Bona Vacantia land is land that belonged to a dissolved company that now belongs to The Crown. The government department that deals with bona vacantia land is the Bona Vacantia division (BVD) of the Government Legal department.
Take note that the BVD will usually write to the dissolved company to ask if they would like to restore the company and if they do then the land ownership will transfer back to the company after the restoration is completed.
On the same note, you can check the filing status of the company on the Companies House website to find out if the company was dissolved due to overdue confirmation statement or company accounts, or both. If this is the case, the company can easily apply to restore the company by bringing the company filings up to date.
How BVD deals with bona vacantia land
Generally, the BVD will either disclaim or sold the bona vacantia land for full market value.
If you would like to buy bona vacantia land, you must know that there is no guarantee BVD will sell to you, or at all. Usually, where possible, the land will be sold at a public auction.
Bear this in mind when you buy bona vacantia land that the BVD will NOT do the following:
- transfer land for no fee or sell land for less than £1,000 plus their costs
- undertake maintenance work on the property
- grant rights of way over bona vacantia land
- clear rubbish or deal with problems on the land
- manage or insure the property
- get involved in pre-existing disputes with neighboring land owners
Basically, BVD will do nothing to the land except try to sell land or disclaim it.
When BVD will make the disclaimer
Generally, BVD will disclaim the following type of bona vacantia lands.
- commercial leases
- land used in common such as roadways verges or amenity land
- land which is dangerous or onerous
- land subject to multiple charges or competing claims
BVD may disclaim land immediately on it being brought to their attention or at any point during a case, including without further reference to you or any other third party even if you have spent time or money on a case.
For example, when BVD disclaims freehold land, the title to the land is extinguished.
If you have any enquiries about the land, please write to the Crown Estate’s solicitor at the address stated below.
Burges Salmon LLP
One Glass Wharf
Apply to BVD to buy bona vacantia land
For land located in England and Wales, please write to:
|Bona Vacantia – Companies|
|Government Legal Department (BVD)|
PO Box 2119
|Switchboard 020 7210 4700|
You may use the email address [email@example.com] for all enquiries relating to land, shares, intellectual property, chattels, etc. Basically, all non-cash assets.
Information required by BVD
You are required to provide the following information to BVD otherwise your application will not be processed.
- The dissolved company name, company number, and last registered office that owned the land. You can get this information from Companies House.
- Official Copy Entries (OCE) and a title plan from the Land Registry for the property that you are interested in purchasing, and any adjoining land you own. You can get this information from the Land Registry. If it is unregistered land, you need to do the research.
- Details of any buildings on the land. For instance, whether the land has been incorporated into any adjoining property that you or anyone else owns. Please get an OCE and a title plan from the Land Registry for each of these adjoining properties
- Explain why you are interested in purchasing the property. For example, whether you want to use the land to gain access to any other land that you own or plan to acquire. Please get an OCE and a title plan from the Land Registry for the other land you own or plan to acquire.
- Details of any past or current disputes relating to the property or its use.
- Details of anyone in occupation of the property, or who is using or maintaining it, and when this began.
- Details of any planning consents or applications in relation to the land
- If the property is subject to a mortgage or charge, details of any enquiries you have made to the lender. Please get a copy of the mortgage or charge from the Land Registry
- Details of any solicitors who are acting for you
Last but not least, please send your application either by post/DX or email but not both. Please do not send multiple copies.