Frequently Asked Questions
Do you know who owns a particular house?
No, unfortunately the information that we receive from the Land Registry relating to house sales gives us only the price paid, not who paid it, or who it was paid to.
If you are looking to find out who currently owns a house, you may be able to request the information from the Land Registry here: https://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry
Please note that the Land Registry levy a small charge for this service.
Do you know who owns a particular road/street/path/piece of land?
If your query is related to parking rights, street lighting, access, drainage/utilities/cabling, potholes, grass cutting or similar, you should first try and contact your local council to check if they have "adopted" the street. If so, they will be able to advise on what your rights are in relation to the street, and also they will be responsible for upkeep.
If the local council confirm that the street is not adopted, or if it is a piece of land with no public access, you will need to contact the Land Registry to try and establish ownership. Bear in mind that ownership of private roads is sometimes shared between properties adjoining the street, or sometimes held by the original site developers. Also, the Land Registries are not complete records of ownership - there are many parcels of land that have never been registered by their owners.
The England/Wales Land Registry have an online map-based property identifier here which can be used to pinpoint the land. They charge a small fee (£3 at the time of writing) for a copy of the title deed. They have also produced a useful guide for finding land ownership here.
If you are still unable to find details of the owner, you may need to resort to contacting neighbours of the land to see if they know who owns it, or checking the electoral role for residents who may have ownership.
If your query relates to a motorway or other major trunk road, you should contact the associated Trunk Road Agent - for example, in England this is Highways England.
How old are the houses in my street?
This can sometimes be tricky to ascertain for very old properties, but for ones less than 100 years old can usually be found out to within 5-10 years. The Land Registry have a great guide on how to find this information on their website: https://hmlandregistry.blog.gov.uk/2018/01/26/how-old-is-my-house/.
The website HowOldIsMyHouse.co.uk also has a wealth of information, and links to old maps to help with your search.
Can you help me trace a person?
All our information is anonymous, so we do not store house owners, renters, resident's telephone numbers or forwarding addresses. If the resident of a property is on the electoral roll or their telephone number is available to Directory Enquiries, you may be able to find their information on 192.com.
Can you tell me how a particular person responded to the census?
All our information is anonymous, and is aggregated into groups called Output Areas before we receive it, so we have no access to individual census responses.
In England and Wales individual census responses are not made available publicly until 100 years have passed. This was originally enforced through the Lord Chancellor's Instrument no.12, issued in 1966 under S.5 (1) of the Public Records Act 1958. That has been effectively nullified by the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act). Despite this, Freedom of Information requests may be (and have been) denied under S41 of the FOI Act, which allows for the information to remain private where the information was provided to the public authority in confidence.
In Scotland also, individual census responses are not made available publicly until 100 years have passed. We do not have definitive information at this time as to what specific legal protections exist in Scotland, although it is likely that the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (e.g. Part 2 Section 38) and/or the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (see above) will apply.
In Northern Ireland, the Census (Northern Ireland) Act 1969 provides for the protection of the privacy of individual responses. The act does not specify a period of time after which responses are published, so records remain confidential. It should be noted that prior to 1926, the Irish census was taken for the whole of the island, and those records are now maintained by the National Archives Office in Dublin, so the above mentioned legislation would not apply. Records for 1901 and 1911 are publicly available from The National Archives of Ireland, as well as fragments of 1821-51 records.
In Scotland, individual census responses are not made available publicly until 100 years have passed. We do not have information at this time as to what legal protections exist in Scotland.
Is there a risk of flooding in a particular area?
We are working to bring this information to StreetCheck, but in the meantime you can request a flood risk indicator from the Land Registry here (a small charge applies): https://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry
The Environment Agency also maintain a free interactive map of flooding risks here: https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/long-term-flood-risk/
Scottish users should check the SEPA flood maps here
Bear in mind that all of these resources assess the potential risk, not whether the house has actually ever flooded.
If you have reason to suspect that a house may have previously flooded, a search of the street name on the local paper's website may sometimes yield results. If you are considering buying a property, ask the seller or agent directly if the house has ever flooded. Agents that are part of a professional group such as the NAEA have codes of conduct to ensure transparency in these matters, but the onus is often on you as a buyer to ask.
Do you know why a particular street is so named?
We receive this request frequently. Unfortunately, we simply do not have enough staff to investigate this, but a good place to start your own investigations is the website of your local paper. Particularly for new build properties they often publish anecdotes and planning applications. For older streets, using a search engine sometimes yields results by local historians.
Where does your data come from?
We receive data from a number of sources, including open government datasets, NHS Choices, the Land Registry, the Home Office and more. You can find more information on our Data Sources page.
How accurate are the locations of crime data?
The data we receive from police forces via the police.uk website is anonymised so that the exact victim of a crime cannot be inferred (for instance by pinpointing a particular house). This is done by assigning it a point close to the location that is one of 750,000 specially selected anonymised locations, or a public place or commercial premises such as an airport or shopping centre. The exact methods used are discussed in more detail on the police.uk website.