What’s In A Name…
A name can be extremely important and very personal. When people have children, the amount of time and research spent on deciding names can vary drastically between one person and the next. Some might say they spend no time at all and simply decide on a name on first sight, others however could spend months or longer looking at all the possible meanings behind a name and consider how the name may be interpreted by people around the world.
William Shakespeare once asked, “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. Imagine a beautiful quaint home with a rose garden only to be named something like Brown Barn; this does not quite have the same positive effect compared to something like Rose Cottage. In High Wycombe, a homeowner named their home ‘Esso View’. I will give you one guess as to what was situated opposite this person’s home.
Despite the importance of a name, do not let it deter you from taking the plunge and buying a home. Adding or changing the name of a house is a relatively simple procedure.
1. Check that the name you want to use has not already been taken
Have a wander down the nearby roads and make sure there are no homes with the same name. It is important to note that although you can add or change the name of a property, you cannot change or remove the number of the property or swap a number for a name.
2. Get in touch with your local council
Each council is different and some have online forms that must be completed whereas some might ask you to send an email to a particular person or department. Most councils are likely to also charge an administration fee for dealing with this, however it is advised to again check with your specific council. On receiving your request to add or change a house name, your local council will consult with the Royal Mail and if the name is available for use then they will approve your request and ask the Royal Mail to update their records.
3. Who else do you need to inform?
Some councils may not inform all relevant parties so it is essential that you also make contact to inform them of the change. For example, the Electoral Registration, Council Tax and Planning Departments of your local council, mortgage lenders, utility providers and doctors. Some also suggest writing to the local emergency services such as ambulance and fire.
4. The Land Registry
Properties are predominantly registered with the Land Registry, depending on when they were built and if ownership has changed since registration began. Form AP1 will need to be completed and sent to HMLR in order to add to or amend the name of the property and update the Register. There is no fee payable for this. The form is available for anyone to complete but it may be worth asking your solicitor to do this so it coincides with your application following completion of your purchase. HMLR will only accept changes that have been officially recognised by the Royal Mail so you must ensure the above steps have been taken prior to sending form AP1.
Should you decide to add a name to your property, consider other people, particularly your neighbours, and do not make it offensive. Try something quirky or personal to you or the building itself. Alternatively it may be worth researching popular traditional names as it has been said that some names may even increase the re-sale value of the property.