This blog covers what title deeds are, how you can find yours, what property burdens are, how you can change your title deeds, and more.
What is a title deed?
Title deeds sound important, but what actually are they? Title deeds may include leases, mortgages, conveyances, wills and contracts for sale. Their main purpose is to show the chain of ownership for both land and property.
How can I get hold of my title deeds?
When you sell a house, there's no law saying you have to pass on the original title deeds. So, if you've bought a house which has seen a few owners, anyone could have the original papers. Unfortunately, this could make it nearly impossible to find them.
If you get the property registered, there's a chance your solicitor or mortgage company holds the title deeds. This is because HM Land Registry scans copies and sends the original to whoever lodged them.
However, if you still can't find your title deeds, don't despair. HM Land Registry have many scanned copies of the documents, find out if they have yours here. There is a cost to searching for your scanned copies.
Does it matter if I don't have my documents?
It's a good idea to have your title deeds, especially the originals, as they can contain information that may not be available elsewhere such as legal boundaries or previous owners. However, the Land Register has a record of land and property in England and Wales, so if your house is registered with them you don't need the deeds to confirm that you own the home.
Can I do the land registry search myself when buying a house?
The land registry search is just one aspect of a list of tasks conveyancers carry out when helping you buy your home. If these aren't carried out correctly, or aren't carried out at all, big issues can occur after the sale has completed. An example of an issue which could occur without a valid search is that the current owner could have an existing interest in the property.
If you're purchasing the house with cash, you may be able to get by without a conveyancer. However, if you're purchasing with a mortgage, it's extremely unlikely that the lender will allow the sale to go ahead without a solicitor.
Property burdens - what are they?
There are a list of obligations included in title deeds. These burdens usually include, amongst other items:
- Restrictions on altering the property
- Rights of way/access for the property
- Maintenance and repairs to the property
- Restrictions on using the property to run a business
- If the owner holds right to roads crossing the property
How do I change my title deeds?
If you wish to sell your rights to the property, or you have a co-owner who wants to sell or transfer theirs, the title deeds will need to be updated. This involves a fee and a solicitor to update the documents. Furthermore, if there's a mortage on the property or co-owners, they would have to agree to the changes.