Whether you are buying or selling a property (or maybe you’ve inherited it or have been gifted it), you likely have a host of questions running through your mind. One of these – or rather many of these! – may pertain to title deeds UK. What do you need to know?
FAQs: Title Deeds UK
A: They are legal documents that record the chain of ownership related to a property. They may include leases, mortgages, wills, contracts for sale and/or conveyances. A registered title proves that a property has been registered with the Land Registry.
Q: Why Is Land Registered?
A: As mentioned, it creates a record of a property’s ownership, and the title is guaranteed by the state. This means that if there is a mistake in the register and you suffer a loss as an owner, the Land Register can compensate you. Further, this record also makes it simpler to buy, sell or mortgage a property.
Over 20 million properties are registered in England and Wales. Not all properties are registered (e.g. a house has been in the same ownership for many years, and there has been no sale or mortgage to trigger a registration), but these owners may choose to voluntarily register their properties.
Q: Is My Property Registered?
A: Maybe! To find out, you can complete form SIM, which is an application for an official search of the Land Registry’s index map. The search will reveal whether or not your property – or one you are considering buying – is registered.
Q: Where Can I Access Information:
A: You can learn more, obtain forms and search properties at landregistry-uk.com and use the ‘Find a Property’ service there to access some records electronically.
Q: What If There’s a Mistake on My Register?
A: Contact Land Registry Customer Support. They will look into the matter; if they feel the information is correct, they will explain how they reached this conclusion. If they find there is an error, they will determine how it occurred and try to correct it within their scope of responsibilities.
Q: Where Are My Title Deeds?
A: They are stored electronically with the Land Registry. They do not keep paper records anymore – with over 20 million registered properties, it’s easy to see why! You may request a copy of your deed, however. First, find out if the property is registered. If so and if the deed is marked as ‘filed,’ you may download a copy of the title register; this costs £3. Fill out the deeds request form. If there are several documents in the deeds, each official copy costs £7. Send your form and payment to HM Land Registry.
Be aware that copies of title deeds cannot be used as evidence of ownership; for example, if you were pressed to prove ownership in court, you could not with these documents. You would need official copies of the title register.
Q: Do I Need My Title Deeds?
A: If your property is registered with the Land Registry, you do not need the documents in hand to confirm ownership. You will want to keep original deeds if you have access to them, however, as they can be quite helpful in terms of providing additional information (e.g. about legal boundaries, previous owners, etc.).
Q: What If My Property Is Not Registered?
A: You can apply for first registration. To do this, though, you will need to submit the original deeds. While possible to register without them (with varying degrees of difficulty), having them is better than not. If you do possess them, keep them in a safe location.
Q: Why Should I Register My House?
A: Besides creating a record of ownership and streamline certain processes (e.g. sales), registering your house can help you protect yourself from property fraud. You can (and should) set up a Property Alert through the Land Registry, which sends email notifications if there is any action taken in terms of your property registration (e.g. change of ownership, mortgage application, etc.). You can also put a restriction on your property; this means that any change must be certified by a solicitor as having come from you.
The Land Registry has helpful resources if you require additional information.