Property Ownership

Finding out who owns a property

The simplest and quickest way to find out who owns a property (short of calling to the property or asking a neighbour) is to obtain a copy of the Land Registry Title Register. Nearly all properties in England and Wales are now registered with the Land Registry and each registered property is provided with its own unique Title Register and Title Plan. Sometimes there is both a freehold ownership and a leasehold ownership of the same property, so there may be more than one title for a property. This is more often so in the case of flats.

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Finding the date a property was built

Discovering the date a property was built is not always straight forward and the ease with which it can be discovered may depend on whether or not the property is registered with the Land Registry.

Why the date of Building is often sought

For most enquiries received by us the reason for the request is almost always because of a requirement from an insurance company. Other reasons may relate to NHBC certificates, and as to whether they still apply for a particular property.

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Adding a name to the Deeds

Most people, when asking this question, are actually referring to the ownership documents, which technically are not Deeds, but the Title Register and Title Plan. Adding a name to the ownership documents is normally something carried out within a family and can be done using a Transfer of Equity Deed rather than following the usual conveyancing procedures.

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How to remove a name from a Title Deed

Removing a Joint Owner's Name from the Property Deeds when they have Died is perhaps one of the most common reasons why a name would need to be removed from a Title Deed. We've broken down the process into easy to follow steps below:

  1. Have your Title Register to hand.
  2. Obtain the Title Number from the top of the Register.
  3. Check whether the property is held as a joint tenancy.
  4. Obtain Form DJP from the Government website and complete it.
  5. Ensure the name to be removed is spelt exactly as it is in the Register.
  6. Send the completed Form DJP and an official copy of the Death Certificate to the Land Registry Citizen Centre.

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How to change your address on the Land Registry Title Register

There are 2 matters discussed in this article:

  1. Notifying the Land Registry of Your Change of Address
  2. Changing the Name of Your House

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Checking and Correcting Your Name at the Land Registry

Many people change their names, and if they own a property, it is important that they inform the Land Registry of their name change. This is important, not just to keep the Land Registry records up to date, but because many institutions and professionals regularly check entries in the Land Registry to compare them with requests for finance and other such matters.

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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.


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Is My Property Freehold or Leasehold?

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. tenures are:

  • Freehold
  • Leasehold
  • Copyhold

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Ground Rents and Rent Charges

Rent Charges and Chief Rents are both the same creature, different names to describe the same thing. Custom and usage have resulted in the different names being used as terms to describe annual payments of rent in respect of a freehold property. These charges are generally made annually and can differ widely in amount. Since the Rentcharges Act 1977 new rent charges can no longer be made.

Ground Rents are similar to Rent Charges but they only apply to Leasehold properties. Again, the amounts charged differ widely and can be as low as the payment of one peppercorn. Unlike Rent Charges, Ground Rents cannot be bought out.

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Restrictive Covenants and Personal Covenants

Both restrictive and personal covenants, where they exist, will affect the property they burden in some way or other, and accordingly the Land Registry will copy the salient details of important covenants into the Title Register. Where the detail is lengthy only the important parts of it may appear in the Title Register, but the Land Registry will also copy the Deed containing the covenants, and make a note on the Register that it has done so. Any Deeds noted on the register as having been copied are available to purchase for a modest fee.

To obtain copies of these covenants, therefore, you should obtain a copy of the Title Register and Conveyancing Deeds.

Restrictive Covenants and Personal Covenants are different creatures, and their distinction should be known.

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Differences between a Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common

The law provides that ownership of a house by two or more persons is a joint tenancy. By default, the land Registry effect registration as a beneficial joint tenancy because most of the time this is what house owners want. There are, however, legitimate reasons for sometimes wanting the property to be registered as a tenancy in common.

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How do I find the Deeds to my house?

Ownership Documents or Conveyancing Deeds?

"How to find the Deeds to your house" might refer to one of two questions, i.e.

  • Are you trying to find your ownership documents? or
  • Are you trying to find the actual conveyancing deeds, created prior to your property being registered at the Land Registry?

To answer the first question, another question needs to be asked. Is your property registered at the Land Registry? This will depend on when the property was last sold or mortgaged. If it was before 1990 it will depend on which part of the country you live in.

