Parker

Associate Director

About the Author

Paul is a Chartered Surveyor with over 15 years’ experience in agency and valuation across a diverse range of property types. 

Paul joined Pugh & Co in February 2018 from Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH), where he was an Associate Director in the North West Asset & Debt Advisory team. Prior to that he was Principal Surveyor at Edward Symmons, who were subsequently acquired by LSH, and was also a Senior Surveyor with Gerald Eve in Liverpool.                                                                                   

Paul has dealt with the acquisition and disposal of a variety of properties throughout the North West from retail, offices and industrial to residential development sites and residential portfolios. He has also advised charitable clients including the United Reformed Church (Mersey Province) Trust on the disposal of redundant church premises for compliance with the Charities Act 2011. 

More recently, Paul has provided advice to financial institutions and insolvency practitioners on the management and disposal of distressed property assets. He has also acted on behalf of national PLC’s, Government Agencies and private companies and individuals.