Law of Property Act 1925
|Long title||An Act to consolidate the enactments relating to Conveyancing and the Law of Property in England and Wales.|
|Citation||15 Geo 5 c 20|
|Introduced by||Lord Birkenhead|
|Territorial extent||England and Wales|
|Royal assent||9 April 1925|
|Commencement||1 January 1926|
|Amended by||Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996;|
Law of Property (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989;
Land Registration Act 2002
|Text of statute as originally enacted|
|Revised text of statute as amended|
The Law of Property Act 1925 (c 20) is a statute of the United Kingdom Parliament. It forms part of an interrelated programme of legislation introduced by Lord Chancellor Lord Birkenhead between 1922 and 1925. The programme was intended to modernise the English law of real property. The Act deals principally with the transfer of freehold or leasehold land by deed.
The LPA 1925, as amended, provides the core of English land law, particularly as regards many aspects of freehold land which is itself an important consideration in all other types of interest in land.
The keynote policy of the act was to reduce the number of legal estates to two – freehold and leasehold – and generally to make the transfer of interests in land easier for purchasers. Other policies were to regulate mortgages and as to leases, to regulate mainly their assignment, and to tackle some of the lacunae, ambiguities and shortcomings in the law of property. Innovations included the default creation of easements under section 62 to reduce unintended denial of access, and statutory enlargement under section 153 (applications to convert very long leasehold to freeholds, where no rent has been paid or demanded for a long period of time).
That which was hidden from Maitland, Joshua Williams, and the other great ones, was revealed to a Welsh solicitor who in the budget of 1910 proposed to tax the land so as to force it on the market. The radically revolutionary character of this proposal was at once recognized in England. It was bitterly fought by all those who treasured what had remained of the old English aristocratic rule. When this budget finally passed, the basis of the old real property law and the effective power of the House of Lords was gone.[a] The legislation of 1925–26 was thus a final completion in the realm of private law of the revolution that was fought in 1910 in the forum of public law, i.e., in the field of taxation and the power of the House of Lords.
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Part I – General principles as to legal estates, equitable interests and powers
Section 1 sets out the basic structure of the newly reformed legal estates—"an estate in fee simple absolute in possession" (commonly referred to as freehold), and "a term of years absolute" (leasehold). Old estates in land—fee tail and life interests—are converted by s.1 so as to "take effect as equitable interests". Section 3 sets out how these equitable interests have effect.
Part II – Contracts, conveyances and other instruments
Section 70 of the 1925 Act should be considered in conjunction with schedules 1 and 3 when considering interests that override, most notably that to be in receipts of rents and profits is no longer an overriding interest.
Section 84 of the Act sets out the powers of an appointed authority to alter or remove restrictive covenants on property deeds. This power was later transferred to the Lands Tribunal by the Law of Property Act 1969, and subsequently to the Upper Tribunal by the Transfer of Tribunal Functions (Lands Tribunal and Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2009.
Part III – Mortgages, rentcharges, and powers of attorney
Part IV – Equitable interests and things in action
Part V – Leases and tenancies
Part VI – Powers
Part VII – Perpetuities and accumulations
Part VIII – Married women and lunatics
Part IX – Voidable dispositions
These sections govern fraud; s.172 was repealed (subject to non-application to then-pending bankruptcies) by the Insolvency Act 1985.
- s.173 Every voluntary disposition of land (the main example is a gift) made with intent to defraud a later buyer is voidable at the instance of that buyer. And no such disposition shall be deemed to have been made with intent to defraud by reason only that a subsequent conveyance for valuable consideration was made, if such subsequent conveyance was made after 28 June 1893.
- s.174 No acquisition made in good faith, without fraud or unfair dealing, of any reversionary (landlord's or future) interest in real or personal property, for money or money's worth, shall be liable to be opened or set aside merely on the ground of under value. In this subsection "reversionary interest" includes an expectancy or possibility. This expressly does not affect the jurisdiction of the court to set aside or modify unconscionable bargains.
Part X – Wills and probate
Part XI – Miscellaneous
- Section 184 states that in cases of simultaneous death (where there is no evidence as to who lived longer), the deaths will be assumed to have occurred in order of age, oldest first.
Changes have taken place since the commencement of the Land Registration Act 2002.
- English property law
- English trusts law
- Land Registration Act 1925
- Land Registration Act 2002
- Exchanging contracts
- The Parliament Act 1911 was introduced to reduce the ability of the House of Lords to block legislation, in order to allow these budget measures to pass.
- Law of Property Act 1925 s 209(3)
- Law of Property Act 1925 s 209(2)
- Morris, Raphael Cohen (1933). "Property and Sovereignty". Law and the Social Order (1982 ed.). p. 43.
- "Law of Property Act 1969, Part IV, Section 28". UK Statute Law Database. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- "Lands Tribunal guidance". Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service. November 2012. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- Pease, I., Your flexible friend, Property Law Journal, 6 November 2006, accessed 27 January 2021
- UK Legislation, Law of Property Act 1925, Part IV, accessed 27 January 2021
- WT Murphy, T Flessas and S Roberts, Understanding Property Law (4th edn Sweet and Maxwell, London 2003)
- C Harpum, S Bridge and M Dixon, Megarry & Wade: The Law of Real Property (7th edn Sweet and Maxwell 2008)