Land Registry became compulsory for all properties throughout England and Wales in 1990 following a sale or mortgage. Before that date Land Registration was phased in gradually for different areas.

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Updating your property Deeds after the death of a spouse

A common query a surviving spouse has, following the death of his or her spouse, is how to change the Land Registry Title Register to show the change in ownership. This, of course, means to remove the name of the deceased spouse, leaving the surviving spouse shown as the sole owner. What people commonly think of as their Deeds is actually referred to as the Title Register.

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How to Remove a Mortgage Entry

Redemption of Mortgage

A mortgage is redeemed when you have finished paying for it. It is a charge on the property, i.e. it burdens the property with the amount outstanding. Normally it has to be paid off when you sell your house. If the mortgage payments you are making naturally come to an end during your ownership of the house you will need to:

  • Ensure that the mortgagee has removed the mortgage entry from the Title Register at the Land Registry
  • Obtain an up to date copy of the Title Register and Title Plan so that you can check the mortgage has been removed, and so that you have a copy of your ownership documents.

You should not assume the Land Registry know that the mortgage has been redeemed because your mortgagee usually removes the mortgage entry itself. As the Land Registry do not know what payments you make they have no way of knowing when the mortgage is redeemed unless someone tells them.

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Who has My Deeds?

The question "Who has my Deeds?" is one that we are asked many times, and there are many possible answers. The correct answer will depend upon whether the property is registered with the Land Registry or whether it is unregistered.

A Lost Deeds Search is usually made when a customer does not know whether his property is registered or unregistered. We will discover this and obtain copies of any registered documents that exist, evidence of applications pending to register ownership, evidence of other interests in the property that are pending First Registration, or evidence of the property's non-registration.

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I have paid my Mortgage and require the Deeds

When the final payment on a mortgage is made (known as mortgage redemption) the mortgagee is no longer entitled to a registered charge on your property, as he no longer requires security for payment of the debt.

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What is a Conveyancing Deed

A distinction between a Title Register and a Conveyancing Deed should be understood, as many people believe the two terms relate to the same document.

Conveyancing Deeds are created during a conveyancing transaction for many different purposes, some examples of which follow. Save for the Transfer Deed, most of the other conveyancing deeds were created during the property's pre-registration status and their content is no longer legally required, although usually desired for their more detailed content.

Many of a property's Conveyancing Deeds have been copied by the Land Registry and can be obtained using our Conveyancing Deeds Search.

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How to Remove a Restrictive Covenant

Before explaining how to remove a restrictive covenant it helps to understand what a restrictive covenant is, and why is was created.

Restrictive covenants are legally binding promises made by the owner of a property, which also bind subsequent owners of that property, not to do certain things. Examples include such things as: not to use the property for certain purposes, not to store certain items in the property, not to remove a fence, not to install satellite aerials, not to park a caravan, not to erect other buildings on the property, etc.

A common mis-understanding is that where planning consent is given or not needed, that regard need not be had to a restrictive covenant that would bar the planned development. Planning law is entirely separate from land law, and it is not likely that planners would know about or have regard to the existence of restrictive covenants, when making planning decisions.

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Caution Title Register

A Caution Title contains two registers, i.e. one Register with two sections (which are themselves referred to as registers). The first Register is a Caution Property Register providing details of the Unregistered Property subject to the Caution. The Cautioner's Register provides details of the Cautioner's Interest.

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Find the Purchase Price of a House

You can find the purchase price of a property by looking at the Title Register. So long as the property was purchased after 2000 the Land Registry will insert the purchase price in the B section of the Register, together with the date of purchase and the purchaser's name and address. An example of the B section of a Title Register is shown in this article, and details of how to obtain a copy of the Title Register. Exceptions as to when the purchase price is not shown are also explained.

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Adverse Possession UK

Adverse possession is the claim by a person (squatter) that he is the lawful owner of a parcel of land that he has no Deeds to, nor any registered documents, i.e. a claim that he should be entitled to be the owner notwithstanding it is owned by someone else (whether or not that person can be identified). The law so far as registered land is concerned has changed substantially following the Land Registration Act 2002, Schedule 6. This change makes it difficult for a person to claim ownership where the property is registered. Accordingly, the first action to take is to check whether or not the land is registered.

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