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missing Mineral/Mining lease - do I need an indemnity?

Sorry, a bit of an essay.

 I am selling a FREEHOLD house in a former mining area in Yorkshire.  House was built in 1970 (relevant).

The original plot (last sold in the 1920s I think) was subject to a clause referring to a deed of 1896 whereby the original landowners retained the mineral rights: Pretty standard for the times. 

This Mining Lease of 1896 is referred to in my my title deeds and there is a note on the Land Registry entry to say that no copy of the said lease has been lodged.

I have been asked to provide an indemnity against any future loss or expense relating to this missing lease.

My questions:

 (1)  after nationalisation of the coal industry in 1946, does this original lease have any validity at all? If the mineral reserves are now owned by the Crown, do they need a lease to reopen/exploit them?

(2)  There is zero chance of any further mining being carried out in the immediate area that would affect the property.  (Yes I can write an essay on that!  It's geology as well as politics)

(3)  All of the older properties in this area will have had similar a similar mineral rights lease at some point, and most of the solicitors in the area should be familiar with them. And more relevant, will be aware of the wording and provisions of a typical lease.

(4) As I understand it, there "could" be a claim for trespass if any excavation of the site uncovered any mineral deposits - highly unlikely given the underlying geology.

(5)  if the missing lease really is a problem, why has no other solicitor who has dealt with this property since 1970 ever raised the issue?

Is this just a box-ticking exercise by a conveyancing solicitor to justify his fee?

Am I just being a typical tight Yorkshire git who doesn't want to fork out for something I think is unnecessary?


  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 13,245
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    edited 20 January at 5:36PM
    If the (freehold) interest to the minerals was reserved, I'm not sure why it would make any difference whether the minerals are leased or not? (other than a lease might suggest the minerals have actually been exploited). You still don't own them, it doesn't really matter whether it's the landlord "occupying" the minerals underneath you or a tenant.

    But in any event, as you say there is no chance of mining ever being permitted to take place under a residential area (don't think there are any deep coal mines left anywhere in Britain?) so at worst if it actually has been a mining area then there's potential for structural concern. Which you generally cover with a Coal Authority report which tells you what's in the records about any coal (and some other minerals) mining.
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