Monograph : Interpretation of a Land Search  
(3) Illustrations of issues found in land search records for different properties
· In every land transaction, it is important to ascertain who the current registered owner of the property concerned is and what encumbrances the property is subject to. A search of the property land register will show the required information.
· As mentioned above, a land register is divided into four parts, namely, property particulars, owner particulars, incumbrances and deeds pending registration as shown in the sample land search records provided below. Note that the contents of the samples, including names, addresses, dates and memorial numbers, are fictitious.
· To enhance understanding, we have highlighted significant issues from various sample searches for readers' special attention. Each issue will be discussed in detail in one sample and the discussion will not be repeated when it appears again in other samples. The illustrations provided are not an exhaustive list of all possible scenarios. If a client is unable to fully comprehend the implications and effects of information in the land register, an estate agent should advise him to seek legal advice before making a decision.

The following 12 sample land searches serve to illustrate the following points:

Land Search Sample 1 – residential property with no subsisting encumbrance

- Land register
- Government lease
- Government rent
- Joint tenancy
- Building mortgage and receipt on discharge
- Occupation permit
- Deed of mutual covenant
- Agreement for sale and purchase
- Legal charge and release

Land Search Sample 2 – residential property with one tenant-in-common deceased

- Government lease
- Assignment
- Letters of administration
- Sealed copy charging order: notice to show cause and sealed copy charging order absolute

Land Search Sample 3 – residential property under government housing scheme

- Hong Kong Housing Authority as assignee of the land
- Management undertaking by the Hong Kong Housing Authority
- Completion certificate
- Legal charge and release
- Death certificate
- Certificate of exemption from estate duty
- Letter for the removal of the alienation restrictions

Land Search Sample 4 – residential property subject to building order

- Building order and letter of compliance
- Certificate under the Buildings Ordinance and memorial of satisfaction
- Notice of intention to proceed (matrimonial proceedings) and memorandum of discharge
- Plans annexed to agreement for sale and purchase and assignment

Land Search Sample 5 – residential property subject to tenancy

- Government notice
- Declaration as to loss of title deeds
- Mortgage and further charge
- Tenancy agreement

Land Search Sample 6 – residential property sold under the Consent Scheme

- Consent
- Modification letter
- Statutory declaration and supplemental statutory declaration
- Deed poll
- Agreement for sale and purchase and nomination

Land Search Sample 7 – residential property subject to closure order under the Crimes Ordinance (Cap.200)

- Deed of gift
- Execution of agreements by limited company
- Deed of mutual grant of rights and rights of way
- Agreement for sale and purchase and cancellation of agreement
- Notice and closure order made under the Crimes Ordinance

Land Search Sample 8 – New Territories village house

- Confirmatory assignment
- Letter and survey plan
- No objection letter

Land Search Sample 9 – shop unit subject to memorandum of charge

- Agreement for sale and purchase and agreement for sub-sale
- Mortgage and transfer of mortgage
- Memorandum of charge
- Deeds pending registration

Land Search Sample 10 – shop space subject to sub-deed of mutual covenant

- Two land lots
- Meaning of "PT" in "Consideration" column
- Occupation permit for commercial properties
- Sub-deed of mutual covenant
- Plans of commercial properties

Land Search Sample 11 – entire floor of office premises with leased units

- Share in the lot of the property not specified
- Agreement relating to naming rights of building
- Lease
- Surrender agreement
- Sub-lease/assignment of lease

Land Search Sample 12 – industrial premises subject to restraint order under the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance (Cap.455)

- Change of company and building names
- Letter of compliance
- Car park layout plan and instrument with layout plan for relocation of parking spaces
- Restraint order and order for appointment of receivers under the Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance
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