Can’t Find Property Title Deeds? Here's What to Do
You’re probably stressed out if you can’t find your property deeds but don’t panic - you can sort this out. How quickly it’s resolved really depends on whether your property is registered or unregistered with the Land Registry.
Your Title Deeds are important because they prove that you are the rightful owner of your property. The UK government decided in the 80s that all property should be registered with Land Registry, but if it’s not been sold or had a mortgage on it in that time it may not be registered.
When a property is registered with Land Registry, they will have seen the original Title Deeds. They are usually sent by your Solicitor when you purchased your property. Your details, as the property owner, will have been recorded in their register and given a title number. They will take copies of some of the deeds and return them to whoever lodged them.
Where Are My Title Deeds?
You may want to check with your mortgage company to see if they are holding your original deeds or with your Solicitor. It’s common practice for Solicitors to send back the original deeds to the property owner now. But the property owner is under no obligation to pass them on when they sell the property. As a result, finding the originals may not be possible.
But you can see what information Land Registry has about your property on their system by searching their property information database here. You input your house number or name along with your postcode and it will show you what documents they hold. This will probably be items such as the Title Register, the Title Plan and the Flood Risk Indicator results. You can purchase Official Copies of these documents quite cheaply, but check with your Conveyancing Solicitor that you need to do this before spending the money.
If your property is leasehold, Land Registry should have a copy of the lease registered with them and you get an Official Copy of this by paying a small fee.
What If My Property is Not Registered?
If your property is not registered with Land Registry (around 15% of land and property in the UK is not registered) this does become a more complicated issue.
Your Title Deeds are important so you can prove that you are the rightful owner of a property. If the property you own is unregistered and you can’t find the Title Deeds it’s really difficult to prove you are the rightful owner of the property.
Your first step should be applying for First Registration along with piecing your Title Deeds back together. You’ll need some specialist help with this, so contact a Conveyancing Solicitor with experience in this area.
You’ll need to pull together some information about your property and give an account about how the deeds have been lost. This will be given to the Land Registry who will make a decision based on that information.
You’ll need to:
- Identify which property you want to register. You may want to refer to a plan
- Show who owned the property when the deeds were lost
- State where were the deeds when they were lost?
- Explain why the person who had the deeds had them. Were they held somewhere else for protection?
- Show what you’ve done to try and get the deeds. Who have you contacted to try to find them?
- Confirm if you had a mortgage on the property when the deeds were lost
- Explain what happened when they were lost. When was it, who had them and how they were lost or destroyed?
By providing as much detail as you can, you improve the chances of getting Land Registry to approve your registration. You should include any correspondence you have relating to the Title Deeds such as letters from the Conveyancing Solicitor who helped you buy the property. Even letters from the Local Authority about your council tax or utility bills addressed to you at the property from years ago can help your case.
Using our specialist Conveyancers and Conveyancing Solicitors to help you with this process will greatly increase your chances of success. They have completed this process many times and know what works and what doesn’t and can use their expertise to help you.
If you need help with lost or destroyed Title Deeds, contact our experienced Conveyancing Solicitors today.
Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.