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What Are Title Deeds?

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What are title deeds of a property?

Title deeds are essential whenever a property is sold or bought. Without them, it’s impossible to demonstrate a change of possession. This guide will explain what title deeds are and the role they play in a property sale.

The term ‘title deeds’ is a common one when it comes to properties, and you’ll see it cropping up a lot in blogs and news articles. But do you know what it means? If you’re scratching your head and asking, “What are title deeds?”, then this blog is for you.

If you’re selling your house quickly, you’ll need to provide your property title deeds. Here, we’ll explain what they are, why they’re important, what they look like and where they’re kept. We’ll also discuss some common issues with title deeds.

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What do property deeds look like?

If you bought your property after 2013, it’s unlikely that you have seen any of the physical title deeds. All property deeds are now stored digitally as scanned documents.

Title deeds keep track of the ownership of a property and can also include other legal documents such as sales contracts, wills, mortgages, and leases.

what are title deeds
Title deeds keep track of the ownership of a property and can also include other legal documents such as sales contracts, wills, mortgages, and leases.

Where are title deeds kept?

Electronic copies of property deeds are kept by the Land Registry, but paper copies are no longer held. The original deeds are usually stored by the solicitor or conveyancer who acted on the last sale of the property. Or, if you have a mortgage, your mortgage provider may have them.

If you would like to get a digital copy of the title deeds, you can request one on the Land Registry website. The fee for this depends on whether you need a basic or comprehensive copy – it will cost you between £30 and £50.

Can I remove a name from the property deeds?

There are several reasons why you may need to alter or remove a name from the title deeds, such as death or divorce. To make the required changes, follow these simple steps:

  • Fill out an AP1 application form to modify the register.
  • Sign the transfer deed.
  • Take an ID1 form, plus two forms of identification, to your solicitor.
  • Send the filled-out forms to the Land Registry.
  • If you have a mortgage secured against the property, you must get consent from your mortgage lender before removing a name from the title deeds. Your solicitor can provide advice in this regard.
what happens if i cant find property title deeds
If the possessory title has been in place for 12 years without a claim of ownership, it will be upgraded to title absolute.

What happens if I can’t find my title deeds?

If you can’t find your property deeds when searching the Land Registry, it is best to start by contacting the solicitor who helped you buy the property.

They may have the original title deed documents, which you can use to apply for registration with the Land Registry. If your solicitor doesn’t have the original deeds, you must inform the Land Registry that they have been lost.

  1. You’ll then need to provide any evidence you have of how they were lost, and try to reconstruct them from paperwork with conveyancers and solicitors.
  2. Additionally, you must prove your identity and your association with the property.

Typically, homeowners have a ‘title absolute’, which means the title was checked and can be guaranteed when it was first registered with the Land Registry. If you can’t offer title absolute because the deeds are missing, the property can be registered with a possessory title.

This means the listed person is currently occupying the land, but there is no documented evidence of ownership. A possessory title can be overridden if someone else can produce deeds proving ownership.

If the possessory title has been in place for 12 years without a claim of ownership, it will be upgraded to title absolute.

Having a possessory title, rather than a title absolute, could lower the value of your property and make it difficult to sell.

You may be able to purchase an indemnity insurance policy to cover any risk associated with the possessory title, which may reassure potential buyers and lenders to allow the sale to proceed.

How do I transfer title deeds?

Transferring deeds can be complex, but it is possible to change the ownership of a house without professional legal help. It is always advisable, however, to seek advice from a solicitor or conveyancer when dealing with property. There are a few reasons why a homeowner might want to transfer their property deeds, such as:

  • Marriage,
  • Death or divorce
  • Probate

To transfer deeds, there are a few steps to follow. Guidance can be found on the government website. In summary:

  • You should download and fill out an AP1 form;
  • Fill in a transfer of registered title form;
  • Fill in a certificate of identity for a private individual;
  • Find out the correct fee, which can be calculated using the Land Registry Fee Calculator.
  • Once you have all the necessary forms and fees, send them to HM Land Registry.

Do all houses have deeds?

Yes, all properties and lands must have deeds that are registered with the Land Registry. This is a legal necessity as these documents serve to show official ownership of the land. It is an essential part of the conveyancing process if you wish to sell a house in the UK.

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