Replacing lost house deeds
Many of our customers are unaware that the deeds to their house have been lost or mislaid, until they need them, either for a sale, a mortgage application or some other similar event. And then they need them quickly. The procedure to replace lost deeds will differ depending on whether or not the property is registered at the Land Registry.
When the property is Registered
Replacing the Deeds, or rather, the ownership documents, is straight-forward and very quick. The ownership documents may be referred to in different ways, e.g.
- Title Register and Title Plan (the correct name)
- Office Copy Entries (an old name)
- Land Certificate or Charge Certificate (an old name)
- House Deeds (only applies to Deeds that have not been registered)
- Conveyancing Deeds (these are the same as the House Deeds)
An application to us for a Lost Deeds Search will usually result in them being sent to you by email within 1 hour of making the request, on paying our fee of £34.90, which includes an additional search (a SIMR), in the event that the property is found to be not registered, to check if there will be any hidden surprises when applying for registration (e.g. someone has claimed an interest in the property that will be registered as soon as the property is registered).
When a property is first registered the Deeds (i.e. the Conveyancing Deeds) are sent to the Land Registry, who then create a Title Register and Title Plan. These two documents effectively replace the Deeds. However, the Land Registry often take copies of the most important of the Conveyancing Deeds and make them available for purchase, and so these can also be obtained if you require them, by selecting an option to include them when buying the Lost Deeds Search.
A Lost Deeds Search, will result in a check at the Land Registry to see if the property is registered, and if it is, to obtain an official copy of the Title Register and Title Plan. If a check does not reveal a registration for the property a check is then made on the Land Registry Index Map to confirm non-registration and to see if there are any Cautions Against First Registration. This search would confirm if someone has claimed an interest in the property that would become registered once the property becomes registered.
Obtain Lost Deeds Search
When the Property is Not Registered
Where the lost deeds are found not to be registered then you should:
- Check with your mortgagee, if you have a mortgagee, as they will almost certainly have them.
- If there is no mortgagee you should check with your bank and your solicitors.
- Have a look around your house to see if you can find them, and if not, any photocopies or drafts of parts of them that there may be
- Find whatever documents you can to prove ownership, e.g. council tax receipts, utility bills, mortgage and bank statements, ground rent receipts and service charge bills.
You should then instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to reconstitute the Deeds and apply to the Land Registry for registration. Your solicitor will attempt to show a good root of title for your ownership, i.e. to show an unbroken and unfettered chain of ownerships stretching forward from at least 15 years ago to you, today. This is straight forward if you have the Deeds but where you do not he will have to rely on such copies as you may have, and will have to prepare one or more statutory declarations or statements of truth (legal documents equivalent to affidavits) which will be signed by yourself and any other witnesses, and which will exhibit one or more of the documents you have provided to your solicitor.
Your solicitor's application to the Land Registry may not result in an Absolute classification of Title but may result in a Possessory Title only. This can be upgraded to an Absolute Title after 10 years if your ownership is not challenged. If you are wanting to sell now your solicitor will probably be able to obtain Title Insurance which will normally satisfy a purchaser.
Obtain Lost Deeds Search