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What Is A Folio Search? – An Ellis & Ellis Explainer

What is a folio?

To understand what a folio search is, you first need to understand ‘what is a folio?’. In essence, a folio is a title document produced by the Land Registry as part of the ‘registration of title’ system. Supplementary maps (or title plans) are also generated by the Land Registry.

These (State guaranteed) titles to property, set out the related minutiae about a property, such as a description, details of any parts transferred, particulars of ownership, and other specifics about charges, rights of way, burdens, etc.

Note: ‘…90% of the legal titles in Ireland are now registered in the Land Registry…’ (PRAI)

Why should the purchasing solicitor/ conveyancer search the Land Registry folio registers when investigating title in a property/ right/ interest purchase?

The Property Registration Authority (PRAI) considers the Land Registry folios to be ‘…conclusive evidence of title to property and any right, privilege, appurtenance or burden appearing thereon…’

As a purchasing solicitor/ conveyancer acting on behalf of the purchasing party, such a document confers a high degree of sureness re ownership, the status re burdens on title etc., all the while offering state assured indemnity for any Land Registry errors.

To the solicitor/ conveyancer with an undertaking to protect the interest of a lending institute providing a mortgage, a folio can offer definite clarity around title.

The added advantage of registered tiles use of folios over unregistered title (Registry of Deeds) is that the area of interest concerned is clearly located and delineated on Ordnance Survey compliant ‘file’ plans.

How to search for a folio in the Land Registry registers.

By Number: It is not untypical for the purchasing solicitor/ conveyancer to have the folio reference number to hand as part of the sellers’ book of title. Folio searches as such are conducted against the unique folio number, which will follow a county/ number/ letter (none) format, e.g., CK5678F. In this sample, this is a freehold (permanent tenure/ no term limit) title for lands in county Cork.

Mapping Search: If the folio number is not known to the purchasing solicitor/ conveyancer then a mapping search to identify same can be conducted. This involves comparing/ matching a current Ordnance Survey (OS) mapped area, against the Land Registry maps. Each mapped area in the Land Registry maps will have a corresponding folio number.

Registered Ownership Search: Should the folio number or exact location be not known to the purchasing solicitor/ conveyancer, then a search to establish the folio number can be conducted in the Land Registry Names Index against an owners first name, last name, and a specific county.

Having identified potential folio numbers associated with the names searched, it might then be possible to compare the folio file plan with the known lands for sale or other known details on title for matching purposes.

What will the Land Registry folio register search result show me?

Irrespective of whether the relevant folios were identified by searching a known folio number, by conducting a mapping search, or via a Names Index search, the resultant folio will (being generated by the Land Registry) be uniform in format.

The folios are broken into three parts, i.e., the details of the property, details of ownership (including any cautions or inhibitions), and all burdens registered against the property.

Note: As part of the Ellis & Ellis folio search result we automatically return any dealings (Applications for registration) pending. If there are no dealings pending, we will also state that in a separate clear Ellis & Ellis certificate of status.

Use a trusted Law Search provider

Given the importance of correct identification, retrieval, and certification it is imperative that purchasing solicitors/ conveyancers use a trusted law search provider such as Ellis & Ellis. With our blend of a quick and easy-to-use ordering platform at  www.ellis.ie  , over 130 years of professional know-how, and a quality after-sales experience, we provide clients with a superior searching service. 

For added peace of mind Ellis & Ellis provide substantial Professional Indemnity Cover. Why not join the 1000’s of users who trust Ellis & Ellis to deliver them a competitive edge?

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