Search Of Index Map (SIM)

Also called an Index Map Search, or SIM for short, this is a search of the land registry's mapping records. It is done in order to identify whether a particular piece of land is registered.

How is a SIM Done?

The search is done by written application to the land registry, using form SIM . A plan should accompany the application outlining the area of land to be searched. If any part of the land is registered the title number (or numbers) will be revealed by the index map search, as will any cautions against first registration. A caution against first registration is used for unregistered land in the same way as a notice or restriction  is used for registered land, that is to say it will ensure that the beneficiary of the caution will be given notice by the land registry of any attempt to register the land.

It may be that a plan is not available when a search is done and if this is the case, provided you have the full address, the land registry should be able to supply an index map plan. This can be useful when dealing with unregistered property where the plan contained within the deeds is not sufficient for search or registration purposes.

When Should a Search of the Index Map be Done?

A SIM should be carried out whenever you are dealing with land that may be unregistered. When the land is being purchased it is essential to establish that there are no other registrations affecting it. A common occurrence for example is that physical boundaries tend to shift over time therefore it is entirely possible that part of the land being purchased has already been registered as part of some neighbouring land, or alternatively the physical extent of the property may be greater than what is actually owned according to the deeds.

An index map search should also be carried out on any land, such as an access road, over which rights are required but have not been granted. It is important to try to establish the owner of any such land as this may give an indication of whether it might be possible to obtain a grant of a right of way.

What will a SIM Cost?

Index map searches used to be free, however they now cost £8, though if multiple titles are covered there may be an extra charge.